Effect of COVID-19 Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions and Threats to Human Rights
15 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2020
Date Written: August 19, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments have implemented non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to curb rapid virus transmission. A growing concern is that such interventions, aimed at ensuring public safety, may severely restrain fundamental human rights. This paper examines which NPIs are more effective than others in containing COVID-19 with the consideration of their threat to human rights. After classifying NPIs into three categories according to their threat to human rights: the right to freedom of movement, the right to freedom of assembly, and the right to privacy, this paper conducts linear regression analyses on the effectiveness of NPIs in containing COVID-19 over 108 countries. This paper finds that school closure is effective in containing COVID-19 only when it is implemented along with complete contact tracing. We confirm the results of the regression analysis by examining the changes in the cumulated number of confirmed cases and the changes of NPIs in ten selected countries. Our findings imply that to contain COVID-19 effectively and minimize the risk of human rights abuse, governments should consider implementing prudently designed full contact tracing and school closure policies, among others. Other interventions limiting freedom of movement and assembly should be carefully adopted with minimal infringement of human rights.
Keywords: COVID-19, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), human rights, right to privacy, right to freedom of movement, right to freedom of assembly
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