The World Health Organization is changing its tune on lockdowns as the primary method for attempting to control the spread of the coronavirus.

According to a Reuters report, governments should do whatever they can to avoid so-called ‘punishing lockdowns’. The WHO’s Mike Ryan said:

“What we want to try to avoid – and sometimes it’s unavoidable and we accept that – but what we want to try and avoid is these massive lockdowns that are so punishing to communities, to society and to everything else…”

Part of the reason for the change of heart: society-wide lockdowns are especially damaging to the poor. The WHO’s Dr. David Nabarro said:

“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer…”

The WHO still needs to be reformed top to bottom. But at least it’s beginning to voice concerns about the effects of shutting down most economic activity on those already struggling to get by.