Protocol for Reopening Society

by Abir Ballan, MPH

For decades, it has been acknowledged by the world’s premier health authorities that amid a pandemic, the functioning of society should be maintained, and human rights upheld.

Governments and health organisations have at their disposal country-specific pandemic preparedness plans, as well as the World Health Organisation pandemic guidelines, which provide a road-map outlining how to keep society functioning, while also mitigating the impact of a disease or virus.

The Protocol at a Glance

  • Lift all Covid-19 specific restrictions and mandates;
  • Offer protection to vulnerable individuals;
  • End mass testing, contact tracing, quarantining and lockdowns;
  • Ensure public transparency of all efficacy and safety data of vaccines;
  • Reassert open scientific debate and freedom of speech, opinion and choice.

In 2020, SARS-CoV-2 brought an almost–instantaneous rewriting of disease management principles as countries, with few exceptions, disregarded existing pandemic plans and replaced them with policies of ‘lockdown’.

There is no evidence that lockdowns have reduced mortality from Covid-19 and research is now revealing the devastation that lockdowns are causing, particularly in the developing world. In these draconian lockdown policies, we have also seen the biggest infringement on civil liberties in democratic countries during peacetime.

PANDA believes that, at this juncture, the science is quite clear on what key policy responses should be—or should have been. The cure should not be worse than the disease. It is critically important that societies are reopened, whilst protecting those who may be vulnerable to serious illness from SARS-CoV-2. Human agency must be upheld, and individuals should be empowered to make their own choices.

PANDA’s Protocol for Reopening Society builds upon existing pandemic frameworks and incorporates current scientific understanding of Covid-19, to provide a road-map out of the damaging cycle of lockdowns.

Responding to COVID-19: Public Health or Public Harm?

PANDA’s Protocol for Reopening Society is a ‘blueprint’ for governments to move forward from the paralysing cycle of lockdowns. Concerned with the ongoing damage of the response to COVID-19, PANDA applies the principles of ‘focused protection’ to safeguard the most vulnerable, as articulated by the Great Barrington Declaration. PANDA’s aim is to offer an evidence-based pathway for policy makers and citizens by returning to long-established public health principles that uphold fundamental human rights.