Fact Check: Four-step lockdown model by two Cambridge scholars is being falsely shared in the name of WHO

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A post attributed to the WHO (World Health Organisation) is being circulated on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
The message lists out a 4-step lockdown procedure that countries need to follow while dealing with a deadly virus. The message also predicts India’s future course based on the same model.


We fact-checked the above message and found it to be misleading.
On running a search with relevant keywords, we found a news report by Business Today, titled, “Coronavirus: India needs 49-day lockdown, not 21, say Cambridge researchers.”
According to the article, two Indian-origin University of Cambridge scholars, Rajesh Singh and R Adhikari presented a paper based on their mathematical calculation. The paper states that to effectively deal with COVID-19, the Indian government must extend the lockdown to 49 days.
Their paper, Age-structured impact of social distancing on the COVID-19 epidemic in India, predicts a single 49-day lockdown, or a series of shorter lockdowns, extending over two months may be necessary.

The model compares case data, age distribution and social structures of India, China and Italy. Calculating the various control measures at home, office and elsewhere in the society, the paper concluded that the 21-day lockdown would not be enough and the cases will resurge as soon as the lockdown is lifted.

So, based on the calculations, the paper suggested two effective models of lockdown:

  1. A 49-day nonstop lockdown
  2. Three consecutive lockdowns with the first one lasting 21 days, second 28 days and the third one for 18 days with a five-day gap between each lockdown.

Moreover, as of yet (the time of filing the report), the government has made no announcements regarding the extension of the 21-day lockdown.
In fact, on March 30, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba clarified that the government had no plans of extending the lockdown.

With the above information, we can conclude that the four-step model being circulated on social media has been falsely attributed to WHO.

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