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How to overcome lockdown: selective isolation versus contact tracing

White, Lucie and van Basshuysen, Philippe (2020) How to overcome lockdown: selective isolation versus contact tracing. Journal of Medical Ethics, 46 (11). 724 - 725. ISSN 0306-6800

[img] Text (2020 How to Overcome Lockdown Selective Isolation vs. Contact Tracing preprint) - Accepted Version
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Identification Number: 10.1136/medethics-2020-106680


At this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, two policy aims are imperative: avoiding the need for a general lockdown of the population, with all its economic, social and health costs, and preventing the healthcare system from being overwhelmed by the unchecked spread of infection. Achieving these two aims requires the consideration of unpalatable measures. Julian Savulescu and James Cameron argue that mandatory isolation of the elderly is justified under these circumstances, as they are at increased risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, and are thus likely to put disproportionate strain on limited healthcare resources. However, their arguments for this strategy are contingent on the lack of viable alternatives. We suggest that there is a possible alternative: a mandatory, centralised contact-tracing app. We argue that this strategy is ethically preferable to the selective isolation of the elderly, because it does not target members of a certain group, relying instead on the movements of each individual, and because it avoids the extended isolation of certain members of the society. Although this type of contact-tracing app has its drawbacks, we contend that this measure warrants serious consideration.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2020 08:30
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024 00:42

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