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WHO: Travel bans cannot be indefinite, countries must fight virus

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WHO: Travel bans cannot be indefinite, countries must fight virus

Only with strict adherence to health measures would the world manage to beat the COVID-19 pandemic, Tedros said [Reuters] Bans on international travel cannot stay in place indefinitely, and countries should do more to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus within their borders, the World Health Organization has said.

A surge of infections has prompted countries to reimpose some travel restrictions in recent days.

Only with strict adherence to health measures, from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, would the world manage to beat the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a virtual news briefing on Monday.

"Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they are not, cases go up," he said, praising Canada, China, Germany and South Korea for controlling outbreaks.

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WHO Emergencies Programme head Mike Ryan said travel bans were not sustainable.

"It is going to be almost impossible for individual countries to keep their borders shut for the foreseeable future. Economies have to open up, people have to work, trade has to resume," he said.

"What is clear is pressure on the virus pushes the numbers down. Release that pressure and cases creep back up."Tedros also said that the UN health body’s emergency committee would convene to re-examine the declaration that the outbreak constituted a "public health emergency of international concern".A so-called PHEIC declaration, which marks the highest level of alarm under international health rules, must be re-evaluated every six months.Prior to COVID-19, WHO had only made such declarations five times since its International Health Regulations changed in 2007, for swine flu, polio, Zika and twice for Ebola outbreaks in Africa.Of those, the current […]

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