The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised countries to lift or ease international travel bans, terming them ineffective in controlling the spread of the coronavirus. A statement issued by the WHO said that the Emergency Committee, convened by the WHO director-general, held its tenth meeting on coronavirus diseases this week.
During the meeting, the Committee expressed concern about countries implementing blanket travel bans, which, the WHO stressed, were not effective in suppressing the spread “as was clearly demonstrated by the Omicron experience”.
Furthermore, travel bans would discourage the transparent and rapid reporting of new variants by countries, it said.
“Lift or ease international traffic bans,” the WHO urged countries, advising them to adopt travel measures such as masking, testing, isolation/quarantine, and vaccination, based on risk assessments and avoid placing the financial burden on international travelers instead.
“They [travel restrictions] do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress experienced by States Parties.”
The WHO also advised the countries against seeking vaccination proofs at the time of travel, citing limited global access and inequitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines as basis.
Moreover, the Emergency Committee praised South Africa for rapidly identifying and sharing information regarding the Omicron variant of the virus.
According to WHO data, global coronavirus infections have surpassed 337 million, while 5.57 million deaths have so far been reported worldwide.