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WHO calls travel bans ineffective; recommends countries to lift or ease COVID-19 travel restrictions

According to a TOI report, the World Health Organization (WHO), in a latest COVID recommendation, has called travel bans ineffective and has suggested nations to either lift or ease the present COVID-19 travel restrictions. The WHO said that these travel bans can worsen the economy and increase social stress.

The WHO recommended the same at the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on COVID-19. As per report, the nations should remove the travel bans and restrictions as the committee found “they do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress experienced” by citizens.

The report further stated that these travel restrictions have been incompetent in capping the international spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. This shows that such travel restrictions are ineffective.

Further, the report suggested that safety measures like RT PCR testing, masking, isolation/quarantine, and vaccination should be based on risk assessments to avoid unnecessary financial burden on international travellers.

In November last year, myriad nations suspended flights to and from southern African countries, owing to Omicron. But now, the ban has been lifted by most governments. The WHO has also urged nations not to ask for COVID-19 vaccination proof as the only way for travellers’ entry.

Countries must consider adjusting or easing such measures, including testing and quarantine requirements, said WHO.

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