Fresh Polio Cases lead to WHO Travel Restrictions on Pakistan and Syria

Fresh Polio Cases lead to WHO Travel Restrictions on Pakistan and Syria

World Health Organization has slapped international travel restrictions on Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria after evaluating that the countries have failed to control deadly polio virus. WHO termed polio resurgence as a world health emergency.

Vaccine certification along with travel documents could be made mandatory for people traveling from these three countries, if the recommendations of WHO get approval. The recent outbreaks have been termed as “extraordinary events”.

The latest WHO statement also mentioned Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq and Israel in the high risk countries. Syria was declared polio free for 14 years. Recently, health officials have reported cases of polio in Syria. India has already imposed travel restriction on individuals from Pakistan. India was recently granted ‘polio-free’ status.

Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan are still fighting a tough battle against Polio. In Pakistan, the Taliban has hampered the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) or Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV) drive.

Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director General said, “The conditions for a public health emergency have been met.”

The recommendations from WHO would require travelers from these countries to receive a dose of OPV or IPV before travel. The restrictions would apply for at least six months after there is no report of transmission of virus from these countries.


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