WHO slaps travel restrictions on Pakistan over polio fears

The WHO on Monday slapped international travel restrictions on Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria over the countries’ failure to control the spread of the deadly polio virus, just a month after India did the same. According to the World Health Organizations’ (WHO) restrictions, it will be mandatory for all residents and long-term visitors (over 4 weeks) from Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria to receive a dose of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) or Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV) between 4 weeks and 12 months prior to international travel.

Recommendations for the travel restrictions were put forward by a 21-member International Health Regulations Emergency Committee which was formed on the directives of WHO board members on Geneva. ‘This has primarily been done to stop the spread of the deadly virus. And of the situation does improve when a review comes up, the restrictions will be withdrawn too,’ WHO national campaign coordinator in Pakistan Zubair Mufti said.. The new WHO regulations call upon these countries to ensure that those undertaking urgent travel within 4 weeks, who have not received a dose of OPV or IPV in the previous four weeks to 12 months, receive a dose of polio vaccine at least by the time of departure as this will still be beneficial, particularly for frequent travellers. It also calls on them to maintain these measures until at least 6 months have passed without new exportations.
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