Travel Bans are Unsustainable, says WHO

The UN health body has said ban on international travel is unsustainable as economies need to be rebooted
Airport terminals are empty, as countries impose travel restrictions
Airport terminals are empty, as countries impose travel restrictions

An alarming surge in the number of coronavirus cases has prompted various countries to re-impose a number of travel restrictions in recent weeks.

The UK government has removed Spain from its list of countries which are safe to travel to, following the dramatic increase in the number of infections in Spain in the last few days. It has ordered a 14-day quarantine on travellers returning from Spain, throwing a spanner in Europe&rsquos plans of re-opening the tourism industry.

The move has prompted a sharp rebuke from the World Health Organisation (WHO) which has said that keeping borders closed to halt the spread of COVID-19 is unsustainable. Instead of sealing borders, countries must adopt comprehensive strategies based on local knowledge of where the virus is spreading.

&ldquoBans on international travel cannot stay in place indefinitely, and countries are going to have to do more to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus within their borders&rdquo, said WHO Emergencies Programme Head Mike Ryan. &ldquoIt is going to be 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."

While pointing towards the present situation regarding Spain, he said that it is nowhere near as bad as it was when the pandemic had peaked.

It has been six months since the WHO declared COVID-19 as a global health emergency and listed out various guidelines and health measures to fight the same. &ldquoOnly with strict adherence to health measures, from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, would the world manage to beat the novel coronavirus,&rdquo said its Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a virtual news briefing this week.

Many countries closed their borders and imposed strict travel restrictions as a strategy to combat the novel coronavirus. But after cases went down, some countries had opened up and eased up on bans. A recent surge in cases after re-opening has led to talks about fresh border closures.

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