The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said international travel bans do not provide any added value but contribute to the economic and social stress of countries, reported DW News.
In a statement issued after a meeting, the UN health agency said travel restrictions that were introduced to curb the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus proved ineffective over time.
In late November, when South Africa informed the world about the new covid-19 variant, several countries suspended flights to and from southern African countries, citing concerns over omicron. Most governments have now lifted the ban.
The WHO also appealed to countries not to make proof of vaccination against COVID-19 necessary for travelers’ entry, citing inequality in vaccine distribution. The global health body urged countries to consider tweaking some measures, including testing and quarantine requirements, “when appropriate,” that put a financial burden on travelers.
It said that in the current scenario, existing tools and solutions continue to be effective that cincludes vaccination coverage, using masks, maintaining hand hygiene, physical distancing, ventilation of indoor spaces and crowd avoidance.
“If these are followed, there will be no need for lockdowns,” the WHO said.
As per data collected by the UN health body, coronavirus cases globally rose by 20% last week to more than 18 million. The number of infections increased in every part of the world except for Africa, where the case numbers fell by nearly a third. The global death toll remained similar to the previous week, at about 45,000.
In related news, on Tuesday, Dr. Michael Ryan, the head of emergencies at the WHO said the worst of the coronavirus pandemic could be over this year if countries quickly address the huge inequities in vaccinations and medicines.
Ryan said it is impossible to wipe off the virus completely because such pandemic viruses end up becoming part of the ecosystem.