Blanket travel ban will not prevent international spread: WHO

Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, World Health Organisation says, suggesting instead that countries and particularly travellers remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of coronavirus, get vaccinated when it is their turn and adhere to public health and social measures at all times.

Their latest advisory, consistent with Fiji’s Ministry of Health recent COVID-19 advisory, comes as Fiji readies to reopen its borders to welcome its first tourists in almost two years at the Nadi International Airport this morning.

According to WHO, instituting blanket travel bans can also place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods and adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by discouraging countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data.

“Countries should continue to apply an evidence-informed and risk-based approach when implementing travel measures in accordance with the IHR,” the WHO said.

“National authorities may apply a multi-layered risk mitigation approach to potentially delay the exportation or importation of the new variant.”

Fiji has since revised its travel measures and is poised to increase its testing numbers in view of international repatriates and travelers including Fijians visiting families and friends.

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