The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended lifting international travel bans and relaxing proof of vaccination, citing their ineffectiveness at containing the spread of COVID-19 and the limited global access to vaccines.
January 20, 2022
WHO issued a statement yesterday morning, 19 January, after an emergency meeting and issued a number of recommendations to State Parties.
The suggestion to lift or ease international traffic restrictions is due to their failure in preventing the spread of the Omicron variant.
“Lift or ease international traffic bans as they do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress experienced by States Parties. The failure of travel restrictions introduced after the detection and reporting of Omicron variant to limit international spread of Omicron demonstrates the ineffectiveness of such measures over time,” the statement read.
WHO released guidance on 30 November last year advising against strict travel bans when the Omicron strain was first detected.
“Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivising countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data,” they said.
Yesterday’s statement further called for countries to not mandate proof of COVID-19 vaccination as the only condition for the entry of travellers.
“Do NOT require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for international travel as the only pathway or condition permitting international travel given limited global access and inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.