WHO Director General: Don’t spread fear and stigma with travel bans

Extracted from CNN’s Nada Bashir in London

The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on countries not to impose travel and trade restrictions over the coronavirus, warning that such measures could increase “fear and stigma” within the international community.

“We reiterate our call to all countries not to impose restrictions that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. Such restrictions can have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, with little public health benefit,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday during a briefing to the UN’s executive board in Geneva.
“Where such measures have been implemented, we urge that they are short in duration, proportionate to the public health risks, and are reconsidered regularly as the situation evolves,” he added.

He also called on member states to “facilitate rapid collaboration between the public and private sectors to develop the diagnostics, medicines and vaccines,” in order to bring the outbreak under control.

Ghebreyesus asked member states to share information with the health body, “including epidemiological, clinical severity and the results of community studies and investigations,” because without such data it is difficult for the WHO to assess the evolution of the outbreak.

“The risk of [Wuhan coronavirus] becoming more widespread globally remains high. Now is the moment for all countries to be preparing themselves,” he added.

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