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WHO extends travel restrictions on Pakistan


Nepalnews
ANI
2023 Aug 29, 9:16, Islamabad [Pakistan],

The World Health Organisation (WHO) extended travel bans on Pakistan for an additional three months, highlighting the country's ongoing risk of a polio breakout, ARY News reported.

The decision was made during a meeting of the World Health Organisation (WHO)-convened Emergency Committee for the 2005 International Health Regulations, which monitors the spread of the poliovirus worldwide.

The committee voiced worries about Pakistan's attempts to eradicate polio by reaching a large number of children. It also emphasised the shortcomings in Pakistan's and Afghanistan's attempts to end polio, according to ARY News, a Pakistani channel.

It stressed that the ongoing risk of a polio epidemic in Pakistan is underscored by recent favourable environmental tests from Peshawar and Karachi.

The committee noted that since the last meeting, a fresh case of Wild Poliovirus Type 1 (WP1) had been discovered in Pakistan, bringing the total for 2023 to 2 cases. Both incidents happened in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province's Bannu district.

“Although the action plan in southern KP has resulted in 160,000 more children being vaccinated, the context remains challenging — including political instability, insecurity in some areas with front-line workers requiring police patrols to accompany them and vaccination boycotts,” the committee added, as reported by ARY News.

In Afghanistan, since the last meeting, there have been five new WPV1 cases reported, all from Nangarhar province, the emergency committee said. “Any setback in Afghanistan poses a risk to the programme in Pakistan due to high population movement,” it warned.

The emergency committee issued a warning that there was a continuing risk of WPV1 re-emergence into the southern region due to continuous transmission in eastern Afghanistan, cross-border expansion into Pakistan, and a significant population of unvaccinated, a pool of unvaccinated zero-dose children in southern Afghanistan.

All travellers should receive the full polio vaccine, according to the WHO's International Travel and Health. Within 4 weeks to 12 months after travel, residents (and guests staying longer than 4 weeks) from affected areas should take an additional dose of OPV or inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), ARY News reported.

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World Health Organisation WHO travel bans on pakistan Polio emergency committe Pakistan Pak Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
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