Bans on international travel cannot stay in place indefinitely. Therefore, countries will have to do more to reduce the spread of the coronavirus within their borders, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
Countries are reimposing travel restrictions amid a surge of infections. For example, Britain is throwing the reopening of Europe’s tourism industry into disarray by ordering a quarantine on travelers returning from Spain, Reuters reports.
Only with strict adherence to health measures, from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, the world can beat the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says.
“Where we follow these measures, cases go down. Where they are not, cases go up,” he says. However, Ghebreyesus is praising Canada, China, Germany and South Korea for controlling outbreaks.
WHO emergencies program head Mike Ryan says countries cannot keep borders shut for the foreseeable future. As a result, countries should take measures.
“…It is going to be almost impossible for individual countries to keep their borders shut for the foreseeable future. Economies have to open up, people have to work, trade has to resume,” he says.
“What is clear is pressure on the virus pushes the numbers down. Release that pressure and cases creep back up.”
Ryan praises Japan and Australia for the “good success in containing the disease”. But says that it is possible that the virus would re surge. Especially in areas with active transmission and where there are no restrictions.
“And that is what has essentially occurs in many countries is that in nightclubs, other situations, dormitories, other environments. There, people are close together and can act as amplification points for the disease. Then it can spread back into the community. We need to be hyper-alert on those.”
Consistent measures, in place long enough will ensure their effectiveness and public acceptance, Ryan says.
“What we need to worry about is situations where the problems aren’t being surfaced. And where the problems are being glossed over, where everything looks good.”
Ryan says Spain’s current situation was nowhere near as bad as it had been at the pandemic’s peak there. And he expects clusters to be under control. Though, it would take days or weeks to discern the disease’s future pattern.
“The more we understand the disease, the more we have a microscope on the virus, the more precise we can be in surgically removing it from our communities,” he adds.