WHO extends travel restrictions on Pakistan despite zero polio cases in last 10 months
ISLAMABAD – The World Health Organization (WHO) has extended travel restrictions to Pakistan for another three months despite a drop in new cases.
The UN agency responsible for international public health has again extended travel restrictions on the South Asian country by three months due to it being listed among the last polio-endemic countries.
Polio surveillance will continue in Islamabad for an additional three months, while citizens traveling abroad will be required to prove polio immunization.
The 30th Polio IHR Emergency Committee stated that the two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, failed to eradicate polio fully and may be responsible for the virus's global spread.
WHO deemed the neighboring countries to be dangerous in a recent statement for the contagious virus that can result in the spinal cord and brainstem paralysis.
It further added that the committee observed that Islamabad’s main problem continues to be the 'persistently overlooked children' in core reservoirs, as well as dealing with parental refusals and troubling polio vaccination programs in hotspot areas.
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The committee however noted that the viral presence in the country’s sewerage systems has been reduced which helped to curb the infection. The officials however said Afghanistan to be the primary source of Polio Virus, which enters Pakistan via refugee migration.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has made remarkable progress against polio, as the incidence of Wild Polio Virus cases has plunged to zero in the previous ten months – decreased from 84 reported cases in the last year.
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