WHO Proposes Ban on Pakistani Citizens From Leaving Country Without Polio Vaccination

The WHO has recommended a ban on Pakistani citizens leaving the country without polio vaccination certification, as part of the efforts to curb the spread of poliovirus.

This recommendation comes after the 36th Meeting of the Polio IHR Emergency Committee, where the situation regarding wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV) was extensively reviewed in the context of the global eradication target for WPV and the cessation of cVDPV2 outbreaks by the end of 2023.

In light of the recent recommendations, Pakistan finds itself in the spotlight due to its most recent detection of WPV1 on July 23, 2023. The country, along with others like Afghanistan, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Congo, and DR Congo, has been identified as having a potential risk of international spread of poliovirus.

To mitigate this risk, the WHO advises countries with poliovirus detections to make an official declaration of poliovirus transmission interruption as a national public health emergency. This is to be done at the level of the head of state or government. In cases where such a declaration has already been made, the emergency status should be upheld until the eradication response is deemed no longer necessary.

One of the most significant measures recommended by the WHO is the implementation of restrictions on international travel for Pakistani residents who lack documentation of appropriate polio vaccination.

This restriction applies to all international travelers departing from Pakistan, regardless of their mode of transportation (road, air, or sea). This move aims to ensure that individuals who could potentially carry the virus outside of the country are adequately vaccinated and do not contribute to the spread of poliovirus in other regions.

Read more about the 36th Meeting of the Polio IHR Emergency Committee.

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