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How effective was the international travel ban?

Kyle Zeeman Digital Editor
Travel bans have been largely ineffective, says the WHO.
Travel bans have been largely ineffective, says the WHO.

The World Health Organization has spoken on travel bans imposed by several countries during the outbreak of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, calling for an end to the practice and adoption of travel measures based on risk assessments.

The organisation resolved at the eleventh meeting of the International Health Regulations  Emergency Committee recently that “the failure of travel bans introduced after the detection and reporting of Omicron variant to limit international spread of Omicron demonstrates the ineffectiveness of such measures over time”.

“The implementation of travel measures (such as vaccination, screening, including via testing, isolation/quarantine of travellers) should be based on risk assessments and should avoid placing the financial burden on international travellers”.

It called for an end to proof of vaccination against Covid-19 for international travel as the only pathway or condition permitting international travel

“States should consider a risk-based approach to the facilitation of international travel,” it added.

All travellers entering SA are required to present proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours.

The Tourism Business Council of SA has previously said PCR test requirements were the “biggest inhibitor” for international tourists.

“Beyond the requirement being difficult and expensive for many international visitors, the World Health Organization has stated that international travellers should not be considered a priority group for PCR testing and those who have been fully vaccinated should be exempt from heightened travel restrictions.

“Our tourism industry needs to get back to business and our people need to get back to work. Travellers are ready to visit and contribute to our industry’s growth. However, the PCR test requirement is the biggest inhibitor.”

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