WHO extends travel restrictions to Pak amid polio resurgence

Pakistani health worker administers polio drops to a child during a polio vaccination campaign in southwest Pakistan's Quetta

Islamabad, The World Health Organization (WHO) has extended travel restrictions to Pakistan for another three months over the frequent outbreak of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in all provinces and an alarming surge in Wild Poliovirus Type 1 (WP1) cases.

The WHO has recommended that there was an urgent need to overhaul the entire leadership and strategy of the anti-polio programme in Pakistan, Dawn news said in a report on Friday.

The decision of extending travel restriction was taken on the recommendations of the Emergency Committee of International Health Regulations (IHR) and conveyed to Islamabad few days ago.

In 2019, Pakistan documented 134 wild poliovirus cases and this count in the country was just 12 in 2018.

The most affected provinces were Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“The progress made in the recent years appears to have reversed, with the committee’s assessment that the risk of international spread is at the highest point since 2014,” the global health body said in a statement.

Besides Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the other countries facing travel restrictions.

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