Don’t punish UK and South Africa for sharing details, says WHO – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/dont-punish-uk-and-south-africa-for-sharing-details-says-who/articleshow/80020024.cms?utm_source=ETTopNews&utm_medium=HPTN&utm_campaign=AL1&utm_content=23Synopsis

Countries like the UK and South Africa should not be unduly punished for their openness towards science, Mike Ryan, the organisation’s head of emergency preparedness said. WHO said the UK was able to detect the new variant virus because it does the most genomic testing.

MUMBAI: Countries should not punish the UK and South Africa by imposing stringent restrictions just because they shared details about the new mutation of coronavirus, the World Health Organisation has said in its last press conference of 2020.

“WHO is always clear in saying and has said any restriction on travel must be time-limited, evidence-based and focused,” said Mike Ryan, the organisation’s head of emergency preparedness, said Monday night.

“We need to contain any virus and shutting down countries with absolute measures is neither feasible nor necessary.”

Countries like the UK and South Africa should not be unduly punished for their openness towards science, he said. WHO said the UK was able to detect the new variant virus because it does the most genomic testing.

David Heyman, an infectious disease expert, said, “Rather than taking a lot of time blocking borders, it will be useful to use basic epidemiological tools. In the UK the new strain was transmitted when lot of young people got together and increased the spread.”

WHO’s guidance on resumption of international travel in July this year had said countries should look at local epidemiology and transmission patterns, national public health and social measures for controlling outbreaks, and health service capacity at national and subnational levels to manage suspect and confirmed cases among travellers to mitigate and manage the risk of importation or exportation of the disease.

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