As countries from the past one month have started to ease restrictions placed on travel, resulting in an increase in COVID infection cases and reintroduction of border controls and entry restrictions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an advisory for these restrictions to be lifted gradually, with priority given to essential travel. WHO has defined ‘essential travel’ as travelling for emergencies, humanitarian actions (such as emergency medical flights and medical evacuation), travel of essential personal (such as emergency responders and providers of public health technical support), as well as travel for repatriation.
According to WHO, there is no risk on international travel. But cautioned against international travel for those who are unhealthy and more vulnerable to the infection. It also advised that each country shall plan their priorities regarding the socio-economic consequences of travel measures by conducting the risk-benefit analysis, comparing the potential adverse public health consequences.
A report by WHO stated, “The gradual lifting of travel measures (or temporary restrictions) should be based on a thorough risk assessment. Taking into account country context, the local epidemiology and transmission patterns, the national health and social measures to control the outbreak, and the capacities of health systems in both departure and destination countries, including at points of entry.”