The World Health Organization has again warned countries against imposing travel restrictions to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, asserting that doing so would create “fear and stigma.”
Despite the coronavirus now infecting more than 20,000 people, with tens of thousands more suspected to be infected, the WHO is apparently more concerned with maintaining the relentless flow of travel and migration.
Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement that travel restrictions “can have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, with little public health benefit.”
“Where such measures have been implemented, we urge that they are short in duration, proportionate to the public health risks, and are reconsidered regularly as the situation evolves,” he added.
However, at least 22 countries that have already imposed travel restrictions apparently do believe that such measures have a public health benefit.
“This is happening at the same time as China is blocking travel to Macau and enforcing martial law almost nationwide,” comments Zero Hedge. “Since when did the WHO not err on the side of caution? This is stunningly irresponsible advice.”
Accusing the WHO of choosing money over people’s lives, the website added, “The WHO then proceeded to downplay the risk to public health and took pains to make it clear it doesn’t recommend placing restrictions on global trade & travel at this time. What?!? When we may be in dealing with a viral outbreak as (or more!) virulent than the Spanish Flu? (aka The Great Influenza).”
As we highlighted last week, the rhetoric is similar to that deployed in the WHO’s statement in which it declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a global emergency.
In their official statement, the organization cautioned against any actions that would “promote stigma or discrimination” and asserted that maintaining the “international traffic” of people was essential and should not be interfered with.
What would it take for the cherished sanctity of the mass movement of people to be challenged? A global pandemic? Hundreds of thousands of dead people? Is avoiding hurt feelings more important?
The mind boggles.
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