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A(H1N1) influenza virus

No travel restrictions recommended despite move to Phase 6 pandemic status

The worldwide travel and tourism industry was gratified to learn that the UN Secretary-General and the World Health Organization (WHO) both recommended against restrictions on travel and border closures despite the move to phase 6 pandemic status of the A(H1N1) influenza virus. Specifically, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, stressed in a statement to the press on 11 June 2009 that “WHO continues to recommend no restrictions on travel and no border…

The worldwide travel and tourism industry was gratified to learn that the UN Secretary-General and the World Health Organization (WHO) both recommended against restrictions on travel and border closures despite the move to phase 6 pandemic status of the A(H1N1) influenza virus.

Specifically, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, stressed in a statement to the press on 11 June 2009 that “WHO continues to recommend no restrictions on travel and no border closures”. On the same day UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that “we must guard against rash and discriminatory action, such as travel bans or trade restrictions”.

The move to phase 6 is based on the geographic spread of the influenza A(H1N1) virus and is not related to its severity. The current overall assessment of the severity of the virus remains moderate.

WHO points out that limiting travel and imposing travel restrictions would have very little effect on stopping the disease, but would be highly disruptive to the global community.

In order to protect themselves and others under the current situation, individual travelers are cautioned to act in a responsible manner towards themselves, towards those around them and in the host communities of their destinations. They should familiarize themselves with the simple prevention practices that apply in daily life and while travelling such as hand-washing and normal cough etiquette. People who are ill should delay travel plans. Returning travellers who show influenza symptoms should contact their health care provider.

Travelers are encouraged to stay informed. They should check regularly with www.SOS.travel and other reliable resources for the latest updates and information issued by health and travel professionals to monitor any developments.

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