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UN agency criticises introduction of travel bans over Omicron variant

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Uwe Schwarzbach

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation says travel bans introduced following the emergence of the Omicron variant should be lifted. UNWTO members voiced their concerns about the bans during the organisation’s recent General Assembly. According to a TTR Weekly report, countries from all regions of the world voiced solidarity with African nations that have become the target of travel bans as a result of the new Covid-19 variant.

The UNWTO is calling for the bans to be lifted and freedom of international travel restored. The organisation has pointed to statements from the United Nations Secretary-General and the World Health Organisation, both of whom have criticised the discriminatory nature of travel bans they describe as ineffective.

During the General Assembly, UNWTO members and representatives of the private sector and various international organisations agreed with WHO advice that travel bans must remain a last resort and if introduced, should be scientifically-based and proportionate. Attendees stated that such bans should be implemented with a thorough understanding of the repercussions of stopping international travel to countries where citizens rely heavily on tourism for their livelihoods.

The UNWTO has previously called for evidence-based approaches that balance the protection of public health with the survival of the tourism industry. The organisation says such an approach will be the most effective one in the long run.

Members have also pointed out the link between vaccination levels and travel, acknowledging the emergence of variants in regions where vaccination take-up is low. To address this, the UNWTO says all nations must come together to combat vaccine inequity as well as approving all vaccines that have already received WHO approval.

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: TTR Weekly

 

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