Pakistan wants polio travel restrictions postponed

World Health Organization's decision to impose polio-related travel restrictions to Pakistan is 'unjust,' health ministry says

World Health Organization's decision to impose polio-related travel restrictions to Pakistan is 'unjust,' health ministry says

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Wednesday said it would challenge World Health Organization’s decision to impose polio-related travel restrictions on Pakistanis in the World Health Assembly.

Terming the agency's decision “unjust” and “uncalled," Pakistan’s Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar said the presence of polio virus in the world was not only the failure of respective governments but also of the World Health Organization.

“We are going to challenge the decision in the World Health Assembly as this is a totally unjust decision,” she told a press conference organized by the ministry as part of a polio-related emergency imposed by the government after the health agency's decision.

Tarar asked the World Health Organization to loosen its travel restrictions on Pakistanis for 15 days, a period it needs to prepare for proper implementation of the agency's requirements.

“During this period, no Pakistani travelling abroad should be stopped under these restrictions,” she said.

The organization imposed travel restrictions on Pakistanis on Monday to avoid an outbreak of the crippling disease. Similar restrictions have also been imposed on Syria and Cameroon due to risk of spreading.

In line with these restrictions, all Pakistanis are obliged to present a polio clearance certificate before travelling abroad.

Pakistan is one of the three countries where polio remains endemic together with Afghanistan and Nigeria.

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