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Global experts, institutions disfavor imposing travel restrictions on China amid COVID-19 outbreak

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-02-17 15:12

Cooperation rather than restriction

At a time when many countries have put travel restrictions on China, world experts have voiced support for China and stressed that global cooperation rather than restriction is essential to overcoming the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Such outbreaks can happen in any parts of the world. Rather than giving pressure to China or suspending the flights and imposing travel bans, the international community should help and cooperate with it in this crisis period," said Sundarnath Bhattarai, acting chairman of China Study Center-Nepal.

Jennifer Nuzzo, associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said the United States should re-examine its approach to the virus crisis, including travel restrictions and suspension of flights.

These measures are inconsistent with the advice of the WHO, and unlikely to be effective in stopping the virus from entering the country; instead they will take a toll on the economy and trade, said Nuzzo.

Following a special meeting in Brussels on Thursday, European Union Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the EU is not considering banning Chinese travelers from entering its visa-free Schengen area at the moment, and people should have faith in the measures being taken by member states and China to contain the virus.

In Africa, director for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) John Nkengasong said the African CDC is currently coordinating with China to address the novel coronavirus outbreak and warned against baseless fearmongering.

"WHO has made it clear there should be no restriction on flights to, in and out of China, and we adhere to the WHO advisory," he said.

The International Civil Aviation Organization has repeatedly called on its members to follow the travel and health recommendations issued by the WHO and not to impose restrictions inconsistent with the IHR.

Other aviation organizations including the International Air Transport Association and Association of Asia Pacific Airlines have also spoken against travel restrictions that disrupt international air transport.

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