An advisory board has advised travellers against travelling to the Americas for the first time as the world waits for the vaccine.
Key points:The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a travel advisory for Latin America, Africa and the CaribbeanThe advisory board says travel is still being determined”The Advisory Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has been formed to advise and provide guidance to healthcare professionals, public health officials and travellers, the WHO said in a statement on Friday.
The advisory group will be chaired by Dr James Watson, WHO Director General for Health, who is also the head of the WHO Immunisation and Vaccine Working Group.
Dr Watson said the Advisory Board would be focused on how the pandemic will impact Latin America and Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands.”
As with all global health issues, the GPEI has a strong focus on the health and well-being of all people in our region and will ensure that we have all the facts,” Dr Watson said.”
Our focus will be on how to protect our health and our communities, while helping them achieve a level of well-functioning and sustainable societies.
“The advisory panel will advise on all aspects of travel in the Americas, including air travel, food and beverage consumption, and healthcare.”
This will be a very complex task,” Dr Richard Haskins, the chair of the advisory board told the BBC.”
It will be important to ensure that travellers are fully aware of all the information that has been published about the current pandemic, and of any other developments that may be emerging.
“He said that while travel to the US was a “good start”, the US has not been completely prepared for the potential impacts of the pandemics and said it was “important to consider other options” before choosing a destination.
Dr Haskings added that the GSEI would not be making any specific recommendations, but would ensure that all travellers had a “complete and accurate picture” of what to expect.
He added: “I would encourage all travellers to consult with their healthcare professionals and the appropriate authorities about any travel plans.”
Dr Watson is also heading up a task force to develop strategies to reduce the spread of the virus.
The WHO said it would not take any immediate action until more information had been released about the pandems impact on the Americas.