New Delhi: The United States has sounded a level-2 alert for travelling to Pakistan and other polio-endemic countries in Asia. “The World Health Organization recommends that these countries require residents and long-term (four weeks or more) visitors show proof of polio vaccination before leaving the country,” reads the level 2 travel alert by the US. Also Read - White House May Expand Travel Ban to More Countries
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, polio outbreaks have been reported in Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. Also Read - Indian Tourists Can Now Travel To Malaysia Visa-Free, All Year Round In 2020
Before travelling to these countries, adults who completed their routine polio vaccine series as children should receive a single, lifetime adult booster dose of the polio vaccine, the CDC said. Also Read - Pakistani Actor Fawad Khan Faces Persecution For Allegedly Refusing to Vaccinate His Child Against Polio
Since the end of 2019, the polio outbreak has become a renewed cause of global concern. In 2019, at least 145 children were given expired polio vaccines in eastern China.
In 2019, Pakistan documented 134 wild poliovirus cases and this count in the country was just 12 in 2018. The most affected provinces were Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“The progress made in the recent years appears to have reversed, with the committee’s assessment that the risk of international spread is at the highest point since 2014,” the global health body said in a statement. There were reports of Pakistan officials trying to cover up.