COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and the International Health Regulations (2005)
von Tigerstrom B, Wilson K, COVID-19 travel restrictions and the International Health Regulations (2005) BMJ Global Health 2020;5:e002629, http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-002629.
4 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 17, 2020
Concerns that have been raised about states violating the International Health Regulations (2005) by imposing travel restrictions are valid, and some states have not complied with their obligations under those Regulations.
Given the unprecedented situation and uncertainty about the best course of action, we should not assume that all travel restrictions violate international law, even though they were not recommended by the WHO.
Some travel restrictions are more likely to be justified than others, depending on a number of factors, including how they are designed and local capacity to implement less restrictive measures.
The WHO still has an important role to play in providing guidance to states as they modify or lift travel restrictions.
In order for the international framework to be more effective, the WHO should have more flexibility to make early travel recommendations and develop protocols to facilitate the reopening of borders.
Keywords: Public Health, International Health Regulations, COVID-19
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