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Pakistan is one of only three countries where the crippling polio virus is endemic.—File photo
Pakistan is one of only three countries where the crippling polio virus is endemic.—File photo

KARACHI: The World Health Organisation on Monday recommended strict travel restrictions on Pakistan due to the rising number of polio cases in the country.

The WHO said the spread of polio is an international public health emergency that threatens to infect other countries with the crippling disease.

The public health arm of the United Nations, issued its new guidelines to fight the disease, recommending Pakistanis traveling abroad should present a polio vaccination certificate.

The WHO also recommended similar restrictions on Syria and Cameroon — two other countries where the disease was previously said to have been eradicated but have recently been known to have been exporting the potentially disease.

Pakistan is one of only three countries where the crippling virus is endemic. The other two countries are Nigeria and Afghanistan.

In an announcement today, the agency described the ongoing polio outbreaks in Asia, Africa and the Middle East as an ''extraordinary'' situation requiring a coordinated international response.


States currently exporting wild polio virus


In a statement, the WHO said Pakistan, Cameroon, and the Syrian Arab Republic pose the greatest risk of further wild poliovirus exportations in 2014. The WHO recommended:

“These States should:

  1. officially declare, if not already done, at the level of head of state or government, that the interruption of poliovirus transmission is a national public health emergency;

  2. ensure that all residents and long-term visitors (i.e. > 4 weeks) receive a dose of OPV or inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) between 4 weeks and 12 months prior to international travel;

  3. ensure that those undertaking urgent travel (i.e. within 4 weeks), who have not received a dose of OPV or IPV in the previous 4 weeks to 12 months, receive a dose of polio vaccine at least by the time of departure as this will still provide benefit, particularly for frequent travelers;

  4. ensure that such travelers are provided with an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis in the form specified in Annex 6 of the International Health Regulations (2005) to record their polio vaccination and serve as proof of vaccination;

  5. maintain these measures until the following criteria have been met: (i) at least 6 months have passed without new exportations and (ii) there is documentation of full application of high quality eradication activities in all infected and high risk areas; in the absence of such documentation these measures should be maintained until at least 12 months have passed without new exportations.”

“Once a State has met the criteria to be assessed as no longer exporting wild poliovirus, it should continue to be considered as an infected State until such time as it has met the criteria to be removed from that category,” added the WHO statement.


Related: 5 more polio cases emerge in Fata, KP


Polio usually strikes children under five and is usually spread via infected water. There is no specific treatment or cure, but several vaccines exist.

Experts are particularly concerned the virus continues to pop up in countries previously free of the disease, such as Syria, Somalia and Iraq — where civil war or unrest complicates efforts to contain the virus.

Some critics say the rapid spread of polio could unravel the nearly three-decade effort to eradicate it.


Comments (79) Closed



Saad May 05, 2014 04:37pm

Shame... :(

Tahir May 05, 2014 04:42pm

This is discrimination against Pakistani muslims. Umma should oppose this.

orinosman May 05, 2014 04:43pm

So sad and humiliating!

Harmony May 05, 2014 04:45pm

If this is what the extremists are doing resisting vaccinations and killing the NGO

GA May 05, 2014 04:47pm

Enough quak doctors out there to issue fake certificates. But if they seriously want to curtail polio they should put a complete ban on Pakistani leaders and generals from travelling until Pakistan is polio free.

Fiz May 05, 2014 04:50pm

They have done it again. Another feather in the cap of TTP! But we must keep on talking with them to give them maximum opportunity to raise our flag in the world. Badnaam hoongay tu kya naam na ho ga!

Dr Aziz May 05, 2014 04:51pm

Interesting decision...Most of the carrier of polio virus donot take regular route. 2nd point :this year polio is reported in 7 countries..until 2013 it was in 3 countries.. But unfortunately Pakistan have the highest http://www.polioeradication.org/dataandmonitoring/poliothisweek.aspx for reference

kapil May 05, 2014 04:52pm

sad state of affairs..........

Farhan Afzal Saifee May 05, 2014 04:55pm

Does it implies to only infants or every Pakistani?

Sukkur Saheb May 05, 2014 05:03pm

Is it not a shame on Pakistanis to bring a vaccination certificate whenever they leave Pakistan. Are we a worst country than Somalia, Sudan? No other South Asian country got stamped like us.

Mohsin Saeed Khan May 05, 2014 05:03pm

perfect!!!! lets have more war on terror and isloation.... Now from where will we get the adults vaccinated???

Khurram Jadoon May 05, 2014 05:05pm

Another sad day for Pakistan. If our political leadership, media and establishment kept doing the same, in next few years we will be the ONLY in that list.

guddi May 05, 2014 05:05pm

@Sukkur Saheb

The truth is bitter.

guddi May 05, 2014 05:05pm

@Farhan Afzal Saifee

Everybody.

MP May 05, 2014 05:10pm

I am not sure how much it will help, most will go for fake documents or will get genuine documents without vaccination. That is what we are good at.

Youth May 05, 2014 05:12pm

TTP is responsible for the spread of poliovirus in Pakistan because of their killing the polio workers. Dr. Afridi is also responsible for this because with his false polio campaign he sowed the seed of distrust in the heart of parents.

Zak May 05, 2014 05:13pm

Nawaz- another failure of your governance. Thank you CIA for using polio vaccine campaign in trail of OBL. Now the children of Pakistan suffer. Dr Afridi, the traitor, your money came to no use, but see the damage you have done. TTP , you are illiterate terrorists and know nothing about Islam, if you did, you would not play God with other human lives.

Chohan Rana May 05, 2014 05:17pm

Hello... PM office...... YES I am desperately waiting my Prime Minister's stance on this.... Ohh what did you say....? your voice is breaking.... Ohh ok ok .. he is busy with his tour guide & tour schedules.... I got that...... shame on you PM and your cabinet... wish you had seen anything else other than your own businesses.

Khurram Jadoon May 05, 2014 05:21pm

@Youth Isn't that CIA? Afridi was just a puppet.

Indian May 05, 2014 05:23pm

@MP You will get to know ,how genuine it would be when they will ask you to appoint a doctor near embassy and ask you to vaccinate before them while issuing visa

Syed Hussain Akbari May 05, 2014 05:23pm

@GA Right action. Political leaders and also Army Men should also be asked for similar documents and they should not be allowed to travel until the country is free of Polio. Without such strictness nothing will happen. Furthermore Mullahs should in any case bee banned from traveling abroad even not for Umrah and Hajj. They should know what actually humanity is.

Utkarsh May 05, 2014 05:28pm

@Youth It wasn't a false Polio campaign, it was a false Hepatitis campaign. Also, the anti-polio campaign has been going on for 17 years in Pakistan. People have been claiming polio vaccines are anti-Islamic from the the very beginning.

Khan May 05, 2014 05:31pm

@Tahir It has got nothing to do with being muslims. They want to protect other humans in the world. We who are killing polio workers in Karachi, KPK and Fata deserve this. We seem to be the only country that has this horrible disease around

M J Syed May 05, 2014 05:36pm

Someone should tell WHO. The requirement will cause further pain to the already suffering moderates in Pakistan. The fanatics who are opposing vaccination just do not travel. Strange logic!!

Pakhtun May 05, 2014 06:04pm

Welcome to the Jungle Land...

Sami May 05, 2014 06:23pm

Good to have travel restrictions on us/ Pakistanis! I hope now many people from "silent majority" will start to support use of power against groups opposing polio vaccination. All others may also suffer a little bit .... just to get the certificate in a short span of time but I think its nothing compare to the problems of polio!

Iqbal khan May 05, 2014 06:27pm

We deserve it.

Saad May 05, 2014 06:28pm

Shame Shame Shame! Another humiliating news for Pakistani's Oh! wait is American behind this? or maybe India? Wakeup nation the world is moving on...

Quratulain May 05, 2014 06:29pm

that is what is expected, killing poor polio-health workers and not vaccinating kids ..

F. Riaz May 05, 2014 06:46pm

@Tahir... Hope you are joking.

Harmony May 05, 2014 06:48pm

@Tahir - No...

Muhammad Shamrez May 05, 2014 06:50pm

And instead of this Nawaz League focusing on making Metro. Shame on U Idiots

Abdul Wajid May 05, 2014 07:08pm

@Tahir

Sarcasm is not warranted here bro.

imran ali May 05, 2014 07:09pm

@Tahir it is not a discrimination.....it is our fault accept the fact sooner the better

Taher Kureshi May 05, 2014 07:14pm

Its pathetic, God knows, where these incompetent RULERS of Pakistan are heading to, they are very busy pocketing money by what ever means and least interested in putting serious efforts to tackle this POLIOVIRUS issue. May Allah (SWT) help us.

m. a May 05, 2014 07:20pm

What a great achievement by Nawaz and Zardari caused by the inflation and democracy,

Tilikum May 05, 2014 07:24pm

I support the WHO decision. It will pressure the government to put more effort in eradicating polio. The people who are more likely effected by the travel restriction are from upper to lower middle class. This group do vaccinate their children against polio but also travel much more than the poor class and have a bigger say in the politics of Pakistan. By imposing travel restrictions, the people with more political leverage will be effected, which means the polio problem is for the first time relevant for everyone. This is great news, now more people can push for reforms in Polio vaccination programs.

PM and his ministers should be the first one to produce the vaccination certificate if they want to leave the country,

Harmony May 05, 2014 07:46pm

@GA @MP

Don

farida May 05, 2014 07:53pm

Great 4 percent growth rate billions of dollars in reserve and here we are back to stone age . More travel restrictions to come

Karthik May 05, 2014 07:55pm

Too late decision from WHO. But the real issue is mercenaries traveling to Syria without any visas. Turkey is a gateway to Europe so they should enforce strict checks to avoid further spreading. Last year when India enforced travel restrictions Pakistanis criticised.

Khan May 05, 2014 08:29pm

@Tahir What has this got to do anything with Pakistani muslims? Instead of taking action to eradicate polio, you are suggesting to live with it!

Danish Haider May 05, 2014 09:07pm

Many thanks............ the whole nation is indebted to:

Ziaul Haq, OBL, unknown Saudi, Qatari, Kuwaiti, Iraqi, Emirati donors, Baitullah Mehsud, Hakimullah Mehsud, Mulla Samiul Haq, Mulla Diesel, Munawwar Hassan, JUI-F, JUI-S, JI, Lal Masjid Mullas, Mullas of all neighborhoods and all other so-called religious (incl. banned) outfits finally last but not the least Sharif Bros & Co.

Your contribution in spreading religious hatred is so enormous that NATION has forgot its PRIORITIES related to health and wellbeing of common Pakistani. Keep it up many more to come until we reach to jungle life and stone age.

M. Siddique May 05, 2014 09:14pm

@Tahir , are you one of those backward people who don't mind driving the country into stone age because you don't believe in vaccination? People who refuse to get vaccinated should be separated from the society, meaning there should be separate jails for them.

Kyle Brown May 05, 2014 09:20pm

@Sukkur Saheb No other South Asian country has as much polio. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and fix the problem.

Mohammad Shahid May 05, 2014 09:45pm

It

Subhani May 05, 2014 09:54pm

To Start with, eradicate the Mullahs who had issued the Fatwa against the vaccines. Those Mullahs are responsible for the death of decease affected children and the death of many Polio vaccine workers. Justice for death is the first priority . Peace talks could be pursued after the justice is done. .

Paladin May 05, 2014 10:01pm

Oh no! Travel restrictions.... Whatever are we going to do?!

Alex May 05, 2014 10:03pm

i pray that polio is eradicated soon from pakistan also.

Inqelab Zindabad May 05, 2014 10:05pm

@Tahir Only muslims? Eradicate the polio from you mind first.

fr May 05, 2014 10:30pm

New strain of polio has also been reported in US only few months back. Then?

tower May 05, 2014 10:31pm

@Tahir How come rest of the ummah is polio free?

Mohsin Saeed Khan May 05, 2014 10:45pm

will the president and prime minister also take polio drops and certificates before they go on their next paid holiday abroad (official trip) or they have diplomatc immunity against polio virus

Isadora May 05, 2014 10:49pm

@Tahir I have been reading for a very long time about attacks on polio workers. The last I read about was a women who was dragged from her home, tortured and killed.

Why? She was helping to give polio vaccine to children. Her attackers must have believed their 'teachers' who put the word out that the West is trying to keep Muslims from breeding or some such nonsense as that.

Please don't blame others for what Pakistan brings on itself and, of course the rest of the world. The steps taking place to avoid world a polio epidemic

Rauf May 06, 2014 12:33am

@Tahir Well, Umma needs to stand against the mullahs opposing vaccination. Face the reality

MEDUSA May 06, 2014 01:13am

FACT: Pakistan's majority polio cases have come from Afghanistan due to the USA's WOT when millions of Afghanis had to flee a war torn country w/o adequate health care and where polio vaccines were not implemented.

Now Pakistan is paying the price and it's organizations such as WHO with feeble minded administrators who are playing politics with a country that already has lost much. FYI, one reason why some parents in Sarhad and surrounding areas (which have a high Afghani immigrant population) are resisting the polio vaccine is due to some vaccines which contains material extracted from pigs. This has been documented in several science sources such as UK's Nature magazine.

nocomments May 06, 2014 01:30am

@fr a good reference case for learning: follow the up dates in that new "enterovirus-68" in California, USA. How a developed country fight these challenges: a team work of health department and epidemiology experts. The problem is not the disease or virus, its the intention, planning & priority how we are dealing with it.

Rajesh May 06, 2014 01:31am

Nuclear power eh?

Ijaz May 06, 2014 02:03am

@Tahir Are you mad? How is this discrimination. If we in Pakistan cannot vaccinate our population what right have we to infect the rest of the world? Stop blaming other and put your own house in order

gary May 06, 2014 02:25am

@farida

Bangladesh has more reserves than Pakistan.

gary May 06, 2014 02:28am

@Sukkur Saheb

Not worse than Somalia, but you are in the same category as Somalia.

murad khan May 06, 2014 02:39am

yeah, don't come its contagious :) our virus has developed into something which will affect older people so stay out of this country

shami May 06, 2014 02:58am

What a nonsense and irresponsible decision by WHO? Where do the oversseas Pakistanis get this certificate now.

kepler - 8B May 06, 2014 04:26am

@GA ....Well said

Faisal May 06, 2014 05:10am

I think it's a good Idea I don't have no problem with presenting a medical certificate.we all know why the W H O is saying that because they wanna allow their self back in pakistan because al Qaida no 2 is still at large and they think he is in pakistan. I don't think they really care for Pakistani kids.it hurts me that this disease still exist in my country but let Pakistanis fix this problem

Canuck May 06, 2014 05:56am

@Tahir

Do you know which country in the world has the largest Muslim population ? Its Indonesia. Do you ever hear anything against Indonesia coming from west ?

Get you head examined please. Go do something better. Get your children immunized instead of starting a religion war.

Sayyar Khan May 06, 2014 06:46am

@GA I totally agree with you

silentasthenight May 06, 2014 07:06am

According to the WHO there were around 400 people affected with the virus it kills 1 in 200 cases

Question why is so important to vaccinate the Pakistanis the Syrians the Nigerians and the afghans ????? not only that but hundreds of millions is spent to force populations to take this vaccine !!!!

Agree travel ban on all generals and politicians leaving the countries until safe water is available for all.

Not a vaccine that is controversial to say the least !!!!

http://www.uow.edu.au/~bmartin/dissent/documents/AIDS/

eager beaver May 06, 2014 08:55am

What a shame for us!

Congratulations to all religious political parties, their veritable terrors wings like TTP and banned outfits for gifting the nation the kind of stigma we never thought of! Shame to the group of medical professionals who were responsible for eradicating this crippling disease from the country since many decades. Despite all difficulties posed by religious fanatics, there was some corruption or incapability involved on the part of medical fraternity. Shame to the uneducated parents who refused to vaccinate their kids despite the polio vaccination teams standing on their gate to inoculate their kids.

Our ignorance, our barbarity and our illiteracy has shown us the day that we have now become a medical threat to the international community.

A Dejected Pakistani May 06, 2014 09:13am

@Tahir Muslim Ummah....???? What is Ummah? Does it exist? And if it exists, why should Muslim Ummah help you? You have inflicted all this to yourself. It is your ignorance, illiteracy, and intolerance that have shown you this day. Fools have no right to complain.

Mukesh May 06, 2014 05:04pm

For Pakistani people travelling abroad - first line up for security check, then line up for medical check - please arrive at the airport 5 hours prior to the flight departure.

Truth May 06, 2014 06:36pm

@Tahir people like you, which are in majority in Pakistan, have caused its downfall. Taking everything personal, relating it to religion and blaming others for your failure instead of admitting your own mistakes have put Pakistan on a downfall track. Unless Pakistanis come out of this self made complexities it's not going to get better in any case. And first thing they should do is start telling truth and accept own failures.

JK May 06, 2014 09:04pm

Why not pass legislation that refusing or obstructing vaccination is child abuse punishable by fine and jail term for parents. Oh I forgot they will pass a resolution and every thing will be alright.

Dr khan May 07, 2014 01:57am

Now use this atom bomb for eradication of poliovirus carriers. Shame on you mullahs, politicians. Because of you people we are facing this day. We deserve this. Pathetic umrah.still few think that its discrimination against innocent UMMAH.

illawarrior May 07, 2014 10:48am

@Tahir The polio virus does not care about the religion of its victims

Adnan May 07, 2014 04:41pm

Assalam Alaikum:

One question: western countries are the pioneer of modern world medical science and are forcing this vaccination in Pakistan..GOOD...but why one cannnot see this "humanitarian love" when NATO Forces are bombarding thousands of muslim kids in Iraq, Afghanistan etc....people in this forum who are supporting this vaccination should also answer the killings of thousands of innocent muslim kids by western forces attacks , as compared to few / very few number of deaths for this polio virus ?....anyone please?.

Shakil May 07, 2014 10:14pm

oral polio vaccine (OPV) and injectable (IPV) have different mechanisms of action. OPV induces intestinal immunity whereas IPV blood immunity. but the downside of OPV is that it causes polio in one out of 750000 cases. so a country like ours with a population of 180 million mounting a massive campaign of OPV immunization is bound to get dozens of new polio cases. it may thus never be declared polio free. the travel restrictions imposed on us may be considered an additional international ploy to depress human activity and progress for our people. our highly endemic areas should be administered IPV instead of OPV, that may really let us off the hook soon.

Junaid Khan May 08, 2014 01:13am

What a garbage dump this place is.

GT May 08, 2014 01:36pm

To eradicate polio we need to take five steps:

1) All mobile phone and multinational companies etc should buy TV time and place ads telling people about polio and its effects and sufferings. If you constantly show pictures of children suffering from polio, the message will sink in the minds of those who are too stupid and too stubborn to save their own kids. 2)Each MNA and MPA should be held responsible for every case reported in his area. Cancel his seat and ban him from politics forever. 3)Involve cricketers and other stars like Shahid Afridi, Waseem Akram, Saeed Ajmal and any other sports, TV and movie star who can volunteer time and effort for this cause. They can be sponsored by big companies for this cause. 4) Billboards should be erected with pictures not words in slum areas showing misery of polio. 5) If these steps are taken, then make centres and let people come with the kids so that shooting of lady workers is avoided.

Spread this message to each and every corner of Pakistan: "Polio virus can lead to paralysis and death of your child. It can be prevented through immunization, but there is no cure if you don't give polio drops to your children."

May Allah protect this country from all evils (Ameen)

AHA May 08, 2014 09:08pm

@Tahir But the Ummah never opposed the murdering of polio workers.