WHO warns travelers on coronavirus: Keep an eye ‘If it’s anywhere, it’s everywhere’

The World Health Organization on Tuesday urged travelers to wear masks on planes and keep themselves informed as COVID-19 cases surge again in some countries, prompting new restrictions in places like Australia.

Spokeswoman Margaret Harris urged people not to be caught off-guard by resurgent local epidemics and quarantine measures, saying: “If it’s anywhere, it’s everywhere and people travelling have to understand that.”

“This virus is widespread and people have to take that very, very seriously.”

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The WHO said last month that it would update its travel guidelines ahead of the northern hemisphere summer holidays but they have not yet been released.

A traveller wearing a protective face mask wheels his bags at Riyadh International Airport, after Saudi Arabia reopened domestic flights in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 31, 2020. (Reuters)

A traveller wearing a protective face mask wheels his bags at Riyadh International Airport, after Saudi Arabia reopened domestic flights in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 31, 2020. (Reuters)

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In the meantime, travelers should “remember things will change, or may well change,” Harris said at a Geneva briefing.

“We’re seeing a lot of upticks, a lot of changes in different countries, countries that had successfully shut down their first transmission are seeing second upticks,” she added, mentioning Australia and Hong Kong.

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Lockdown measures were re-imposed in Australia’s second biggest city on Tuesday, confining Melbourne residents to their homes unless undertaking essential business, as officials scramble to contain a coronavirus outbreak.

The WHO’s previous guidance for travelers has included common-sense advice applicable to other settings such as social distancing, washing your hands and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Harris also proposed on Tuesday wearing a mask on planes, a measure which is already a requirement of many airlines.

“If you are flying, there is no way you can social distance in a plane, so you will need to take other precautions including using a face covering,” she said.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 07 July 2020 KSA 19:16 - GMT 16:16
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