Keeping borders closed to stop virus is unsustainable, WHO says

Closing borders to halt the spread of COVID-19 is unsustainable, the World Health Organization said on Monday, urging countries to adopt comprehensive strategies based on local knowledge of where the virus is spreading.

"Continuing to keep international borders sealed is not necessarily a sustainable strategy for the world's economy, for the world's poor, or for anybody else," Michael Ryan, WHO emergencies director, told journalists in a virtual briefing in Geneva.

Border closures and travel restrictions remain an important part of many countries' strategy to combat the novel coronavirus. At the same time, rising cases in a range of countries in Europe and elsewhere that had loosened measures after appearing to get their outbreaks under control have spurred discussions of possible fresh border closures.

But the UN health body warned that such measures cannot be kept up indefinitely, and are also only useful when combined with a wide range of other measures to detect and break chains of transmission.

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