The travel restriction Cabinet intends to implement on anyone coming into the country from China is in contravention of one of the seven recommendations put forth by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as it declared the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern late Thursday evening.
Speaking at the post-cabinet media briefing just moments before the WHO virtual press conference began, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said with immediate effect – once necessary legal provisions are put in place -“persons who are presently living in China or visiting China, regardless of nationality, will not be allowed entry into Trinidad and Tobago for 14 days after leaving China.”
However, during the press conference, the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusa advised against any such action.
“WHO does not recommend limiting trade and movement.”
“If anyone is thinking about taking measures, it’s going to be wrong and WHO does not recommend and actually opposes any restriction for travel and trade or other measures against China,” he continued.
Professor Didier Houssin further elaborated saying it considers “visa refusal, border closure, quarantine of travellers who are in good condition” as travel restrictions. He added “these restrictions under the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern would provide to the WHO the possibility to question such measures.”
The press conference was held following a three-hour-long reconvening of the Emergency Committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) in Geneva