Pak asks WHO for 15-day grace period on polio restrictions

Pakistan today asked the WHO to assist it in the procurement of polio vaccine and allow a 15-day "grace period" before international travel restrictions are enforced on the country`s travelers.

Islamabad: Pakistan today asked the WHO to assist it in the procurement of polio vaccine and allow a 15-day "grace period" before international travel restrictions are enforced on the country`s travelers.

Representatives of the federal and provincial governments held an emergency meeting with the country director of the World Health Organisation to discuss the impact of the travel advisory.

WHO Country Director Dr Nima Saeed Abid told the meeting that the restrictions came into effect on the day of the announcement on May 5 but promised in response to a request to urge WHO headquarters in Geneva for a 15-day relaxation, Dawn News reported.

"Dr Nima assured the meeting he would do all that he could to secure the 15-day relaxation," the paper said.

According to the WHO, the poliovirus is being exported from Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria.

The WHO declared it mandatory for people from these countries to receive polio vaccine before being allowed to go abroad.

Pakistan government has already announced to set up polio counters at all international airports and other exit points.
Following the meeting, a WHO official told Dawn that his team would press Geneva to grant the Pakistan government`s request for a 15-day grace period.
"This request will hopefully be approved, with certain conditions. For example, one of the conditions may be that the head of state must declare a national public health emergency and establish immunisation counters as soon as possible," the source said.