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Pakistan under Quarantine

by Newsweek Pakistan
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Farooq Naeem—AFP

Farooq Naeem—AFP

Rawalpindi

On May 5, the U.N.’s World Health Organization declared the “extraordinary” spread of polio this year so far as a “public health emergency of international concern” and recommended temporary measures for 10 states at risk during the high-transmission season of May through June. Since 60 percent of polio cases this year spread from international travel by adults, it wants polio-exporting nations—Pakistan, Cameroon, Syria—to arm citizens traveling abroad with proof that they have been immunized. The agency has advised these measures be reassessed in three months and stay in place for up to a year. Leaping into action the following day, the Punjab government said all children coming into the province would be immunized, by force if necessary. Similar facilities are being planned for around the country. Pakistan’s former president Asif Ali Zardari has urged WHO to reconsider its edict. “The imposition of a travel ban will only increase Pakistan’s isolation and not advance the global fight against polio,” he said.

From our May 10-24, 2014, issue.

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IFTIKHAR QURAESHI May 14, 2014 - 11:32 am

Poliovirus vaccination is given to small children under 6 years old – in Pakistan there is no documentation of who has been vaccinated and who has not. The campaign must get data about the parents who do not allow their kids to be vaccinated and these adults ought to be punished. In any case no campaign will work 100% until the Law and Order situation and the Religious fanatics are brought under control. A massive hard hitting awareness campaign showing graphic and horrifying effects of polio must continue on TV and print media for 365 days of the year for the next two or three years to bear results. In the meantime ban all Pakistan residents from traveling for the next 36 months – this includes politicians, civil servants etc – so that they will take necessary corrective measures.

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