By a teleconferenced meeting with her Emergency (International Epidemic) Committee, the W.H.O. Director General just lifted the travel and trade restrictions that were put in place about 18 months ago — to arrest the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic.
This is quite good news — for the economies of all three West Africa countries affected by the previous public health-related restrictions. Here is a bit, from the WHO press release of this afternoon, local US time:
. . . .The Committee provided its view that Ebola transmission in West Africa no longer constitutes an extraordinary event, that the risk of international spread is now low, and that countries currently have the capacity to respond rapidly to new virus emergences. Accordingly, in the Committee’s view the Ebola situation in West Africa no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and the Temporary Recommendations adopted in response should now be terminated. The Committee emphasized that there should be no restrictions on travel and trade with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and that any such measures should be lifted immediately. . . .
The Committee further emphasized the crucial need for continued international donor and technical support to prevent, detect and respond rapidly to any new Ebola outbreak in West Africa. International support is required in particular to maintain and, where needed, expand diagnostic laboratory and surveillance capacity, sustain vaccination capacity for outbreak response, and continue relevant research and development activities (e.g. on therapeutic options to clear persistent virus excretion). The Committee gave special attention to the need to ensure that sufficient and appropriate clinical care, testing capacity and welfare services are available to all survivors of this extraordinary health crisis.
Based on the advice of the Emergency Committee, and her own assessment of the situation, the Director-General terminated the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) regarding the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa. . . .
This is a quite important first step toward re-normalizing economic conditions — trade and tourism, especially — in, and with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. So — we close on a special day, with a bit of good news; yet still we wait for an “all clear” in Guinea, once again. Onward, on a “first day’s” sort — of day’s end. . . smile. . .