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Travel bans ineffective in containing COVID-19 spread: WHO

WHO urges countries to lift or ease COVID-19 travel restrictions, suggests adopting measures such as masking, testing, isolation, and vaccination instead.

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Travel bans ineffective in containing COVID-19 spread: WHO
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Virginia: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised countries to lift or ease international travel bans, terming them ineffective in controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

A statement issued by the WHO said that the Emergency Committee, convened by the WHO director-general, held its tenth meeting on coronavirus diseases this week.

During the meeting, the Committee expressed concern about countries implementing blanket travel bans, which, the WHO stressed, were not effective in suppressing the spread “as was clearly demonstrated by the Omicron experience”.

Furthermore, travel bans would discourage the transparent and rapid reporting of new variants by countries, it said.

“Lift or ease international traffic bans,” the WHO urged countries, advising them to adopt travel measures such as masking, testing, isolation/quarantine, and vaccination, based on risk assessments and avoid placing the financial burden on international travelers instead.

“They [travel restrictions] do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress experienced by States Parties.”

The WHO also advised the countries against seeking vaccination proofs at the time of travel, citing limited global access and inequitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines as basis.

Moreover, the Emergency Committee praised South Africa for rapidly identifying and sharing information regarding the Omicron variant of the virus.

According to WHO data, global coronavirus infections have surpassed 337 million, while 5.57 million deaths have so far been reported worldwide.

 

Pakistan

PM Shehbaz Sharif felicitates COAS on conferment of King Abdulaziz Medal

"it was a great honour for the people and the armed forces of Pakistan"

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PM Shehbaz Sharif felicitates COAS on conferment of King Abdulaziz Medal

Islamabad: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday extended felicitation to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on conferment of ‘King Abdulaziz Medal of Excellence’ in recognition for his contributions to strengthening of defence ties between the brotherly countries of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

On his Twitter handle, the prime minister said that it was a great honour for the people and the armed forces of Pakistan.

The prime minister said that they considered KSA’s security as their own and resolved to further cementing of multifaceted bilateral ties between the two countries.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, has conferred upon Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the King Abdulaziz Medal of Excellence, for making significant contributions in defence cooperation between the two countries.

Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a press release on Sunday said that during an official visit to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the COAS called on Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Chief of General Staff (CGS) Saudi Armed Forces General Fayyadh Bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili at Jeddah.

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Pakistan

President calls for stronger commitment to address challenge of drug abuse

"The day was celebrated across the globe to prevent drug abuse and raise awareness about the alarming threats it poses to society, especially the youth."

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President calls for stronger commitment to address challenge of drug abuse

Islamabad: President Dr Arif Alvi said the government must strengthen its commitment to address the challenges stemming from drug abuse and illicit trafficking and protect youth from the threat of illicit drugs.

The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed annually on June 26 to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of illicit drugs.

In a message on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, he said the day was celebrated across the globe to prevent drug abuse and raise awareness about the alarming threats it poses to society, especially the youth.

The World Drug Report 2021, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), indicated that deaths attributed to drug-related disorders had almost doubled over the past decade. The youth, which makes up nearly 60% of Pakistan’s total population, remained especially vulnerable to drug abuse, he said adding students and parents must be sensitized through workshops and seminars with the help of the media, civil society, and educational institutions.

“To this end, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) can play an important role and it has been directed to implement a strict policy to counter drug abuse in higher educational institutions.”

He said, “Today, we also celebrate the tremendous efforts Pakistan has made in collaboration with international organizations to address drug-related challenges.”

International cooperation had helped limit the proliferation of new psychoactive substances used by younger generations, he added.

He commended the Ministry of Narcotics Control for the measures it had taken to combat the trafficking of illicit drugs in our society and mitigate the detrimental impacts of drug abuse. Pakistan had also achieved the status of a poppy-free state which was a reflection of the proactive approach taken by the Ministry of Narcotics Control/Anti-Narcotics Force, he mentioned.

“Only with cooperation and collective commitment will we achieve our vision of a world free of this menace. We are committed to making Pakistan a model country, in the region and beyond, in this fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking,” he concluded.

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Business

PIA resumes Lahore-Kuala Lumpur flight operation

"The PIA was already operating two weekly flights from Islamabad to Kuala Lumpur."

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PIA resumes Lahore-Kuala Lumpur flight operation

Islamabad: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Sunday resumed Lahore-Kuala Lumpur flight operation after providing the same facility in Islamabad as the coronavirus restrictions eased.

“After Islamabad, the PIA has now resumed flights from Lahore to Malaysia. The first flight left Lahore for Kuala Lumpur this morning,” PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan said in a news release.

On this occasion, a simple cake-cut ceremony was held at the Lahore Airport and bouquets were presented to the passengers.

The PIA, the spokesman said, was already operating two weekly flights from Islamabad to Kuala Lumpur.

He said the national flag carrier was gradually increasing the number of its domestic and international flights on special instructions of Minister for Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique.

Meanwhile, the Aviation Minister said the PIA was increasing the number of flights to different tourist destinations aimed at facilitating passengers during summer vacations.

“Now, the PIA is providing direct access to tourist destinations at home and abroad from Lahore,” Saad Rafique said.

He said flights from Lahore to Gilgit and Skardu were also being operated and “now flights to Baku and Kuala Lumpur have also been arranged.”

The minister said the purpose of these flights was to provide direct and comfortable travel facilities to the people through their national airlines.

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