Avoid unnecessary interference with international travel and trade – International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for Ebola

It was the unanimous view of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee that the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to constitute a public health emergency of international concern. The Committee reviewed the temporary recommendations previously issued and stated that all previous temporary recommendations should remain in effect.

The fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee regarding the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, convened by the WHO Director-General under the IHR 2005, was conducted with members and advisers of the Committee on Tuesday, 20 January 2015.

Exit screening

The Committee strongly reiterated the previous temporary recommendation on exit screening and highlighted the value of exit screening in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Exit screening remains critical for minimizing the risk of exportation of Ebola cases.

Recommendations for all countries

The Committee reaffirmed the need to avoid unnecessary interference with international travel and trade, as specified in Article 2 of the IHR 2005. The Committee noted that more than 40 countries have implemented additional measures, such as quarantine of returning travellers and refusal of entry. Such measures are impeding the recruitment and return of international responders. They also have a harmful effect on local populations by increasing stigma and isolation and by disrupting livelihoods and economies.