United States and Australia have closed their borders to arrivals from China as a means to control the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
Both countries said their actions would prevent the entry of foreign visitors who have recently been to China, the source of the virus.
They have joined other countries: Russia, Japan, Pakistan and Italy, who have recently announced similar travel restrictions.
However, World Health Organization officials have frowned at this action and strictly advised against such measures.
The head of World Health Organization said, “Travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies.”
He however recommended introducing screening at official border crossing, stating that closing borders would accelerate the spread of the virus as a result of travelers entering countries unofficially.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman has also criticized the United States’ announcement on closure of borders.
In her words, Hua Chunying said, “Just as the WHO recommended against travel restrictions, the US rushed in the opposite direction… It is certainly not a gesture of goodwill.”
The death toll from the virus has reached 259 while almost 12,000 cases have been confirmed with about 100 cases found outside of China.