Coronavirus (872) WHO: Public health considerations while resuming international travel

31 July, 2020

Public health considerations while resuming international travel

30 July 2020 COVID-19 Travel Advice


Many countries have halted some or all international travel since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but now have plans to re-open travel. This document outlines key considerations for national health authorities when considering or implementing the gradual return to international travel operations.

The decision-making process should be multisectoral and ensure coordination of the measures implemented by national and international transport authorities and other relevant sectors and be aligned with the overall national strategies for adjusting public health and social measures.

The gradual lifting of travel measures (or temporary restrictions) should be based on a thorough risk assessment, taking into account country context, the local epidemiology and transmission patterns, the national health and social measures to control the outbreak, and the capacities of health systems in both departure and destination countries, including at points of entry. Any subsequent measure must be proportionate to public health risks and should be adjusted based on a risk assessment, conducted regularly and systematically as the COVID-19 situation evolves and communicated regularly to the public.


The objective of this document is to provide governments, health authorities of WHO Member States and relevant stakeholders with elements to consider in adjusting international travel measures to the changing epidemiological situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, national public health and health service capacity available in countries and evolving understanding of the virus. This document should be read in conjunction with other relevant WHO guidance, particularly WHO COVID-19 Strategy update 14 April 2020[1], Considerations for adjusting public health and social measures[2], the Scientific Brief on transmission of SARS-CoV-2, 09 July 2020[3] and the WHO Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) [4]


Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: