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‘Countries should allow freer travels by scientists, doctors, businesspeople’
  • By Kwak Sung-sun
  • Published 2020.05.19 18:17
  • Updated 2020.05.19 18:17
  • comments 0

Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung-hoo said the world should allow “essential personnel,” including scientists, physicians and businesspeople, to travel more freely within the extent of not hurting efforts to contain Covid-19.

Minister of Health and Welfare Neung-hoo speaks at the online conference of the 73rd World Health Assembly on Monday.

Park made the call during his keynote speech at the online conference of the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) held on Monday and Tuesday.

The assembly had been scheduled to take place in Geneva, Switzerland, but the global spread of Covid-19 changed it to a videophone meeting. The event consisted only of speeches by heads of states and health ministers of member countries, followed by the election of the new WHO Executive Board.

Park said each nation needs to actively cooperate with the international community, in addition to diversified and innovative efforts of individual countries, to restore daily life and the economy in a changing environment amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the pandemic, the world needs to maintain an essential and sustainable social system, Park said. “The international community must seek ways to allow the transnational movements of essential personnel, such as scientists, doctors, and businesspeople, as long as they do not impede the infection control measures,” he noted.

Park proposed all member countries share Covid-19 information transparently and quickly. He said Korea has shared various countermeasures, patient characteristics, and analysis information with the world transparently, and vowed to continue to do so.

He also encouraged the world to actively engage in the development and distribution of Covid-19 treatment and vaccines.

“We will have to gather our policy efforts to ensure that the results of the development of vaccine and treatment, led by the WHO, lead to the supply of sufficient amounts of vaccines and treatments to everyone at reasonable prices,” Park added.

The World Health Assembly opened with speeches of the leaders of six countries, including President Moon Jae-in, Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Moon shared Korea’s excellent efforts to fight the virus and achievements and emphasized that the Korean people’s coalition and cooperation based on the “spirit of freedom” has led the country to win the battle against Covid-19.

He called for the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to countries suffering from poor public health, collaborate for development and fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccine and treatment, and revise the WHO’s international health regulations (IHR).


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