WHO: global outbreak of diseases

The World Health Organization has announced measures to fight the global spread of infectious diseases such as &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/18/87/346/9935_SARS.html ' target=_blank>Sars and bird flu.

Countries will be obliged to apply stricter controls at ports and borders in the event of an outbreak.

Nations must also alert the WHO when a disease strikes, and respond to the agency's questions.

The new rules will be backed by international law, but do not specify penalties for non-compliance.

The regulations will also empower the WHO to restrict worldwide travel and commerce to and from affected areas, tells BBC News. The regulations, adopted by the U.N. agency's 192 member states after two years of negotiations, oblige countries to tighten up disease detection, and lay down guidelines for international measures to be taken.

In future, the WHO must be quickly informed of any outbreak of four diseases -- two new threats identified in Asia, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and bird flu, and two traditional virulent viruses, &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/12/14/40806.html ' target=_blank>smallpox and polio.

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