The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday said countries should gradually lift international travel measures based on a thorough risk assessment and must prioritise essential travel for emergencies.

The WHO recommends that priority should be given to essential travel for emergencies, humanitarian actions, travel of essential personnel, and repatriation, it said in a statement.

A surge of new infections around the world has forced many countries to reimpose some travel restrictions in recent days.

The WHO has now urged each country to conduct a risk-benefit analysis of its own and decide on its priorities, before resuming international travel.

Earlier this week, the WHO said that bans on international travel cannot stay in place indefinitely, and countries are going to have to do more to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus within their borders.

It said last month that it would update its travel guidelines ahead of the northern hemisphere summer holidays.

Earlier in July, the organization urged travellers to wear masks on planes and keep themselves informed as COVID-19 cases surge again in some countries.

The WHO’s previous guidance for travellers has included common-sense advice applicable to other settings such as social distancing, washing your hands and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth.