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WHO says countries should keep borders open, trade & people moving despite coronavirus

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GENEVA, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Borders should be kept open and people and trade flowing in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, although countries have a sovereign right to take measures to try to protect their citizens, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

The WHO, which declared the accelerating outbreak a global emergency on Thursday, voiced fresh concern that the virus could spread undetected in a country with a weak health system.

There is a "huge reason to keep official border crossings open" to avoid people entering irregularly and going unchecked for symptoms, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a Geneva briefing. "If travel restrictions would be imposed we hope they are as short-lived as possible to try to continue the normal flow of life," he added. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Hugh Lawson)