The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the spread of polio must still be classified as a public health emergency because, while progress has been made towards wiping out the disease, that progress is fragile.

Latest WHO figures show there have been 27 cases of wild polio so far in 2018 – all of them in Pakistan and Afghanistan where the contagious viral disease is endemic.

“We are so close to the elimination of polio, but we have to use all of our international tools to achieve this end,” Helen Rees, chair of the WHO’s international emergency committee, told reporters on a telephone briefing.