The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has criticised plans to require travellers to have received a Covid-19 vaccination to allow them to travel.
In December we discussed the reasons why the vaccine may not be the holy grail for the reopening of borders, simply the primary aim of a vaccine is to stop illness, not stopping people getting the infection. Therefore a vaccine alone will not stop the spread of the virus and illness will still occur in people who have not received the vaccine.
Talk of requiring travellers to have the vaccine will therefore only reduce their chances of being ill during their journey but would not prevent them from passing the virus to others.
Singapore has been reported at looking at relaxing restrictions for vaccinated travellers and Qantas has been reported at looking at requiring all travellers to have received a vaccine.
“WTTC wholeheartedly supports the testing on departure of all travellers to ensure passengers can prove they are COVID-19 free and thus avoid the spread.”
“It will take a significant amount of time to vaccinate the global population, particularly those in less advanced countries, or in different age groups, therefore we should not discriminate against those who wish to travel but have not been vaccinated.”
“The common sense approach is to allow the free movement of people who can prove a negative test result, rather than reserve travelling or jobs for a small minority who have been vaccinated.”
“WTTC has long been calling for an internationally recognised rapid and cost-effective testing regime at departure points worldwide. This would avoid exporting the virus and aid the restoration of international travel.”Gloria Guevara. WTTC President and CEO
Widespread global vaccination is likely to be the long-term answer to the pandemic. However in the short to medium term many countries will find it hard to access sufficient quantities of vaccines. A number of countries in Southeast Asia have yet to put a timescale on widespread vaccination and others have said that it will take until early 2022.
Most countries that are allowing travel are imposing compulsory quarantine periods, generally of 10 to 14 days on arrival.
This is very unpopular with the vast majority of travellers who may only be able to travel for short periods of time that may be completely taken up by quarantine.
A number of countries have tried to open up their tourism sector by looking at longer term travellers who may be more willing to quarantine to allow them to travel freely later in their trip. Thailand has tried a number of schemes to attract tourists but still only small numbers are entering the country.
WTTC have joined many other voices in the travel and tourism industry in saying that quarantine is not the answer and that pre-travel testing will enable safe travel.
Most countries allowing tourists already require pre-travel testing for Covid-19 but that is then followed by post-arrival testing and quarantine. WTTC believe that this is overkill.
“WTTC supports measures designed to curb COVID-19 and protect public health but calls for the complete removal of unnecessary quarantines.”
“Requiring inbound travellers and holidaymakers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test should ensure safe travel. This will be critical to encourage essential bookings for future flights and holidays.”
“WTTC has long called for an internationally recognised rapid and cost-effective testing regime upon departure at airports worldwide. This would avoid exporting the virus, especially by departing outbound passengers, and aid the restoration of international travel.”Gloria Guevara. WTTC President and CEO
The availability of tests varies globally, as does the cost, and there is also debate over which tests should be accepted.
A number of airports around the world have installed testing facilities, including London Heathrow and Singapore Changi. The number of countries who are happy to accept these tests alone however is still small.
IATA have been working on their virtual “COVID Passport” the IATA Travel Pass, which is hoped will help travellers to prove negative tests, vaccinations received as well as being a contactless travel pass.
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