In their first media briefing of 2021 the International Air Transport Association (IATA) , the trade association for the world’s airlines, called for an end to quarantine procedures to control transmission from travellers.
Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA, echoed calls from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to end the use of quarantine for travellers.
He raised concerns that governments have continued to tighten border controls as a “knee-jerk” response to recent virus mutations. He highlighted that a number of countries, including Canada, UK, Germany, Japan had added testing to their Covid-19 measures without removing quarantine requirements.
“In other words, they have chosen policy measures that will shut down travel.”
“This approach tells us that these governments are not interested in managing a balanced approach to the risks of COVID-19. They appear to be aiming for a zero-COVID world. This is an impossible task that comes with severe consequences—the full extent of which it would be impossible to calculate.”Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA
Juniac called for a more balanced approach based on testing as a replacement for quarantines, rather than an addition. If measures were not made quickly the travel and tourism economy will not recover, more jobs will be lost and the mental health of people affected by the lockdown would continue to suffer, especially for those who are separated from loved ones.
He insisted that science tells us that travellers will not be a significant factor in community transmission as long as testing, not quarantine, is used effectively. However as governments continue to battle the virus they seem to have “tunnel-vision on quarantine” rather than finding ways to safely re-open borders which in turn will help to revive the world’s economies and alleviate mental health issues.
“Aviation is an important engine of our world and will play a critical role in lifting the world to recovery from COVID-19. Let us ensure it receives the support it needs to keep the world’s nations connected and united.”Antonio Guterres. UN Secretary General
Juniac confirmed that the first pilot of the IATA Travel Pass app had been launched in partnership with Singapore Airlines on routes to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta and that a full rollout was still planned for the first quarter of 2021.
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