The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments to adopt new WHO travel guidelines in a recent statement.
COVID-19, a novel coronavirus illness, has spread across the globe at an unprecedented rate, reaching over 200 nations and territories in less than three months. As a result, several governments have refused admission to travellers from countries that have been infected. Several businesses continue to suffer economic losses because of the measures, although it is unclear if the varied travel restrictions have helped lower COVID-19 importations. WHO has tried to publish new travel rules or change existing ones to determine which would be most helpful to the people and economy. A new WHO advice suggests a “risk-based strategy” for adopting Covid-19 and foreign travel restrictions.
WHO’s risk-based strategy includes the following recommendations for countries in particular:
- Governments should not make confirmation of Covid-19 immunization a requirement for entrance or departure.
- If a traveller has been completely vaccinated or has been infected with Covid-19 within the past six months and is no longer contagious, governments can reduce testing and quarantine restrictions.
- “On a risk-based basis,” the governments should adopt testing and/or quarantine measures for overseas travellers, and regulations on testing and quarantine should be routinely reviewed to ensure they are lifted when no longer necessary.
- Through testing, governments must provide non-vaccinated persons with alternate paths to travel overseas. For this reason, the WHO recommends rRT-PCR tests, or antigen detection rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDTs), followed by confirmation rRT-PCR testing on positive samples.
As long as governments follow the WHO’s common sense and risk-based guidelines, international air travel can resume while Covid-19 risks are minimized. Global travellers are not at high risk for Covid-19, as noted by the WHO and confirmed by the latest UK testing results.
Since February, there were only 1,41% positive results for Covid-19 out of the 1.65 million tests conducted on incoming overseas travellers in the UK. The number of positive cases found in the general population, on the other hand, is roughly three times higher. Compared to the current levels of illness in the United Kingdom, data from the government reveals that overseas travellers offer little to no danger of bringing the virus back.
For Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association, it’s high time for governments to incorporate data into risk-based decision-making processes for reopening borders. WHO also urged governments to disclose any changes to international health-related standards and criteria in a timely and sufficient way. Confusion and disorganized border entry procedures deter consumers from travelling and cause economic uncertainty for individuals working in the travel and tourism industry.
According to Walsh, the regulations, according to our most recent passenger study, were difficult to grasp for 70 per cent of recent travellers. In addition, WHO urged nations to consider bilateral, multilateral, and regional agreements, particularly among neighbouring countries, to facilitate the recovery of critical socio-economic activities, including tourism, where international travel plays a significant role.
Once again, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has underlined how important it is to support the 46 million travel and tourist employment that depends on the air travel industry.