Thursday, June 25, 2020

IATA asks governments not to quarantine flyers, suggests alternatives

New Delhi: The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic, has urged governments to avoid quarantine measures when re-opening their economies. IATA is promoting a layered approach of measures to reduce the risk of countries importing COVID-19 via air travel and to mitigate the possibility of transmission in cases where people may travel while unknowingly being infected as alternatives to quarantine.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA DG & CEO, said: “Imposing quarantine measures on arriving travellers keeps countries in isolation and the travel and tourism sector in lockdown. Fortunately, there are policy alternatives that can reduce the risk of importing COVID-19 infections while still allowing for the resumption of travel and tourism that are vital to jumpstarting national economies. We are proposing a framework with layers of protection to keep sick people from traveling and to mitigate the risk of transmission should a traveler discover they were infected after arrival.”

IATA has proposed a layering of bio-safety measures in two areas:

* Reducing the risk of imported cases via travellers: “Discouraging symptomatic passengers from traveling… encourage passengers to ‘do the right thing’ and stay home if they are unwell or potentially exposed. Airlines are offering travellers flexibility in adjusting their bookings…. support health screening by governments in the form of standardised contactless electronic health declarations,” IATA said in a statement.
It has proposed COVID-19 testing for travellers from countries perceived to be “higher-risk”. “When accepting travellers from countries where the rate of new infections is significantly higher, the arrival authority could consider COVID-19 testing. It is recommended that tests are undertaken prior to arrival at the departure airport (so as not to add to airport congestion and avoid the potential for contagion in the travel process) with documentation to prove a negative result,” it says.
24/06/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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