Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Countries shouldn’t wait for majority to be vaccinated, need to open borders now: IATA Director General

Countries across the world should not wait for the majority of people to be vaccinated against coronavirus and need to open their borders by implementing systematic pre-departure testing, IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said on Monday.

“Our own surveys show that the vast majority of travellers treat quarantine as they would a complete border closure. They just won’t travel,” he said in a pre-recorded video message at the IATA Global Media Days event.

That is why, the International Air Transport Association  (IATA) is calling for systematic pre-departure COVID-19 testing instead of open borders with quarantine, he added.

Global air traffic has reduced drastically in 2020 due to coronavirus-triggered travel restrictions. The IATA represents around 290 airlines across the world comprising 82 per cent of global air traffic.

The IATA DG said he wanted to emphasise on how critical it is to open borders now and the reason why good news on vaccine progress “should not distract from activating testing fast”.

“We have plans in place to support vaccine distribution. It will probably be the biggest airlift in history. But we literally cannot afford to wait for the majority to receive the vaccine before we reopen our borders. We must start reopening now without delay,” he asserted.

According to IATA’s assessment, COVID-19 vaccine won’t be widely available till the second half of 2021.

23/11/20 PTI/Financial Express

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