The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments to end the frequently changing COVID-19 travel restrictions, as these measures are hindering air transport’s recovery.

The Association has criticised the lack of agreement of countries recognising all vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation, testing requirements and the lack of commitment to recognise the recovery certificate equally to vaccination, and pointed out that pre-departure test requirements are too confusing and sometimes discouraging for travellers, reports.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director, highlighted that the travel restrictions were introduced as a measure early in the pandemic, and it isn’t rational to keep them in place for such a long period.

“COVID-19 is present in all parts of the world. Travel restrictions are a complex and confusing web of rules with very little consistency among them. And there is little evidence to support ongoing border restrictions and the economic havoc they create,” Walsh said.

Vaccinated Travellers Should Be Exempted from Entry Rules

IATA proposes that vaccines should be made available to all countries as soon as possible. Moreover, the Association urged governments to end travel requirements for fully vaccinated travellers. It also noted that testing should be made available to those who don’t have access to vaccines and allow those individuals to travel without being subject to self-isolation.

Antigen tests should also be the main testing option since those are considered as cost-effective and convenient for travelling, as IATA revealed. But, on the other hand, the Association also called on governments to start covering testing costs, so the requirement won’t become an economic barrier to travel.

The Association also believes that testing results for UK arriving passengers prove that travellers don’t represent an epidemiological risk to the local population.

According to IATA, 42,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 out of three million passengers reaching the UK airports between February and August, fewer positive cases than 250 per day.

However, as the governments started vaccinating their populations, countries have opened to vaccinated travellers. The first one to open was the European Union, then Canada, the UK and the US.

50 Countries Show Lack of Agreement on Testing Requirements

IATA also believes that the way borders are being reopened is very complex, and the bureaucracy formalities delay the global re-connection. According to a survey conducted in 50 countries, 38 out of them or 76 per cent, had some travel restrictions put, and only seven permitted restriction-free entry.

Moreover, these 38 countries aren’t consistent on their entry restrictions, as 20 of them intend to relax entry restrictions for vaccinated travellers, but only six of them confirmed they exempt minors, whose age definition to make them eligible for free of entry requirements hadn’t been determined yet.

“Thirty-three states exempt minors from testing, but with no consistency on the age and, in some cases, differing rules if the minor is accompanied by a vaccinated adult,” IATA noted.

Also, nine countries do not recognise vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation. In addition, there are five different definitions found among countries’ guidelines on what vaccines are considered effective.

Moreover, there is no agreement on how long a vaccinated traveller should wait after his/her final dose.

“Only four states (Germany, France, Switzerland, and Austria) recognise immunity resulting from previous COVID-19 infection as equivalent to vaccination,” IATA noted, also saying there is no agreement on what is needed to prove the holder has recovered from the virus.

As per pre-departure tests, 46 countries out of 50 require one from travellers before entering those countries, and 24 countries only accept PCR testing, which is more expensive. About 16 recognise antigen tests, but those tests have to be backed up with a PCR option if the antigen test is positive.

Twenty states exempt recovered travellers from testing requirements, but there is a lack of consistency in proving the previous infection.

Walsh said the situation is a mess, recovery stalls, and harmonisation is unlikely to happen. IATA also spoke out about the digitalisation of the vaccination certificate, applauding Europe for its EUDCC initiative, advising the governments to follow their example.

Source Link


Brasov-Romania News To Your Inbox!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.