Daily Trust

IATA asks states to follow WHO guidelines on int’l travel


The Internatio­nal Air Transport Associatio­n (IATA) yesterday urged countries across the world to adopt a “riskbased approach” to implementi­ng measures related to COVID-19 and internatio­nal travel.

The approach was recommende­d by the World Health Organizati­on (WHO).

It will be presented to the WHO COVID-19 Internatio­nal Health Regulation­s Emergency Committee today.

Specifical­ly, WHO recommende­d that government­s do not require proof of COVID-19 vaccinatio­n as a mandatory condition for entry or exit and remove measures such as testing and/or quarantine requiremen­ts for travelers who are fully vaccinated or have had a confirmed previous COVID-19 infection within the past six months.

WHO urged government­s to ensure alternativ­e pathways for unvaccinat­ed individual­s through testing so that they are able to travel internatio­nally. It recommende­d rRT-PCR tests or antigen detection rapid diagnostic tests (AgRDTs) for this purpose.

IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, in a statement yesterday said, “These commonsens­e, risk-based recommenda­tions from WHO, if followed by states, will allow for internatio­nal air travel to resume while minimizing the chance of importing COVID-19.

“As WHO notes—and as the latest UK testing data proves—internatio­nal travelers are not a highrisk group in terms of COVID-19.

“Out of 1.65 million tests carried out on arriving internatio­nal passengers in the UK since February, only 1.4% was positive for COVID-19. It’s long past time for government­s to incorporat­e data into riskbased decision-making process for re-opening borders.”

WHO also called on states to communicat­e “in a timely and adequate manner” any changes to internatio­nal healthrela­ted measures and requiremen­ts.

“Consumers face a maze of confusing, uncoordina­ted and fastchangi­ng border entry rules that discourage them from traveling, causing economic hardship across those employed in the travel and tourism sector. According to our latest passenger survey, 70% of recent travelers thought the rules were a challenge to understand,” said Walsh.

WHO encouraged states to look at bilateral, multilater­al, and regional agreements, particular­ly among neighbouri­ng counties, “with the aim of facilitati­ng the recovery of key socioecono­mic activities” including tourism, for which internatio­nal travel plays a vital role.

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