IATA slams return of Covid-19 travel measures on China fears
International airline lobby IATA, has lashed out at the “knee-jerk reinstatement of measures that have proven ineffective over the last three years,” as several countries imposed COVID-19 testing and other control measures for travellers from China.
Director General Willie Walsh says this is disappointing given the fact that the COVID-19 virus “is already circulating widely within their borders.”
China abandoned its Zero-Covid policy mid-December, opening the floodgates of pent-up demand for outbound travel. But destination countries have reacted with alarm, throwing barriers in the way of travelers from China. Walsh says experience has amply demonstrated that such measures have little to no benefit in terms of deterring or retarding infections.
“Research undertaken around the arrival of the Omicron variant concluded that putting barriers in the way of travel made no difference to the peak spread of infections. At most, restrictions delayed that peak by a few days. If a new variant emerges in any part of the world, the same situation would be expected.
“That’s why governments should listen to the advice of experts, including the WHO, that advise against travel restrictions. We have the tools to manage COVID-19 without resorting to ineffective measures that cut off international connectivity, damage economies and destroy jobs. Governments must base their decisions on ‘science facts’ rather than ‘science politics’,” he added.