IATA calls on countries to follow WHO guidance to implement measures related to COVID-19 and international travel

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Wednesday asked countries to follow the World Health Organization’s new travel guidelines. The guide recommends a “risk-based approach” to implementing measures related to COVID-19 and international travel.

Specifically, the World Health Organization has recommended governments to:

  • Do not require proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a mandatory entry or exit requirement
  • Relax measures such as testing and/or quarantine requirements for travelers who have been fully vaccinated or who have previously had a confirmed COVID-19 infection in the past six months and are no longer contagious.
  • Ensure alternate routes for non-vaccinated people through testing so that they can travel internationally. The World Health Organization recommends rRT-PCR tests, or rapid antigen detection diagnostic tests (Ag-RDT) followed by confirmatory rRT-PCR tests for positive samples, for this purpose.
  • Implement ‘risk-based’ testing and/or quarantine measures for international travelers with regular review of testing and quarantine policies to ensure they are lifted when they are no longer needed.

The WHO’s risk-based and rationale recommendations, if followed by countries, would allow the resumption of international air travel while reducing the possibility of COVID-19 import. As the World Health Organization notes, and as the latest UK testing data shows, international travelers are not a high-risk group in relation to COVID-19. Of the 1.65 million tests done on international passengers who have arrived in the UK since February, only 1.4% have tested positive for COVID-19. “It is time for governments to integrate data into risk-based decision-making to reopen borders,” said Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association.

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Press release from the International Air Transport Association

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