IATA Urges States to Comply with WHO Recommendations on International Travel

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(22 Apr 2021)
IATA has urged states to comply with recommendations
on international travel from the World Health Organization’s
International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee on
testing and risk management during the COVID19 pandemic.

In
particular, IATA highlighted the following recommendations:

– “Do not require proof of vaccination as a
condition of entry.”

IATA believes that the freedom to travel across
borders should not be limited to those who are able to be
vaccinated. It does, however, support governments opening borders
to those who have been vaccinated and that testing should also
play a key role where vaccination is not possible.
Together—testing and vaccination—are key measures for states to
safely reopen their borders and restore freedom of movement while
managing the public health risks of COVID19.

– “Implement coordinated, time-limited,
risk-based, and evidence-based approaches for health measures in
relation to international traffic.”


Arrivals sign at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) near Bangkok, Thailand. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

IATA strongly supports risk-based measures to
safely manage international travel. Most scientists believe that
COVID19 will become endemic and that society will need to learn
to live with the virus. The air transport industry manages
multiple risks—technical, natural, geopolitical, etc.—to maintain
safe operations.

In line with this recommendation, IATA continues
to call on governments to work with the industry to establish
plans to safely reconnect their people and economies via air
transport based on clear benchmarks for reopening and
testing/vaccination protocols to manage risks.

– “Reduce the financial burden on international
travelers for the measures such as testing, isolation/quarantine,
and vaccination, in accordance with Article 40 of the
International Health Regulations.”

IATA firmly believes that government-mandated
public health measures to manage the risks of COVID19 should not
be a financial barrier to travel. States agreed that the cost of
mandatory measures such as testing should be borne by the
government in Article 40 of the International Health Regulations.
This should not be forgotten in a pandemic. With the cost of PCR
testing at US$100 at the low-end and the requirement for multiple
tests for a single journey, this could easily make flying
unaffordable for individuals and families – reversing decades of
progress to make the freedom to travel more accessible. The same
applies to quarantine measures where mandated by governments.

– “Prioritize vaccination for seafarers and air
crews.”

IATA strongly supports the recommendation to
prioritize air crew for vaccination. It will protect crew and
underpin efficient operations. This is critically important during
the crisis for global supply chains transporting vaccines,
medicines and medical equipment required to combat the virus.

“If implemented, these recommendations will help
governments manage the risks of COVID19, keep their citizens safe
and protect millions of livelihoods that are at risk,” said Willie
Walsh, IATA’s Director General. “The goal is
to safely return to more normal lives, including the freedom to
travel, while managing the risks of COVID19 which are likely to be
with us for some time. Airlines are experts at risk management. It
underpins safe and reliable daily operations. Governments should
tap into the airline industry’s capabilities to help them
implement efficient measures for testing and vaccination that can
supersede the blunt instrument of quarantine. That could safely
move us towards a more normal world with the freedom to travel and
the opportunity to earn a living in the sector.”

The Emergency Committee also recommended that,
“WHO produce interim guidance and tools related to standardization
of paper and digital documentation of COVID19 travel-related risk
reduction measures (vaccination status, SARS-COV-2 testing and
COVID19 recovery status) in the context of international travel.”

IATA fully supports this recommendation. Secure
global standards for travel health credentials are critical to
avoid fraud and facilitate efficient passenger processing when
travel scales up. Industry is ready with the

IATA Travel Pass
to manage testing and vaccination
documentation for travel. Governments are also producing similar
apps of their own. But without global standards, these efforts
will remain disjointed and never reach their full potential.

“Agreement on a digital standard for testing and
vaccination documentation is a critical next step. Without
globally recognized standards to prove that someone has been
vaccinated or tested, the potential for frustrated travelers,
fraudulent actors and overwhelmed border authorities is very real.
Work needs to be accelerated or the eventual restart will be
defeated by mountains of paper,” said Walsh.

Editor’s note:
As the above video interview was conducted over the internet, I
would like to apologise that the audio and visual quality are not
up to the same HD/UHD quality that it normally would be. Hopefully it won’t be too
long until we are once again conducting exclusive video interviews
in person, but for now we have to make do with what we have. Thank
you.

See also:

Future of Airline Distribution and NDC – Interview with Yanik
Hoyles, IATA (November 2019)
.

See latest

Travel Industry News
,
Video
Interviews
,
Podcasts
and other
news regarding:

COVID19
,

IATA
,

WHO
.


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