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IATA Says Border Restrictions Hamper Recovery

Recommend Simplification, Sundown of 2020 Measures

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released a statement calling for an end to the byzantine patchwork of international COVID-19 restrictions, saying the lack of sundown provisions have led to ineffective restrictions doing little to hamper the spread of disease while doing damage to the economic recovery.  "Travel restrictions bought governments time to respond in the early days of the pandemic. 

Nearly two years later, that rationale no longer exists. 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,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

In their statement, they released a framework for government personnel to implement in their plans to re-open borders internationally.  They recommend governments provide testing, Antigen tests, and vaccines to their populations to eliminate any financial barriers to travel.  They provide a sample of their risk analysis survey to illustrate the difficulties of travel between inconsistent, confusing frameworks for viral prevention between states.  "There is far too much complexity in the way borders are re-opening.  The potential for a global re-connect could be hijacked by bureaucracies favoring stand-alone "made-at-home" solutions over approaches that work across borders, continued Walsh.  

Key points illustrate the lack of consistency in entry restrictions, quarantine requirements,  and departure restrictions. They found only seven states with no entry restrictions or quarantine requirements upon arrival. The rest of the 50 surveyed has varying rules, with often little crossover even in basic principles like definitions or efficacy durations.  Some states only acknowledge a few of the available vaccines, or only one type of test, or limit the duration they count a vaccination as effective. 

Some even differ in their definition of what minors require their vaccinations to fly. 

“The situation is a mess. It’s stalling recovery. Complete harmonization is unlikely. But some simple best practices that travelers can comprehend should be achievable,” said Walsh.

FMI: www.iata.org


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