Governments must base their decisions on ‘science facts’ rather than ‘science politics’, says Willie Walsh
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reacted to the introduction of restrictions on travellers from China by countries including the US, Italy, Japan, Taiwan and India, which have announced plans for either pre-departure or on-arrival testing for travellers from China.
IATA director general Willie Walsh said: “Several countries are introducing Covid-19 testing and other measures for travellers from China, even though the virus is already circulating widely within their borders. It is extremely disappointing to see this knee-jerk reinstatement of measures that have proven ineffective over the last three years."
Walsh pointed to research that suggested putting barriers in the way of travel made no difference to the peak spread of Omicron variant infections, and merely delayed the peak by a few days.
Walsh added: “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’.”
Walsh also urged the Chinese government to lift the requirement for pre-departure Covid-19 tests for those travelling to China.
From 8 January 2023, visitors travelling to China will no longer be required to quarantine when they arrive – but they will have to provide proof of a negative PCR test result taken 48 hours before departure.
For more information, visit www.iata.org