ADDIS ABABA – The International Airlines Travel Association (IATA), a trade union of the world’s airlines, has criticized countries imposing Covid-19 measures on travelers coming from China.
The US, UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan are among the nations that have introduced mandatory testing for arrivals from China. The US has defended its testing requirements, saying that the decision is based “solely and exclusively on science”.
IATA Director General Willie Walsh has slammed the move to reinstate the travel restrictions, calling it “knee-jerking.”
Director General Willie, who fears the latest covid rules negative impact on the aviation industry, says,
“It is extremely disappointing to see this knee-jerk reinstatement of measures that have proven ineffective over the last three years.
“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’.”
China has been easing its strict covid restrictions by scrapping mass testing and lifting curbs on domestic travel. The move has repeatedly led to an increase in caseload.
Beijing will also resume issuing visas for citizens traveling abroad as of January 8. China’s population spent $288bn on international travel in 2018, nearly one-quarter of the global spending on tourism.