|IATA Welcomes WHO Emergency Committee Risk Management Recommendations|
|The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 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 COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, IATA highlighted the following recommendations for states:
“If implemented, these recommendations will help governments manage the risks of COVID-19, keep their citizens safe and protect millions of livelihoods that are at risk. The goal is to safely return to more normal lives, including the freedom to travel, while managing the risks of COVID-19 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,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Standards for Digital Documentation
The Emergency Committee also recommended that, “WHO produce interim guidance and tools related to standardization of paper and digital documentation of COVID-19 travel-related risk reduction measures (vaccination status, SARS-COV-2 testing and COVID-19 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,” concluded Walsh.