|IATA Calls on States to Follow WHO Guidance on Cross-Border Travel|
|The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on states to follow new guidance on travel from the World Health Organization (WHO). The guidance recommends a “risk-based approach” to implementing measures related to COVID-19 and international travel. It will be presented to the WHO COVID-19 International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Thursday 15 July.
Specifically, WHO recommended that governments:
“These commonsense, risk-based recommendations from WHO, if followed by states, will allow for international air travel to resume while minimizing the chance of importing COVID-19. As WHO notes—and as the latest UK testing data proves—international travelers are not a high-risk group in terms of COVID-19. Out of 1.65 million tests carried out on arriving international passengers in the UK since February, only 1.4% were positive for COVID-19. It’s long past time for governments to incorporate data into risk-based decision-making process for re-opening borders,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
WHO also called on states to communicate “in a timely and adequate manner” any changes to international health-related measures and requirements. “Consumers face a maze of confusing, uncoordinated and fast-changing border entry rules that discourage them from traveling, causing economic hardship across those employed in the travel and tourism sector. According to our latest passenger survey, 70% of recent travelers thought the rules were a challenge to understand,” said Walsh.
Additionally, WHO encouraged states to look at bilateral, multilateral, and regional agreements, particularly among neighboring counties, “with the aim of facilitating the recovery of key socioeconomic activities” including tourism, for which international travel plays a vital role.
“The pandemic has put more than 46 million jobs, normally supported by aviation, at risk. By incorporating these latest WHO recommendations into their border opening strategies, states can begin to reverse the economic damage of the past 18 months and put the world on the road to recovery,“ said Walsh.
The communication is of particular importance for African countries, Uganda and other East African countries included, which have instituted a mind boggling regime of requirements which serve as a deterrent for a rise in visitor numbers while at the same time lamenting that tourism revenues and visitor arrival numbers have dropped bottomless.