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IATA for systematic COVID-19 testing to replace quarantine

IATA for systematic COVID-19 
testing to replace quarantine

Tribune News Network
Doha
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Tuesday called for the development and deployment of rapid, accurate, affordable, easy-to-operate, scalable and systematic COVID-19 testing for all passengers before departure as an alternative to quarantine measures in order to re-establish global air connectivity.
IATA will work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and with health authorities to implement this solution quickly.
International travel is 92 percent down on 2019 levels. Over half a year has passed since global connectivity was destroyed as countries closed their borders to fight COVID-19. Some governments have cautiously re-opened borders since then, but there has been limited uptake because either quarantine measures make travel impractical or the frequent changes in COVID-19 measures make planning impossible.
“The key to restoring the freedom of mobility across borders is systematic COVID-19 testing of all travelers before departure. This will give governments the confidence to open their borders without complicated risk models that see constant changes in the rules imposed on travel. Testing all passengers will give people back their freedom to travel with confidence. And that will put millions of people back to work,” said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
The economic cost of the breakdown in global connectivity makes investing in a border-opening testing solution a priority for governments. The human suffering and global economic pain of the crisis will be prolonged if the aviation industry on which at least 65.5 million jobs depend collapses before the pandemic ends.
And the amount of government support needed to avert such a collapse is rising. Already lost revenues are expected to exceed $400 billion and the industry was set to post a record net loss of over $80 billion in 2020 under a more optimistic rebound scenario than has actually unfolded.
“Safety is aviation’s top priority. We are the safest form of transport because we work together as an industry with governments to implement global standards. With the economic cost associated with border closures rising daily and a second-wave of infections taking hold, the aviation industry must call on this expertise to unite with governments and medical testing providers to find a rapid, accurate, affordable, easy-to-operate, and scalable testing solution that will enable the world to safely re-connect and recover,” said Juniac.
De Juniac said rapid and affordable antigen tests that can be administered by non-medical staff are expected to become available in “coming weeks” and should be rolled out under globally agreed standards.
“We don’t see any alternative solution that would be less challenging or more effective.”
With rapid antigen tests becoming available for as little as $7 each, airlines will push for their use to be endorsed by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN agency that oversees global aviation rules, he said and urged governments to bear testing costs.

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