14 mar 2022 8:44 am
At least in intra-European air traffic, all corona measures should be lifted before the summer, according to IATA and ACI Europa. Corona is on the way to becoming a seasonal flu and studies have shown that travel restrictions are of no benefit.
IATA, an international aviation umbrella organization to which around 290 airlines belong, and the European representation of ACI, which represents around 500 European airports, have issued a joint statement calling for the lifting of all corona restrictions on air traffic within Europe. This refers to test requirements and vaccination certificates, but also to the mask requirement.
“As European countries open up and lift restrictions, it is only logical to lift corresponding restrictions in air travel as well.”
It is also said that the omicron variant has ensured that the risk of hospitalization or death has decreased significantly. States would now adopt surveillance strategies to safeguard public health as they do for other infectious diseases.
The statement also cites recent research that found that travel restrictions, even if imposed immediately after a new variant was discovered, could delay the peak in infection numbers by no more than four days. Before such a new variant would be identified and restrictions put in place, the variant would have spread around the world. With this small benefit, the social and economic damage caused by restrictions in air traffic would outweigh this.
“The immunity of the European population is strong – and COVID-19 is now essentially an endemic disease. It is time for the response to COVID to focus on surveillance and lifting the remaining restrictions within the EU,” said Rafael Schvartzman , the Vice President of the IATA Europe Region.
In the light of the new research and increasing signs that COVID-19 is approaching a seasonal flu, the two associations called on transport ministers, particularly from EU countries, to lift all health-related restrictions such as testing, contact tracing and vaccination certificates before the summer season, at least for flights in the EU; adapt the mask requirement to what is national practice and grant all passengers vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine entering the EU from third countries the same conditions as those vaccinated with an EMA-approved vaccine.
more on the subject – “Unconstitutional and inappropriate”: Scientists warn members of the Bundestag against compulsory vaccination