IATA Terms COVID Restrictions On China A Knee-Jerk Reinstatement Of Measures

IATA chief Willie Walsh in a statement on Wednesday said that "Governments must base their decisions on 'science facts' rather than science politics"

Global airlines grouping International Air Transport Association (IATA) has termed the COVID restrictions on China a 'knee-jerk' reinstatement of measures, which have proven "ineffective" in the last three years. 
IATA chief Willie Walsh in a statement on Wednesday said that "Governments must base their decisions on 'science facts' rather than science politics".
Several countries are introducing COVID-19 testing and other measures for travellers from China, even though the virus is already circulating widely within their borders, according to IATA. 
"It is extremely disappointing to see this knee-jerk reinstatement of measures that have proven ineffective over the last three years," Walsh, who is the Director General of IATA, said. 
Several countries, including India, have announced fresh testing and other requirements for travellers arriving from China amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
A negative COVID report is a must for passengers transiting through China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand, irrespective of their originating countries, before landing at any Indian airport.
Besides, a negative COVID report from the RT-PCR test is a must for passengers arriving in India from these five countries.
The test must be conducted within 72 hours of undertaking the journey to India and the negative report from the RT-PCR test has to be uploaded on the Air Suvidha portal before their departure.
Also, airports have been mandated to carry out random testing of 2 per cent of arriving passengers on each international flight.
According to the IATA chief, "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," he added. 
Walsh said that is why the governments should listen to the advice of experts, including the WHO, that advise against travel restrictions. 
IATA represents some 300 airlines, comprising as much as 83 per cent of the total global air traffic. 
"We have the tools to manage COVID-19 without resorting to ineffective measures that cut off international connectivity, damage economies and destroy jobs," Walsh said in the statement.

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