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Monday, March 27, 2023

IATA: Countries must immediately rescind travel bans

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According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), countries must follow WHO guidelines and lift all travel restrictions imposed as a result of the Omicron variant discovered in late November 2021.

New travel restrictions, according to the WHO, will not prevent the international spread of COVID-19 and will “impose a significant burden on lives and livelihoods.”

Only when new research “becomes available on the epidemiological and clinical aspects of Omicron,” according to the WHO, should travel precautions be reviewed and updated.

Willie Walsh, the director of IATA, believes that governments have overreacted to the Omicron variety and that countries will find a way to mitigate the harm and get back on track.

“Even when there is lots of data pointing in that direction, getting governments to contemplate examining, let alone eliminating, a policy, once it is put in place, is quite difficult,” Walsh added.

He did add, though, that the Omicron issue would have no bearing on IATA’s forecast that air travel would return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024.

“With the European CDC already signaling that a de-escalation of measures will likely be needed in the coming weeks, governments must urgently put actions behind the commitments that they made at ICAO,” said Walsh.

Following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variation in South Africa, countries around Asia and Europe hurried to tighten border procedures for people traveling from the region.

The unexpected discovery coincided with the start of the winter holiday season in Europe and North America, a lucrative period for airlines all over the world.

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