Airlines and airports push UN to swap quarantine for testing

Airports Council International (ACI) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) are asking the UN-led inter-agency task force to recommend countries accept negative COVID-19 tests instead of quarantining people coming from high-risk countries.

Institutions’ proposal, obtained by Reuters, was presented to the task force and is going to be reviewed during its monthly meeting on August 18, 2020. 

“A test prior to departure could reduce the risk of importation by up to 90%, enabling air travel to be opened up between a large number of countries without a quarantine requirement,” the proposal states. It recommends to accept negative PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) test results issued no earlier than 48 hours before the flight in cases of traveling from a country with high COVID-19 infection rate.

The procedure could speed up international travel, which was greatly slowed down by lockdowns and quarantine protocols, resulting in what was called the worst crisis in the history of the aviation industry. IATA said it is expecting traffic volume to recover no earlier than 2024.

A number of countries are already requiring negative COVID-19 tests either from all incoming passengers or just those arriving from a select number of regions. Others are requiring visitors to remain quarantined for a varying number of days.


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