Mandatory quarantine measures stop people from traveling. Recent public opinion research revealed that 83% of travelers would not even consider traveling if quarantine measures were imposed on travelers at their destination. And analysis of trends during the lockdown period shows that countries imposing quarantine saw arrivals decrease by more than 90%—an outcome that is similar to countries that banned foreign arrivals.
“Quarantine is a lop-sided solution that protects one and absolutely fails at the other. We need government leadership to deliver a balanced protection,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
IATA encourages a layering of biosafety measures in two areas: reducing the risk of imported cases via travelers and mitigating risk in cases where an infected person does travel.
The former includes discouraging symptomatic passengers from traveling and public health risk mitigation measures.
To reduce the risk of transmission during the air travel journey, IATA encourages the universal implementation of the Takeoff guidelines published by ICAO. Take-Off is a temporary risk-based and multi-layered approach to mitigate the risks of transmitting COVID-19 during air travel. This approach includes mask wearing throughout the travel process, sanitization, health declarations and social distancing where possible.
“Safely restarting the economy is a priority,” said de Juniac. “That includes travel and tourism. Quarantine measures may play a role in keeping people safe, but they will also keep many unemployed. The alternative is to reduce risks through a series of measures. Airlines are already offering flexibility so there is no incentive for sick or at-risk people to travel. Health declarations, screening and testing by governments will add extra layers of protection. And if someone travels while infected, we can reduce the risk of transmission with protocols to prevent the spread during travel or when at destination. And effective contact tracing can isolate those most at risk without major disruptions.”