IATA slams ‘ineffective’ Covid19 testing of arrivals from China

GENEVA, 5 Jan 2023:

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) yesterday criticised Covid19 testing requirements imposed by several countries on inbound travellers from China.

IATA chief Willie Walsh described the new restrictions put in place by several nations – after Beijing lifted its zero-Covid policy last month – as “ineffective” and that tools to manage the pandemic already exist.

“It is extremely disappointing to see this knee-jerk reinstatement of measures that have proven ineffective over the last three years.”

Recalling the situation when omicron broke out a year ago, Walsh said such measures proved they could – at most – delay the spread of new variants of the virus by a few days.

He added that instead these measures “cut off international connectivity, damage economies and destroy jobs.”

“Governments must base their decisions on ‘science facts’ rather than ‘science politics’,” he continued.

In the past week, countries like the US, Spain, Italy, India, Japan and UK have imposed Covid19 restrictions on arrivals from China.

According to the association’s website, IATA represents some 290 airlines, handling 83% of the world’s air traffic.

On Tuesday, the Dutch KLM airline rolled out precautionary measures for staff working on flights from China, including the use of FFP2 masks and separate bathrooms, after employees and trade unions voiced concerns last week, a company spokeswoman said.