IATA Urges Countries to Rescind Travel Bans

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged the governments to rescind travel bans that have been imposed due to the Coronavirus’ Omicron variant.

Since the Omicron variant started to spread in other countries widely, governments have reimposed their preventive measures, such as travel bans and other restrictions, to halt the virus’s further spread. However, such measures are being criticized by many organizations and authorities, reports.

Recently, the World Health Organization has called on the governments to find alternative ways in their fight against the Coronavirus and its new strains, instead of imposing bans and other restrictions.

“Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data,” the statement published by the World Health Organization reads.

In addition, WHO stressed that all countries should ensure that the measures are updated, taking into account the epidemiological situation in other territories.

IATA urged world governments to follow WHO’s call and rescind travel bans.

“After nearly two years with Coronavius, we know a lot about the virus and the inability of travel restrictions to control its spread. But the discovery of the Omicron variant induced instant amnesia on governments which implemented knee-jerk restrictions in complete contravention of advice from the WHO,” IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, pointed out in this regard.

The association has also called on the governments to reconsider all the measures imposed to stop the further spread of the virus. IATA has stressed that it is unacceptable that rushed decisions have caused fear and uncertainty among travellers.

Since the Omicron variant started, governments have started to tighten controls that mainly affect unvaccinated persons and persons traveling from high-risk areas.

Based on the recent report of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), nearly 337 infection cases with the Omicron variant have been registered in a total of 21 European Union and European Economic Area countries.

From a total of 21 EU/EEA countries, Denmark registered the highest rate of Omicron infection cases. Denmark’s authorities confirmed 83 cases of Omicron infection, followed by Portugal 37 cases, the Netherlands 36 cases, France 32 cases, and Norway 29 cases.

According to ECDC figures, other countries that have identified cases of Omicron infection are

Austria (15), Belgium (14), Croatia (3), Czechia (2), Estonia (6), Finland (9), Germany (15), Greece (3), Iceland (12), as well as Italy (11), Latvia (2), Romania (2), Liechtenstein (1), Ireland (1), Sweden (13), and Spain (11).

ECDC previously stressed that it is likely that in the coming weeks, the effectiveness of travel-related measures will mark a significant decline, and territories should prepare for a rapid and measured de-escalation of these measures.

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