Friday, May 21, 2021

IATA Applauds Countries Opening Their Borders for Vaccinated Travellers

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has applauded the growing number of countries that have decided to reopen their borders for vaccinated travellers.

The latest figures gathered by IATA reveal that more than 20 countries have partially or entirely lifted their entry restrictions for those vaccinated against COVID-19, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“IATA supports unrestricted access to travel for vaccinated travellers. In cases where vaccination is not possible, access to quarantine-free travel should be provided through COVID-19 testing strategies based on widely available, free-of-charge tests,” the statement of IATA notes.

Germany is among the most recent countries to abolish quarantine restrictions for vaccinated travellers and those who have recovered from the Coronavirus. The country has also removed quarantine restrictions for travellers that provide a negative COVID-19 test result.

The decision of the German authorities followed a scientific advice review from Robert Koch Institute, which concluded that vaccinated travellers are no longer major components in the spread of the virus and do not present a substantial risk to the German population. More precisely, the review stated that the vaccination reduces the risk of Coronavirus transmission to levels below the risk of a false negative rapid antigen test.

According to IATA, similar conclusions to those from Germany are also being reached in the United States as well. The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) has indicated that minimal additional benefit is provided with a 90 per cent effective vaccine, pre and post-travel testing, and a seven-day quarantine.

As stated by the US CDC, relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions is a stimulus for vaccination, especially in communities where people are hesitant to undergo the process.

“A safe opening of borders to international travel is the goal. And scientific evidence and data such as that presented by RKI, ECDC and USC CDC should be the basis for the decision-making needed to achieve that. There is increasing scientific evidence that vaccination is not only protecting people but also dramatically reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said.

The leaders of the EU Commission have agreed that except for the citizens of EU/Schengen Area, the borders should also open for vaccinated citizens of third countries as well.

Moreover, IATA notes that countries’ decisions to allow entry for vaccinated travellers without being subject to the restrictions add pressure to create a digital solution that would manage COVID-19 vaccination certificates and test results.

A recent poll by IATA showed strong support regarding a digital solution for the certificates. Of the respondents, 89 per cent supported the establishment of a globally standardised Coronavirus test and vaccination certificate, whereas 84 per cent of them wish for an app through which their travel health credentials can be measured.

Earlier this week, Austria also decided to relax most of its COVID-19 measures and allow entry for arrivals from the EU and Schengen Area.

Similarly, the Latvian authorities announced that all persons who have been vaccinated against the virus would be able to skip quarantine when entering the country.



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