ACI Europe and IATA have called for the lifting of all remaining coronavirus-related restrictions on travel within the EU and the Schengen area.
New research from OXERA/Edge Health proves that none of the travel restrictions have been able to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Moreover, bans are ineffective in combating future options.
Airports Council International – ACI Europe and the International Air Transport Association – IATA have called for the lifting of all remaining coronavirus-related restrictions applied to travel within the EU and the Schengen area. Today, they include testing requirements, the need to confirm vaccination, filling out the Passenger Location Form (PLF), wearing masks in countries where they have become optional in all other situations.
COVID-19, specifically the Omicron variant, is now common across Europe . At the same time, the immunity of the population is at such a level that the risk of hospitalization and complications has dropped sharply, especially for the vaccinated. Therefore, more and more countries are beginning to treat the coronavirus the same way they treat other viruses and infectious diseases.
Many European states have lifted domestic COVID-19 restrictions, such as the requirement to provide medical certificates to enter events or the requirement to wear masks in public places. Contact tracing is also being discontinued, making it redundant for international travel as well. As European countries open up and lift restrictions, it only makes sense to lift similar restrictions on air travel.
IATA and ACI Europe provided additional evidence to support the alignment of air transport regulations with domestic regulations. A new OXERA/Edge Health study shows that even imposing travel restrictions immediately when a new variant is discovered would only delay the peak of infections by up to four days. In fact, by the time a new variant is discovered, restrictions are invented and introduced, the virus is already circulating around the world.
Well, if you introduce restrictions a week later, the peak incidence per 100,000 people will slow down by a maximum of two day. Thus, these modest health benefits are outweighed by the significant social and economic damage caused by the negative impact on air travel.
“March 11 marks exactly two years since the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. During this time, we have received a lot of evidence that border restrictions are ineffective. Independent research and simulations released today show that governments can lift restrictions with confidence, both today and for any future options of concern. Travel restrictions have proven to be a blunt tool with little to no effect on virus transmission. The lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions will finally fully restore freedom of movement. This is a necessary boost for the entire travel and tourism sector, which has been forced to lose hundreds of thousands of jobs during the pandemic,” said Olivier Jankovec, CEO of ACI Europe.
The severity of COVID-19 is getting closer to that of seasonal flu, which is why ACI Europe and IATA jointly sent letters to the Ministers of Transport and Health in all EU Member States requesting:
– lift all health-related travel and border restrictions ahead of the summer season, at least , on flights within the Eurozone, in particular testing, contact tracing, vaccination certificates, mask mode;
– allow persons vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine to enter the EU from third countries on the same conditions as a vaccinated product approved by Europe.