Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, commented: “Data can and should drive policies on restarting global travel that manage Covid-19 risks to protect populations, revive livelihoods and boost economies. We call on the G7 governments meeting later this month to agree on the use of data to safely plan and co-ordinate the return of the freedom to travel, which is so important to people, livelihoods and businesses.”
Evidence continues to show that vaccination protects travellers from serious illness and death, and carries a low risk of introducing the virus into destination countries:
- The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) concluded that vaccinated travellers are no longer significant in the spread of the disease and do not pose a major risk to the German population.
- The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) issued interim guidance on the benefits of full vaccination stating that ‘the likelihood of an infected vaccinated person transmitting the disease is currently assessed to be very low to low’.
- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) stated that ‘with a 90-per-cent effective vaccine, pre-travel testing, post-travel testing, and seven-day self-quarantine provide minimal additional benefit’.
- The Canadian Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel recommends that vaccinated travellers do not need to be quarantined.
- A Public Health England study has concluded that two doses of the Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective against Covid-19 variants of concern.
Vast majority of travellers pose no risk
However, there’s a potential for barriers to travel for unvaccinated people, which would create an unacceptable exclusion. Data from the UK’s National Health Service regarding international travellers arriving in the UK (with no reference to vaccination status) shows that the vast majority of travellers pose no risk for the introduction of Covid-19 cases after arrival.
“Many governments continue to require universal quarantine – either hotel-managed or self-managed,” said Walsh. “This impedes the freedom of movement, discourages international travel and destroys employment in the travel and tourism sector. Data from the UK tells us that we can and must do better. Almost 98 per cent of those detained because of universal quarantine measures tested negative for the virus.”