EASA – the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s recently released guidelines for COVID-19 testing and quarantine of passengers are advising EU member states how to reduce any risks presented by the movement of people during this pandemic. This is a great move that encourages and supports a truly coordinated approach to travel recovery. Although it’s directed at EU decision-makers, government officials, and public health authorities, the guidelines are also meant to inform civil aviation authorities and industry players. In a nutshell, the document gives a lot of insight and recommendations on different strategies to enable health authorities to evaluate their unique scenarios and make the right decisions on the best measures to adopt to ensure the containment of the virus at their borders.
Compiled by experts from EASA and ECDC – the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – the guidelines challenge parties to consider that imported cases account for a very small proportion of all detected cases and are unlikely to significantly increase the rate of transmission and visitors should not be considered high-risk unless they had been in contact with a confirmed positive case. It also recommends that travelers should fall subject to the same regulations applied to the local population and EU member states should always admit their own nationals and EU residents into their territory, as well as facilitate swift transits where necessary. It recommends against the quarantine or systematic testing of air travelers.
I recently wrote about the fragmented political nature of Asia complicating a unified approach to COVID regulations in the region. A continent of more than 4 billion people with no common economic area and no standardization of regulations created a situation where conflicting operational requirements regarding immigration and crew restrictions made travel extremely challenging. I called for the creation of some sort of blueprint that would enable the borders to be kept open during a similar situation. It would be great if these EASA guidelines were modified and adopted internationally or similar guidelines were created with the global audience in mind. Well done to EASA for the effort it’s making to support the industry and get everyone on the same page to enable quicker and sounder recovery while protecting everyone’s health.
Read the guidelines yourself by downloading here.
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