Covid, the protest of the airline sector: test recommendation on travelers from China has no scientific basis

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(Finance) – The recommendation jointly agreed yesterday by EU member states requiring a negative Covid-19 test for passengers traveling between China and the EU was not liked by the airlines represented by A4E (Airlines for Europe) e IATA (International Air Transport Association), together with the airports represented by ACI EUROPE (Airports Council International) who presented their perplexities in a joint note.

“This recommendation – reads the note – is in contrast with the assessment published by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on 3 January 20231, confirming that the current surge of COVID-19 cases in China is not expected to impact the epidemiological situation in the EU/EEA. This is because the Covid-19 variants circulating in China are already present in the EU/EEA, as is the increased immunity acquired by the EU population. Therefore, systematically testing travelers arriving from China cannot be considered a science-based and risk-based measure.”

A4E, ACI EUROPE and IATA have therefore asked to avoid testing i passengers as a way to monitor Covid-19 by instead proposing to follow up on the recommendation to test sewage from airports and planes arriving from China. “This must however be done with a detailed examination of the technical and operational aspects before any decision is made regarding the use of waters waste in airports and in the aircraft – they specify –. When requested, airports and airlines will do everything possible to facilitate such sampling, provided that it must be carried out by the relevant health authorities, as airport and airline staff are not qualified to do so.”

“Although it is regrettable that the recommendations agreed yesterday largely constitute one reaction instinctive – continues the note -, it is now essential that they are implemented by EU Member States in a completely uniform way, in full compliance with the addendums to the protocol of health security of theaviation of the EU to be published in the next few days by EASA and ECDC. These addendums will provide detailed guidance regarding passenger testing and wastewater testing.”

“A4E, ACI EUROPE and IATA look forward to further engaging with the EU on reassessing these recommendations by mid-January 2023. We urge EU Member States and China to work together and reconsider their recommendations as soon as possible. requirements for a systematic pre-departure test on travelers based on a assessment risk-based scientific criteria“, they conclude.