‘Quarantine destroys livelihoods’, warns IATA

Published: 21 September 2020 - 8:45 a.m.
By: Josh Corder
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) to implement testing as an alternative to quarantine measures.

The association added that quarantine measures put livelihoods at risk and hinder a country’s economic reopening.

Since August, the number of MEA countries with government-mandated quarantine measures has increased by seven to 35. IATA warns this effectively keeps a country in lockdown even if they claim their borders have reopened.

According to IATA’s research, 88 percent of travellers would not even consider travelling if quarantine measures were in place at their destination.

“Mandatory quarantine measures stop people from travelling. We understand that governments’ priority is on protecting the well–being of their citizens. Quarantine destroys livelihoods. Testing is an alternative method that will also save travel and tourism jobs,” said IATA regional VP for MEA Muhammad Albakri.

Testing, meanwhile, is a better solution in the eyes of the traveller. IATA’s survey found that 72 percent of UAE residents agreed they should not need to quarantine if they provide a negative COVID-19 test.

And 80 percent of those surveyed felt the COVID-19 pandemic is sufficiently under control in the country for borders to reopen fully.

Prior to the pandemic, the aviation sector provided more than 6.2 million jobs and US$56 billion in GDP in Africa and 2.4 million jobs and $130 billion in GDP in the Middle East.

It’s estimated the colossal effect of COVID-19 on air traffic could equate to 3.5 million job losses and a $35 billion drop in GDP for Africa, and 1.5 million jobs lost and an $85 billion drop for the Middle East.

“Testing provides a safe alternative to quarantine and a solution to stop the economic and social devastation being caused by COIVID-19,” said Albakri.

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