Return to travel restrictions ‘scientifically unjustified’ says ACI Europe
As States need to remain vigilant to the status and control of the virus, the focus should rather be on increasing genomic sequencing to be able to identify possible new COVID-19 variants and related surveillance.
ACI EUROPE has expressed regret regarding the actions of a number of States within the EU and globally for unilaterally imposing health-related travel requirements including systematic pre-departure or on-arrival testing of travellers from China.
These unilateral actions are at odds with all the experience and evidence gained over the past three years. The ineffectiveness of international travel restrictions in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and its multiple Variants of Concern (VOCs) has been unequivocally recognised by both the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Testing travellers from China and/or imposing other restrictions for travellers from this country is neither scientifically justified nor risk based, as expressly stated in recent days by the ECDC.
As States need to remain vigilant to the status and control of the virus, the focus should rather be on increasing genomic sequencing to be able to identify possible new COVID-19 variants and related surveillance. Such an approach, as urged by EU Health Commissioner Kyriakides in a letter sent to Member States, does not require the testing of travellers but can be achieved by means such as the testing of wastewater from airports.
“We are once again plunging back into a patchwork of unjustified and uncoordinated travel restrictions, which have no basis in scientific fact,” commented Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE.
“Clearly, we still have to learn the painful lessons of the past years. These travel restrictions do not work and current arrangements for EU coordination have failed once again.”