The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed strong concern over the continued existence of arrival quarantine regimes imposed by state governments in the United States, including New York and Hawaii. IATA urged implementation of pre-departure COVID-19 testing regimes so that states can eliminate quarantine requirements.
“Mandatory arrival quarantines for air travelers have the same effect as outright border closures. There are better ways to protect citizens during the COVID-19 crisis. Instead of implementing job-destroying arrival quarantines, states should be encouraging the federal government to work with other governments to implement pre-departure testing. This will keep people safe and address the vital need to jumpstart struggling local economies and protect jobs that rely on out-of-state and international visitors”, said Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Regional Vice President for The Americas.
Airlines are taking the lead in working to replace quarantines with measures, such as pre-departure testing being put in place on some routes and at some airports, most notably for Hawaii-bound travelers from US West Coast gateway cities. These and other airline-led testing programs will provide valuable experience while the numbers of travelers are still low, so that testing can be efficiently ramped-up as demand returns.
Passengers also support testing over quarantines. According to our latest survey of recent travelers, 64% of US travelers surveyed agreed that quarantine is unnecessary if a person tests negative for COVID-19. Eighty percent were willing to take a pre-departure COVID test. And 56% believe that COVID-19 is sufficiently controlled in the US to open up to international visitors.
Establishing internationally agreed pre-departure testing is the key to unlocking global connectivity, stimulating battered economies, and giving hope to the 10% of the global workforce whose livelihoods depend on travel and tourism.