EU/EEA & UK Govts Urged to Immediately Lift Quarantine Restrictions

The latest recommendation of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control (ECDC) regarding the ineffectiveness of quarantine measures and travel restriction has once again raised the voice of European and international associations, which are urging the European governments to put an end to these measures once and for all, in order to save Europe’s economy.

Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE) has called on European governments to immediately lift quarantine measures and travel restrictions, rejecting the use of both of these measures at the time where “transmission of the virus is already widespread”SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The common guideline of EASA and ECDC regarding COVID-19 testing and quarantine measures “Addendum to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol” highlights that air travellers account for less than one per cent of all reported Coronavirus cases of infections, and do not increase the rate of virus transmission.

According to EASA and ECDC Guidelines, two weeks mandatory quarantine would be effective only if the Coronavirus situation is under absolute control and “reduced transmission levels to close to zero”.

Several analyses, besides the Guidelines, have revealed that the current preventive measures, introduced by a large number of European countries, are not efficient.

The recent analysis of ACI EUROPE, based on airport passenger data, in the third quarter of 2020, “unequivocally rejects any relationship between air travel and increasing COVID-19 transmission rates.”

On October 8, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) also stressed on its report that the probability of contracting the Coronavirus disease while onboard is very low.

Back then, IATA said that from 1.2 billion passengers who travelled with airlines since the virus began to be spread, only 44 persons had tested positive for the Coronavirus.

The Director-General of ACI EUROPE, Olivier Jankovec, in this regard urged governments across Europe “to immediately abolish their quarantine restrictions” in order to restore freedom of movement for citizens of European countries.

“These Guidelines unequivocally show quarantines to be essentially politically-driven, non-risk-based measures which bear no relation to what is actually needed to safeguard public health. Quarantines fail the test of proportionality, a key principle of EU law – particularly since there are no equivalent measures at land borders,” Jankovec stressed.

He also said that these preventive measures limit the freedom to provide services and the freedom of movement.

IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe, Rafael Schvartzman said that “rapid testing of passengers for COVID-19 opens the door to restarting air travel by eliminating quarantine.”

“And the public agrees: Some 65 per cent of travellers surveyed suggest quarantine should not apply to passengers who have tested negative,” Schvartzman pointed out.

He said that EASA/ECDC protocol clarified that compulsory quarantine is not an adequate measure, under the current situation.

Schvartzman highlighted that it is essential that the protocol should be applied “to lift current travel restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU from third countries”.

Previously, Oxera Consulting company and Edge Health company through a joint analysis found that the United Kingdom’s government decision to impose two weeks compulsory quarantine is the least effective measure that would help to halt the spread of the COVID-19.

Air traffic in Europe has been among the most affected sectors from the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, and according to ACI, “recently plunged to -89 per cent at EU/EEA/Swiss & UK airports”.

In October, Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE) and the European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC) called on the European Union countries to examine the current legislation to allow citizens travelling from third countries to shop tax-free upon their arrival at the EU’s airports.

The calling came to support the European Union strategy to help the aviation industry get out of the financial crisis caused since the beginning of the pandemic.