Air travelers should not automatically be considered at high risk for the spread of Kovid-19, and should be treated as members of the local population who have not been in direct contact with the infected person under the new European guidelines for air travel.
The guidelines for Covid-19 testing and air travelers’ quarantine, jointly published by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (ESA), have been described as “really dangerous”. The “madman” of a prominent Irish public health professional.
The guidelines, requested by the European Commission and published on Wednesday afternoon, “do not treat passengers as“ high-risk populations, nor as contacts in the Covid-19 cases, unless they are related to a confirmed positive case. ”
Instead, passengers should be “treated as locals and subject to the same rules and recommendations that apply to the local people.”
Based on the latest scientific evidence and data, the document concludes that the prevalence of the new corona virus among travelers is lower than in the general population. In addition, existing procedures in aviation reduce the likelihood of transfers during air travel.
The guidelines indicate that a 14-day embargo will only be effective in “exceptional circumstances” where a country has complete control over the virus and its transmission level is close to zero, and only after that do passengers enter from countries where the virus is transmitted.
“This new document is a genuine European contribution to the achievements of European citizens,” said Patrick Cai, EASA Executive Director.
He added that its findings would be instrumental in making many family reunions possible at Christmas. It builds on the steps we have already taken using the Aviation Health Safety Protocol and reinforces the notion that there are no inherent risks in flight – in fact, the airline population is seen as a relatively “coveted-safe” population. ”
“National decision makers should take into account the recommendations made here when formulating their policies,” he said.
Anthony Steins, a professor of community health at DCU, said the findings were “irrational” and “really dangerous.”
“Europe itself is being dragged under the bus and this is a risk,” he said. “It’s crazy that guidelines have been brought in before Christmas to send people back before the holidays,” he said.
He pointed to a wave of infection in the Australian city of Melbourne months ago when a traveler with a high level of the virus arrived in the city and failed to comply with shipbuilding regulations.
If people fly from high-risk countries to countries where COVED-19 is high, it makes more sense to reflect and treat passengers from high-risk areas differently from low-risk countries. .
However, the guidelines call on European and international aviation associations to “immediately lift government shipping and other travel restrictions.”
“These guidelines make it clear that these are primarily politically motivated and risk-free measures that have nothing to do with what is really needed to protect public health,” said Olivier Jankovic, director general of ACI Europe, a leading umbrella group in Europe. Airlines and airports.
“The embargo fails to test the fundamental principle of EU law of proportionality – especially since there are no equivalent measures at land borders,” he continued.
This has led to unprecedented limitations on freedom of movement and freedom to provide services. We urge national governments to immediately lift their embargoes and restore the freedom of movement of European citizens. “
He said a more coordinated and coordinated approach between the European Union, the EEA and the UK was essential to increase the clarity and unpredictability of citizens and businesses following the latest recommendation of the European Union Council. This is essential for the recovery of the region. ”
In addition to the data presented in the guidelines, several other analyzes confirm that there is no correlation between passenger traffic and transmission rates at the national level.
ACI Europe Europe-produced insider data on airport passenger data for the third quarter of 2020 “unequivocally disproves the link between air travel and the increase in Kovid-19 transmission rates”.
The slight increase in passenger traffic during this period has been shown to be “statistically unrelated to the Kovid-19 test-positivity rate based on aviation, public health and community mobility data”.
“Utilizing the latest technologies available and the high sensitivity and sensitivity established by the ECDC will help restore speed, restore unpredictability, restore passenger confidence and restore flight connectivity for European travelers,” said Managing Director Thomas Rainert. Airlines to Europe.
Rafael Schwartzman, Europe’s regional vice president of the International Air Travel Association, echoed his calls, saying that the rapid inspection of passengers on the Covid-19 “opens the door to resumption of air travel by avoiding shipping.”