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IATA, WTTC Welcome Pre-departure Covid-19 Testing Travel Rule of US and UK

Photo source: JFK Airport

Photo source: JFK Airport

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday welcomed the announcement by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it will require all travelers to the US as of January 26 to show proof of a negative coronavirus (Covid-19) test taken within three days prior to departure to the country.

A similar action taken in the United Kingdom for travel to England was also applauded by IATA, as well as by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

“Systematic pre-departure testing is key to giving governments confidence to reopen markets without quarantine,” said Douglas Lavin, IATA’s Vice President Member and External Relations, North America.

“Testing will ensure that at current infection levels, aviation will not become a meaningful vector of new transmissions in the US,” Lavin said, adding that IATA traveler surveys show that passengers strongly support and are willing to undergo testing.

IATA is encouraged by the flexibility shown by CDC in this order, in terms of accepting both antigen and PCR testing and in providing passengers who have already had COVID-19 the ability to demonstrate they are immune.

UK opens the doors to travellers to England with negative test

Photo source: WTTC

Photo source: WTTC

A similar rule to enter England was announced recently by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. As of January 15, passengers arriving from all international destinations to England (including UK nationals) are required to present any type of negative Covid-19 test.

The step by the UK government was welcomed by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

“Giving equal validity to every COVID-19 test takes away the concern travellers may have that their test may not be accepted and thus face the prospect of being forced into an unnecessary quarantine,” WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara said.

According to Guevara, the rule also means tests of every type will be more affordable and accessible for travellers seeking to enter the UK safely, with proof of a negative test, and further reduce the risk of exporting the virus

“This action compliments similar action taken in the US – and many other countries around the world – which have introduced an ‘open door’ policy to get safe travel moving with acceptable pre-boarding Covid-19 negative tests, such as PCR and rapid antigen tests,” she added.

IATA Travel Pass coming soon

Image from Affinidi demonstration video.

It should be mentioned that IATA is developing the IATA Travel Pass, a mobile app to manage information flows around requirements for COVID-19 testing and/or vaccine/immunity information.

The IATA Travel Pass will enable travelers to receive and securely store encrypted data on their own mobile devices, including verified test or vaccination results, and to share this information with airlines and authorities. IATA has urged the US government to make provision to accept test and immunity documents shared electronically via the IATA Travel Pass.

“As the efficacy of testing is confirmed, we need to move quickly to next steps—lifting travel restrictions which prevent travel from Europe and other key markets and removing quarantine requirements imposed by state and local governments in the US,” said Lavin.

The IATA Travel Pass is scheduled for release early in the first quarter of 2021 for Android and for iPhone.

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