IATA Decries 'Knee-Jerk' Travel Bans To Curb Spread Of Virus Variant

ZURICH (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 09th December, 2021) The head of the International Air Transport Association accused national governments of overreacting after countries brought back travel curbs in response to the Omicron coronavirus strain.

"After nearly two years with COVID-19 we know a lot about the virus and the inability of travel restrictions to control its spread. But the discovery of the Omicron variant induced instant amnesia on governments which implemented knee-jerk restrictions," Willie Walsh said in a IATA statement.

The statement also quoted an updated travel advisory from the World Health Organization who warned in November that, rather than preventing the international spread, blanket travel bans impacted lives and livelihoods and impeded global health efforts.

The airlines agency's chief urged governments to move away from the "uncoordinated, evidence absent, risk-unassessed mess" that travel restrictions had created ahead of the year-end holiday season to measures that are time-bound and regularly reviewed.

The US, UK, Canada and various other countries enacted quickfire travel bans on countries in southern Africa shortly after South African scientists announced the emergence of the Omicron variant prompting a wave of indignation from African governments.

Omicron cases have so far emerged in most of the countries that have imposed travel bans.