New guidelines show travellers are low risk

A report presenting new EASA and ECDC guidelines hopes to lift quarantine to help restart the travel sector

The European Travel Commission (ETC) has welcomed the new ‘Guidelines for Covid-19 testing and quarantine of air travellers’ report, which was published today.

According to the new guidelines set out by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), travellers should not be labelled as a high-risk population for spreading coronavirus.

The new plans reportedly provide a clearer pathway to ensure governments are able to make informed decisions regarding travel measures during the pandemic.

Covid-19 has been found to be far less rampant amongst those who travel compared with the general population. Air travellers account for less than 1% of all detected Covid-19 cases and do not increase virus transmission.

“The importance of restarting mobility in Europe cannot be understated in terms of the role it will play in the recovery of tourism and the wider European economy over the coming months,” said Luis Araujo, the ETC president. “Millions of livelihoods depending on the tourism sector are on the brink of collapse now and we simply cannot afford wasting more time on these unjustified restrictions. This advice has to be swiftly taken on board by governments as we head into the holiday season and begin the path to recovery.”

It has also been reported that quarantine and systematic testing for the virus is not recommended due to the current epidemiological situation. The guidelines instead state that those travelling should be treated in the same way as members of the local population who have not had direct contact with someone carrying Covid-19. Member states are expected to admit their own nationals, EU citizens and their family members resident in their territory, according to the report.

The ETC has called for common risk-based approaches to help restart European tourism safely. It has been stressed that the European tourism sector would not be able to cope with more ineffective restrictions that would cause further damage to the industry. New measures have been advised in an attempt to reopen the travel industry before the vaccine becomes available to all.

In a recent report published by the ETC, it was found that 54% of respondents within the European sample indicated that they want to travel within the next six months. However, more trips are set to be postponed until later next year if quarantine measures persist. European governments have been strongly advised by the ETC to immediately remove the 14-day quarantine period and instead replace it with more cost-efficient methods such as rapid testing and coordinated tracing systems.