Boarding flights during Coronavirus pandemic: Systematic COVID-19 testing for flyers before departure is key, says IATA

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New Delhi | September 23, 2020 2:06 PM

Coronavirus update: IATA in a statement has said that in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, airlines and airports have been reinforcing protective layers including cleaning or disinfection, airflow, and filtration, to reduce disease transmission on aircraft and in airports.

Coronavirus India, Coronavirus vaccine, Coronavirus update, Coronavirus news, covid19 tracker, covid19 world, flight status, international flights, international flights India, international flights resume, international flights status, international flights news, international flights openIATA in a statement has said that in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, airlines and airports have been reinforcing protective layers including cleaning or disinfection, airflow, and filtration, to reduce disease transmission on aircraft and in airports. (Representative image by Reuters image)

Systematic Coronavirus testing for all passengers before the departure of flights is crucial in restoring the global air connectivity during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA). IATA CEO and Director General Alexandre De Juniac said that the key to restoring the freedom of mobility across borders is systematic Coronavirus testing of all travellers before departure of any flight, as per ANI report. He said that Coronavirus testing will give the governments the much-needed confidence to open their airspace and help people travel without fear, the ANI report said. IATA has also stated that it would work in tandem with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in this regard.

IATA in a statement has said that in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, airlines and airports have been reinforcing protective layers including cleaning or disinfection, airflow, and filtration, to reduce disease transmission on aircraft and in airports. Airlines and airports are also supplementing extra measures such as distancing in the airport, touchless check-in and other processes, and mandatory face mask use. A multi-layered approach will almost certainly be required to allow scaling up of aviation.

Temperature screening has deficiencies and should be undertaken with appropriate precautions and using the most up to date methods. It is expected to be of benefit, applied selectively along with other measures such as symptom screening. Symptom screening is a necessary measure but has limitations; it may be an effective adjunct to other measures such as temperature screening, IATA suggested.

Face coverings for passengers along with suitable PPE (at least, surgical masks) for crew and other airline staff are a useful element of a multi-layered protection strategy. Physical distancing on board can be achieved to a large degree especially during the airport processes and boarding, but leaving large numbers of empty seats on a routine basis is probably unsustainable, IATA said.

Rapid point-of-care testing is an important potential extra layer of protection. Technology for rapid on-site PCR tests, molecular tests, and alternative antigen tests, is advancing rapidly, and if validated by a reputable scientific organization could be an additional layer of protection, IATA said.

While the risk of transmission on an aircraft is low, passengers can take additional precautions to further lower the risk. Following guidance to wear a mask or face covering provides significant protection to all onboard. Passengers are also encouraged to practice good hand hygiene – washing hands regularly with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and avoiding touching the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially after contact with commonly touched surfaces, IATA suggested.

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