Quarantine affecting restart of aviation in Africa
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments in Africa and the Middle East to implement testing as an alternative to quarantine measures when re-opening their economies.
About 35 countries in Africa and the Middle East have government-imposed quarantine measures in place. This is an increase of seven countries since August.
According to IATA, The impact is that the region effectively remains in lockdown despite borders being open.
Travellers are said to be unwilling to consider travelling if quarantine measures were imposed on travellers at their destination.
“Mandatory quarantine measures stop people from travelling. We understand that governments’ priority is on protecting the well–being of their citizens.
“Quarantine destroys livelihoods. Testing is an alternative method that will also save travel and tourism jobs,” said Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East.
Traffic levels in Africa and the Middle East saw the largest drop of all regions in July compared to 2019 levels.
Total passenger traffic in Africa in July 2020 was 93.7% below 2019 levels and in the Middle East 95.5% below 2019 levels.
Aviation supported more than 6.2 million jobs and US$56 billion in GDP in Africa and 2.4 million jobs and US$130 billion in GDP in the Middle East pre-COVID-19.
The economic impact of the collapse in air traffic in 2020 due to COVID-19 could be 3.5 million lost jobs and US$35 billion in GDP in Africa and 1.5 million lost jobs and US$85 billion in GDP Middle East.
According to Albakri, “Testing provides a safe alternative to quarantine and a solution to stop the economic and social devastation being caused by COVID-19.”