AviationWHO restates okay-to-travel advice. But is anyone listening?

Health, tourism and aviation authorities take aim at ‘uncoordinated travel advisories’

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AAPA says proliferation of travel advisories while well-intentioned are inconsistent with WHO recommendations.
AAPA says proliferation of travel advisories while well-intentioned are inconsistent with WHO recommendations. Photo Credit: prachanart/GettyImages

MADRID - The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), who are jointly guiding the travel and tourism sectors’ response to COVID-19, have restated their position on global travel restrictions.

Airlines are therefore focusing closely on making associated cost reductions and conserving cash resources in order to survive the current downturn, whilst remaining ready to respond positively as and when the situation shows signs of improvement,– Andrew Herdman, Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) director general

The director-general of WHO on Jan. 30 declared the outbreak of COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and issued a set of Temporary Recommendations but WHO says, “it did not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available”.

WHO  says is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence of the virus, and to provide advice to countries and the global community on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak.

Meanwhile, Andrew Herdman, Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) director general, said the proliferation of uncoordinated travel advisories and border restrictions imposed by governments, “whilst well-intentioned, are inconsistent with WHO recommendations and International Health Regulations, and only serve to amplify public concern”.

"Overall, airlines continue to monitor developments closely, whilst taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety and well-being of passengers and staff members,” he added.

AAPA said from a business perspective, the impact of reduced demand is expected to lead to billions of dollars in lost revenue, mainly suffered by Chinese carriers and other Asia Pacific airlines.

“Airlines are therefore focusing closely on making associated cost reductions and conserving cash resources in order to survive the current downturn, whilst remaining ready to respond positively as and when the situation shows signs of improvement,” the AAPA director general said.

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