Government AffairsReport: Tightening restrictions after a new variant has been imported may just delay the surge in transmission rate by several days.

Travel restrictions don't work, here's why

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ACI Asia-Pacific encourages Japan to completely remove all travel curbs to support Asia’s travel recovery.
ACI Asia-Pacific encourages Japan to completely remove all travel curbs to support Asia’s travel recovery. Photo Credit: GettyImages/kuremo

Not only are travel curbs ineffective at preventing the spread of Covid-19, they also impede industry recovery.

That was the key message from the Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific, as it issues a statement that Japan’s cautious reopening of its borders can be taken one step further with the complete removal of all international air travel restrictions.

According to the latest announcement from Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan will divide almost 200 countries into three risk categories to determine whether visitors from these regions will be able to bypass quarantine or be able to undergo a more streamlined Covid-19 testing regiment.

These ongoing Covid-19 regulations is expected by ACI Asia-Pacific to “hamper the positive direct, indirect and catalytic impact that air transport has on the national economy.”

A study released by ACI Asia-Pacific showed that travel restrictions have very little impact on preventing the spread of any variant. Even if restrictions are further tightened after a new variant has been imported into the country, it may just delay the surge in transmission rate by several days.

ACI Asia-Pacific opines that Japan should focus on the significant direct and indirect costs to the economy instead of imposing travel restrictions. The association says that travel curbs should be dropped once cases exceed the level beyond which restrictions wouldn’t make a difference to the number of infections.

“Analysis shows that travel restrictions have, to a large degree, failed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and have turned out to be a deterrent for the recovery of aviation,” said Stefano Baronci, director general, ACI Asia-Pacific. “Over the past few months, we have seen several Asian countries gradually abolishing travel restrictions and have been successful in managing the situation without negatively impacting the health care system at national level.”

“Therefore, we recommend the Government of Japan to consider removing all remaining travel restrictions and allow people to travel freely. A total relaxation of travel protocols will provide greater impetus to the economy of the country as well of the other countries in the region.”

The removal of all remaining travel restrictions will not only provide fully vaccinated passengers the freedom of movement, it will also help boost Japan’s economy along with other countries in the region.

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