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IATA has criticised countries’ decisions to impose coronavirus tests and other measures on Chinese travellers as futile “knee-jerk” reactions.

A rising number of countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan, and France, have insisted on negative Covid-19 testing prior to entry.

The measures were implemented because of an increase in outbreaks in China following Beijing’s abandonment of rigorous containment efforts last month.

“It is quite disheartening to see this knee-jerk reintroduction of measures that have proven ineffective over the previous three years,” said Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA, which represents 300 airlines that account for 83 percent of overall air travel, claimed that the coronavirus was already widespread within the boundaries of the countries requiring the testing.

“Research conducted around the advent of the Omicron variant (in late 2021) revealed that imposing restrictions in the path of movement had little effect on the peak spread of diseases,” Walsh stated.

“We have the means to handle Covid-19 without resorting to futile actions that cut off international connectivity, harm economies, and harm employment,” he continued.

Global passenger traffic, which was ravaged by the emergence of Covid-19 in early 2020, is estimated to have recovered to 70.6 percent of pre-crisis levels by 2022, which is lower than previously predicted due to China’s severe travel restrictions.

On 8 January, Chinese officials declared that they would no longer require quarantines for arriving travellers.

Beijing branded the increasing international restrictions on travellers leaving its territory “unacceptable”, threatening to take actions “based on the principle of reciprocity.”



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