HomeNewsIATA Boss Willie Walsh Slams Return to China-Focused Travel Restrictions

IATA Boss Willie Walsh Slams Return to China-Focused Travel Restrictions

Aviation industry group the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has slammed the reintroduction of Covid-related travel restrictions targeting Chinese travellers as “knee-jerk” and “extremely disappointing”.

Numerous countries – including Canada and Australia – have reimposed restrictions on visitors from China following that country’s sudden relaxation of its Covid laws last month, which are leading to an expected surge in Chinese tourism and fresh fears of new Covid spikes.

IATA director general Willie Walsh said: “Several countries are introducing COVID-19 testing and other measures for travellers from China, even though the virus is already circulating widely within their borders. It is extremely disappointing to see this knee-jerk reinstatement of measures that have proven ineffective over the last three years.

“Research undertaken around the arrival of the Omicron variant concluded that putting barriers in the way of travel made no difference to the peak spread of infections. At most, restrictions delayed that peak by a few days. If a new variant emerges in any part of the world, the same situation would be expected.  

“That’s why governments should listen to the advice of experts, including the WHO, that advise against travel restrictions. We have the tools to manage COVID-19 without resorting to ineffective measures that cut off international connectivity, damage economies and destroy jobs. Governments must base their decisions on ‘science facts’ rather than ‘science politics’,” he said.

Mr Walsh concluded: “While China has significantly eased border measures, I urge the Chinese government to remove the need for pre-departure COVID-19 testing for those traveling to China.”

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.

Must Read