The International Air Transport Association (Iata), which is the representative body for the world’s airlines, has urged African governments to implement testing for Covid-19 in place of quarantine measures when reopening their economies. “Testing provides a safe alternative to quarantine and a solution to stop the economic and social devastation being caused by Covid-19,” affirmed Iata regional VP: Africa and the Middle East Muhammad Albakri.
Total air passenger traffic in Africa during July was 93.7% down on that for July 2019. Only the Middle East saw a worse collapse, of 95.5%. A total of 35 African and Middle Eastern countries have government-required quarantine in place for international travellers. This is seven more countries than in August. International research has established that 88% of travellers would not travel if they faced quarantine measures.
“Mandatory quarantine measures stop travelling,” highlighted Albakri. “We understand that governments’ priority is on protecting the wellbeing of their citizens. Quarantine destroys livelihoods. Testing is an alternative method that will also save travel and tourism jobs.”
In Africa, more than 6.2-million jobs were supported by aviation. The sector’s contribution to the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $56-billion. The impact on the African economy this year, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, could be the loss of 3.5-million jobs and $35-billion in GDP.