A World Health Organization (WHO) representative said last week that coronavirus tests should be used more often during international travel instead of mandatory quarantines.
According to Reuters.com, WHO Emergency Committee chair Didier Houssin revealed during a news conference on Friday the organization needs to provide fresh guidance on safe international air travel.
“And clearly the use of the tests is certainly now supposed to have a much larger place compared to quarantine, for example, which would certainly facilitate things considering all the efforts which have been made by airlines and by airports,” Houssin said during the press conference.
Another WHO official, top emergency expert Mike Ryan, shared that traveling in the age of COVID-19 was “relatively safe” and posed a “relatively low” health risk, but that “there is no zero risks.”
“Therefore, it is a trade-off that countries have to make,” Ryan told Reuters. “The risk of a traveler arriving and potentially starting another chain of transmission, against the obvious benefit of allowing travel from a social and an economic point of view.”
“You can add testing and different measures into that. We are looking at that right now. We will be coming out very soon with more advice for countries in terms of the risk management process.”
In October, United Airlines announced the world’s first free transatlantic COVID-19 testing pilot program for customers. The carrier’s new testing pilot program will occur between November 16 and December 11 for select flights between Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and London Heathrow in the UK.
Edited by: Joe Cusmano