Virus Testing Results Should Be Available Within The Hour At Airports, Says Global Aviation Body

by GoNews Desk 1 month ago Views 751
Should governments choose to introduce COVID-19 testing for travellers arriving from countries considered as high risk, testing must deliver results fast, be able to be conducted at scale, and operate to very high rates of accuracy.

Additionally, testing must be cost-effective and not create an economic or logistical barrier to travel, says the International Air Transport Association.

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Technology for rapid point-of-care Polymerized Chain Reaction (PCR) testing could be a useful layer of protection for travellers from countries considered as higher risk, potentially removing the need for more burdensome and intrusive measures such as quarantine which is a major barrier to travel and the recovery of demand.  


 

“Airlines are committed to reducing the risks of COVID-19 transmission via air travel and COVID-19 testing could play an important role. But it must be implemented in line with ICAO’s global re-start guidance with the aim of facilitating travel. Speed, scale and accuracy are the most critical performance criteria for testing to be effectively incorporated into the travel process,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

As part of the travel process COVID-19 testing would need to be conducted by trained public health officials and meet the following criteria:
 

Speed: Testing results should be delivered quickly, with results available in under an hour as the minimum standard.

Scale: If testing takes place at the airport, testing capacity of several hundreds of tests per hour must be achievable. The use of saliva for taking samples rather than nasal or throat swabs would facilitate this and would also be expected to reduce time and improve passenger acceptance.

Accuracy: Extremely high accuracy is essential. Both false negative and false positive results must be below 1%. 

 

Ideally, COVID-19 testing would be required in advance of arrival at the airport and within 24 hours of travel. Passengers arriving “ready-to-fly” reduces the risk of contagion in the airport and enables early re-accommodation for any traveler who tests positive. 

If testing is required as part of the travel process, it is recommended at departure. Governments would need to mutually recognize test results and data transmission should take place directly between passengers and governments in a similar manner as e-visa clearances are currently handled.

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