The 7th Global Tourism Crisis Committee met virtually from Lisbon, Portugal, on 9 December 2020, to accelerate the coordination of international cross-border travel principles and protocols in view of the safe and seamless restart of tourism. The members of the Committee recalled, in line with recent WHO and ECDC/EASA1 guidance, that:
- The prevalence of COVID-19 in travellers is estimated to be lower than prevalence among the general population or among contacts of confirmed cases.
- Travellers should not be considered a high-risk group and should be subject to the same regulations or recommendations as the local population of their destination.
- In the current epidemiological situation, quarantine or systematic testing for SARS-CoV-2 of air travellers is not recommended.
The Committee called for
- Support for WHO in its efforts to work with partners to update and review evidence-based guidance for international travel consistent with International Health Regulations2 and provisions focusing on providing guidance for effective, risk-based, and coherent approaches (including targeted use of diagnostics and shorter quarantine lengths or the abolishment of quarantines) that consider transmission levels, response capacities in origin and destination countries, and relevant travel-specific considerations.
- The establishment of internationally agreed evidence-based risk-assessment indicators and their harmonization among countries as is the case of the European Union traffic light system
- Countries to ensure that measures affecting international traffic are risk-based, evidence-based, coherent, proportionate and time limited.
- The implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) CART Take-off guidance and the Manual on Testing and Cross-border Risk Management Measures3
- The stepping up of coordination to ensure a timely definition on common and harmonized principles and protocols related to vaccination certificates and international travel
1 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and European Union Aviation Safety Agency. Guidelines for COVID-19 testing and quarantine of air travellers – Addendum to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol. 2 December 2020. ECDC: Stockholm; 2020/EASA: Cologne; 2020. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/Guidelines_for_COVID-19_testing_and_quarantine_of_air_travellers-12-2020.pdf
2 World Health Organization (WHO), International Health Regulations (2005), https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241580496