The systematic pre-departure or on-arrival testing of travelers from China for COVID-19 is "neither scientifically justified nor risk-based," the Europe branch of Airports Council International (ACI EUROPE) said recently.
In a press release on Dec. 31, 2022, the organization expressed its "regret regarding the actions of a number of states within the EU (European Union) and globally for unilaterally imposing health-related travel requirements."
"These unilateral actions are at odds with all the experience and evidence gained over the past three years," it said, adding that "these travel restrictions do not work."
The ineffectiveness of international travel restrictions in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and its multiple variants of concern (VOCs) has been unequivocally recognized by both the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), ACI EUROPE noted.
According to the organization, as states need to remain vigilant to the status and control of the virus, the focus should instead be on increasing genomic sequencing to identify possible new COVID-19 variants and related surveillance.
"Such an approach, as urged by EU Health Commissioner (Stella) Kyriakides in a letter sent earlier this week to the member states, does not require the testing of travelers, but can be achieved by means such as the testing of wastewater from airports," the ACI EUROPE press release said.
"We are once again plunging back into a patchwork of unjustified and uncoordinated travel restrictions, which have no basis in scientific fact," commented Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI EUROPE.