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Relaxing travel restrictions and quarantine measures in Africa
22 July, 2020
Barring any further lockdowns, African countries are gradually opening up their airspace as some airlines across the world are returning to the skies. Most of Africa’s 54 countries had closed their airspace to contain the spread of COVID-19. The measure has drastically affected the aviation industry. According to data from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the number of flights in Africa has been much fewer than in other regions during the pandemic. As governments relax travel restrictions, there is also a need to revisit quarantine measures. This is simply because even if borders open and existing quarantine measures still remain in place, it would be a disincentive for travelers (including tourists and investors) as they would not be able to conduct their businesses. It is highly important for confidence measures to be put in place as travel restrictions are lifted. Therefore, it is critical that national governments consider the following.
- Relaxing travel restrictions and quarantine measures following minimum safety measures and guidance provided by the WHO and the Ministry of Health that help in reducing the risk of imported cases via travelers. Relaxed quarantine measures for travelers who tested negative on departure that enable them to be quarantined and tested on arrival within a short time span can be attractive to foreign visitors.
- Developing mechanisms and strategies that allow for the continuous containment of the pandemic and at the same time facilitating the resumption of economic activities at low risk of further spreading the disease.
- Making additional investments to enhance the capacity of accurate and fast testing for travelers.
- Strict enforcement by airlines of guidelines issued by the WHO and the ICAO on the use of masks, physical distancing, cleaning and disinfection of the cabin environment, and other safety and hygiene measures during the passengers’ travel time.
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