The Tug of War between Restrictions and New Covid Variants
The panic triggered by the discovery of the new South African variant led governments around the world to react instinctively, many of them tightening travel restrictions.
Some, such as China, Japan, Israel and Morocco, opted for a total shutdown, while others decided to ban passengers from southern Africa (Morocco bans all flights from abroad).
Despite all these efforts, the Omicron variant, which had already been detected on December 3 in at least 30 countries on different continents, has spread rapidly throughout the world. For the International Air Transport Association (IATA), this shows that "it was too late to prevent it from leaving southern Africa" (Covid: the 27 will ban flights to seven African countries).
Moreover, the airline lobby points out that health experts "suggest that the impact of travel restrictions is limited". The graph accompanying this information clearly shows how there are peaks and valleys of contagion despite the fact that the measures of the different countries have remained stable.
IATA, which has been defending the importance of ensuring international mobility since the beginning of the pandemic, recalls that since mid-2020 "the aviation sector has an action protocol to mitigate risks and ensure that flying is safe despite Covid-19", which in its opinion "further weakens the justification for travel restrictions".
In addition, he warns that government actions against free movement have a major impact on both societies and the economy.