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Safe Travels: Can Bermuda’s Testing Approach Offer Lessons?

January 2021 Julie E. McLean

The aviation industry has been one of the worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. If airlines and associated businesses are to survive, it is essential that people start flying again. How to do that safely without promoting the spread of the virus is the sixty-four billion dollar question.

Despite the start of vaccination programmes, aviation bosses including the chief executives of British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Airbus and EasyJet continue to call for pre-flight coronavirus tests for airline passengers to replace quarantines, arguing that encouraging and enabling people to resume air travel is an immediate priority to prevent further crippling industry losses. Waiting for a vaccine roll-out will just take too long, they say.  Airline industry group IATA has warned that global airlines face combined losses of $118.5billion for 2020, and $39 billion in 2021.

At present, those travelling between most countries face a lengthy self-isolation or quarantine on arrival – up to two weeks in many places. For the majority, this rules out vacations or business trips, indeed any air travel except the most necessary. The UK has just introduced a requirement for all international arrivals to prove a negative Covid-19 test before being allowed entry, and the USA has expanded its negative pre-test requirement to all air passengers entering the country from 26 January. Other countries, such as Germany and Ireland, also use testing to allow visitors or returning residents to self-isolate for periods as short as five days.


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Julie E. McLean

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