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Published on Thursday, July 22, 2021

IATA slams governments on high cost of Covid testing

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to take necessary action to address the high cost of Covid-19 testing in many countries and seeks flexibility in permitting the use of cheaper antigen tests as an alternative to PCR tests.

IATA also recommended governments adopt recent World Health Organization (WHO) guidance to consider exempting vaccinated travellers from testing requirements.

In IATA's most recent traveler survey, 86% of people are willing to get tested but 70% also believe that the cost of testing is a major barrier to travel.

In addition 78% believe government should bear any cost of mandatory testing.

"IATA supports Covid-19 testing to reopen borders to international travel but our support is not unconditional. In addition to being reliable, testing needs to be easily accessible, affordable, and appropriate to the risk level," it says.

"Too many governments, however, are falling short on some or all of these. The cost of testing varies widely between jurisdictions, with little relation to the actual cost of conducting the test."

The UK is 'at best expensive, at worst extortionate' IATA said.

"It is a scandal that the government is charging VAT," Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General said.

It cites a new generation of rapid tests at less than $10 per test.

Where testing is a mandatory requirement, the WHO's International Health Regulations state that neither passengers nor carriers should bear the cost of testing, IATA argues.


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