United Airlines has launched a pilot program in which all passengers will be tested for free on Covid19 on a flight from New York to London.
Thus, from November 16 to December 11, the airline will offer free quick tests to every passenger aged two years and crew members on a flight from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to London Heathrow (LHR). Anyone who does not wish to be tested will be placed on a second flight, which will guarantee that all passengers on the plane, except children under the age of two, will have a negative test before departure.
"We believe that providing rapid, one-day testing on COVID-19 will play a vital role in safely reopening travel around the world, especially to key international destinations such as London.“, Said Toby Enqvist from United Airlines and added that through this pilot program they want to guarantee that all passengers on the flight are negative on Covid19.
United will work with Premise Health, which will operate a pilot rapid test program for the EWR-LHR flight, and test results are complete within 30 minutes.
Also, United will share feedback on this pilot with governments on both sides of the Atlantic to further demonstrate the effectiveness of these programs as an alternative to mandatory quarantines or different passenger restriction criteria.
Since the beginning of 2020, 44 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in which the transfer is considered to be flight-related (including confirmed, probable and potential cases), while around 1,2 billion passengers traveled in the same period, the analysis shows. International Air Transport Association (IATA) which showed a low frequency of COVID-19 transmission during flight.
Thus, only 44 cases of covid infection19 were recorded among 1,2 billion passengers in air transport or 1 case for every 27,3 million passengers.
Airborne radiation systems, high-efficiency air particle filters (HEPA), a natural seat back barrier, downward airflow, and high air exchange rates effectively reduce the risk of disease transmission in aircraft. The addition of wearing masks amid pandemic concerns adds an extra and significant extra layer of protection, making sitting close by in an aircraft cabin safer than most other enclosed environments, IATA points out.
Activation of air traffic is key to the recovery of tourism, and they are needed for that three key prerequisites: Standardization of security protocols in airports and airlines, fast testing, ie fast obtaining of test results, and contactless thermal camera technology capable of automatically screening a large number of passengers.
As we know, all three solutions are being actively worked on, and soon air traffic on a global level will stabilize, ie meet all the prerequisites for reactivation.
As far as rapid tests are concerned, St. Catherine's Special Hospital was the first in Croatia to introduce rapid testing in which test results are ready within 15 to 30 minutes. Also, in a month or two, more rapid tests on the market are expected, which are currently undergoing a validation process.
Also, in addition to the activation of air transport, which is crucial for the awakening of the tourism sector, agreements between countries, ie common criteria, are key. That is why it is extremely important that an agreement is reached between the EU member states in which common and transparent criteria are defined. There is still a step around the validation of rapid tests, ie again a common consensus of all countries in the EU, but in the world, about the recognition of certain rapid tests, so that there is no situation where one country recognizes a rapid test, while others do not.
However, as fast tests on Covid9 are a novelty and are just coming to the market, for example Roche launched its fast test on the market at the end of September, and it is certain that this segment will be regulated and harmonized in a month or two, both in Europe and globally. level. It is the example of United, which flies from New York to London, that shows the importance of defining common global criteria.
The new UNWTO initiative, which focuses on the legal protection of consumers and passengers, also contributes to the whole story. The International Code for the Protection of Tourists, which the UNWTO is working on with the support of almost 100 member states, will provide legal support to tourists affected by emergencies at the global level.
In the coming weeks, international organizations, the European Commission, as well as private stakeholders, will be invited to join this initiative in order to achieve a fairer and more balanced share of responsibility among all tourism stakeholders in the world after COVID-19.
Also, airlines as well as hotels are currently the safest places in accordance with all implemented epidemiological measures. Regardless of the large number of passengers or guests. By the way, there were no confirmed cases of Covid infection in Croatia this summer19.
In line with the epidemiological situation in Europe and the world, we are aware that we are entering a difficult period in autumn and winter, in which (as we are currently and daily witnessing) a large increase in new cases is expected. On the other hand, it is during this period that the entire tourism sector at the global level must be clearly and transparently defined common criteria, banners and clear protocols, in order to gain the conditions for the activation of tourism on a global level in the spring.
And that brings us to the key question: What will the 2021 tourist season be like?
A little optimism in this gloomy and uncertain time. It will surely be much better than this one. Air traffic will be activated, Europeans will travel more regionally, where again Croatia as a self-destination has an advantage, people will accept the fact this winter that we must start living with coronavirus and life in the "new normal", the season will be much more stable and organized, but some new rules will certainly apply.
We learned a lot this year, at least I hope we saw good moves as well as bad ones i.e. where we failed. Now we have time to, as a state, define clear and transparent rules, criteria and protocols for all our destinations, ie as a destination Croatia. This is exactly what will play an important role.
Find out more about this topic in the attachment:
Of course, by the spring of 2021, everyone must somehow survive. It will be a long and hard winter. The measure that the entire tourism sector in Croatia expects, along with the laudable measures of the Government of the Republic of Croatia to preserve jobs valid until the end of this year (which does not apply to entrepreneurs and business owners) is primarily the possibility of lending through HBOR and Hamag Bicro or government guarantees so that entrepreneurs can borrow through commercial banks. Thus, entrepreneurs are not looking for free money, but a loan to survive until the spring of 2021, when the first tourist revenues are expected or cash flow.
Photo: FB United Airlines