Role of ICAO in not encouraging rapid…

Role of ICAO in not encouraging rapid decrease in international spread of Covid-19 by air travel
2020-03-18 14:22:00
In the Covid-19 international virus crisis, the airline industry has been they key means by which the virus has spread rapidly, to almost every country. But the industry has been primarily concerned with its own economic interests. There is much more the aviation industry could have done, earlier on, to limit the spread of the disease. The Canadian news website, Ricochet, says only by the 9th March did ICAO’s council finally adopted a declaration affirming “the urgent need to reduce the public health risk of the spread of COVID-19 by air transport,” but the damage was already done. Instead of limiting flights as much as possible from the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, ICAO lobbied to delay the adoption of health measures that could harm air traffic. They stressed the role of governments in directing the health checks etc on travellers, avoiding discouraging air travel by those who were likely to have been in contact with infected people.  Doing that would have reduced passengers, and thus income and profits for the sector. On Feb 4th ICAO warned governments about imposing “additional health measures that may significantly impede international [air] traffic.” By then the first cases of infection had already been declared two to three weeks earlier in travellers who came from China, most of them by plane. .Tweet   Air travel has rapidly spread COVID-19, but industry has been reluctant to limit flights Private economic interests prioritized, even at the cost of public health Analysis by  André Noël  (Ricochet) MARCH 14, 2020 In this 21st century, airplanes are the main vectors of global epidemics. But during the COVID-19 crisis, the airline industry has been primarily concerned with its economic interests. This article has been translated and adapted from a piece originally published by Ricochet’s French edition. “Global air traffic networks play a key role in the global importation of emerging infectious diseases” The role of aviation in the spread of epidemics in the 21st century has been recognised by the scientific community for many years. Yet instead of limiting flights as much as possible from the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, an advocacy agency of the United Nations that is headquartered in Montreal, lobbied to delay the adoption of health measures that could harm air traffic. In a Feb. 4 statement on COVID-19, the International Civil Aviation Organisation warned governments about imposing “additional health measures that may significantly impede international [air] traffic.”  [See below** ]. By then the first cases of infection had already been declared two to three weeks earlier in travellers who came from China, most of them by plane. The organization was wrong to urge governments not to limit air traffic as the virus began to spread outside of China, according to a French expert. “Frankly, it was not the right message to have,” says Alain Barrat, director of research at the French National Center for Scientific Research and co-author of an article entitled “The role of the airline transportation network in the prediction and predictability of global epidemics,” published in 2006 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Global air traffic networks play a key role in the global importation of emerging infectious diseases,” notes a group of of researchers that includes individuals from the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute & Initiative in a Feb. 25 article on the current COVID-19 epidemic. (Authored by more than 30 people, the article is available online prior to approval for publication.) In recent years, airplanes have been involved in many cases of transmission of contagious diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS),

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