Airlines and airports are calling for coronavirus testing instead of mandatory quarantines.

Airlines and airports will ask a UN-led working group on Tuesday to recommend that countries accept a negative coronavirus test performed within 48 hours of travel as an alternative to imposing mandatory quarantines, Reuters has reported, citing documents it has accessed.

When the U.N. aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), makes a decision, it is only an advice and not a mandatory action, but it is usually taken by all 193 countries.

Thus, the recommendation would be especially directed to passengers traveling from countries with high rates of COVID-19 to others with lower rates of infection

“A pre-departure test could reduce the risk of import by 90%, allowing air travel to be re-opened between a significant number of countries, without the need for quarantine,” says the proposal by the Airports Council International (ACI) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The German government recommended last week not to travel to Spain, with the exception of the Canary Islands, due to the large number of cases of coronavirus that it registers and two weeks ago the United Kingdom imposed a quarantine on travellers from Spain.

“We do not support mandatory testing across borders,” IATA medical adviser David Powell told Reuters.

“But if there are situations where there is a high risk in the country of origin and the need for quarantine can be avoided, then we do support and defend that concept.

In addition, for some travelers, Powell has suggested that it might make sense for them to take a second test upon arrival at their destination.

However, requiring testing would increase travel costs for passengers, since the airlines are unlikely to assume that expense, he said.

The tourism industry is looking for ways to adapt to new restrictions due to the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when recovery seemed within reach after months of travel stops.

That’s also why it became known this Tuesday that the world’s largest tour operator, TUI, is going to try to divert German tourists to the Canary Islands, after Germany advised against travelling to all but that region of Spain.

For Spain, tourism is its main economic sector, both as a percentage of GDP and employment.

By Alba Asenjo – Business Insider