IATA calls on government to address high Covid-19 tests cost

KUALA LUMPUR: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments to take action to address the high cost of Covid-19 tests in many jurisdictions and provided flexibility in permitting the use of cost-effective antigen tests as an alternative to the more expensive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

Director-general Willie Walsh said the cost of testing varies widely between jurisdictions with little relation to the actual cost of conducting the test.

“To being reliable, testing needs to be easily accessible, affordable and appropriate to the risk level. However, too many governments are falling short on some or all of these,” he said in a statement today.

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

It said according to its recent traveller survey, 86 per cent of respondents are willing to get tested.

Nevertheless, it said 70 per cent believed that the cost of testing is a significant barrier to travel while 78 per cent believe governments should bear the cost of mandatory testing.

Walsh said the survey also confirmed that the high cost of testing would bear heavily on the shape of the travel recovery.

“It makes little sense for governments to take steps to reopen borders if those steps make the cost of travel prohibitive to most people.

“We need a restart that is affordable for all,” he added. – Bernama