In February, two weeks of sunshine in Sri Lanka instead of an arrest in Europe? If the Colombo government comes to its own, the answer is yes. From January 21, the South Asian country, which is heavily dependent on tourism, will reopen its borders to vacationers after nine months of isolation. A Covid-19 test is required before the flight, one after and a third after a week – but there is no quarantine.
This is a model that the international aviation industry has been promoting for months. Thorough testing of passengers instead of confusing quarantine regulations and ever-changing rules for passengers. In Germany, the new requirements will apply again from Monday. Together with the extension and tightening of the exclusion, they were decided by a meeting of the Prime Minister with the Chancellor. And it also ran: It’s the last point in the decision document.
The “two-test strategy” stipulates that passengers traveling to Germany from risk areas must be tested shortly before departure or shortly after landing. Even with a negative result, they should still be included in the ten-day quarantine – as before. With another test, this can be reduced to five days. For countries such as South Africa and the United Kingdom, where even more contagious viral mutations are being circumvented, “separate rules” are also to be adopted.
Different rules apply in North Rhine-Westphalia
Not only the frustrated aviation industry thinks it is “disproportionate”. The logic of quarantine has not been revealed to judges of the High Administrative Court in North Rhine-Westphalia. “Illegal,” was their verdict. This means that 18 million citizens of the most populous federal state have different rules for returning passengers than in the rest of the republic. At the turn of the year, flights from Düsseldorf to Mallorca were not badly booked.
The industry appears to have written off January and February. In any case, the current number of passengers is less than ten percent of the normal volume, said the head of the airport association, Ralph Beisel. There are almost no tourists among air passengers. And the companies have also reduced their travel activities “to an absolute minimum”, says the GDR’s business travel association. Therefore, attention has long been focused on the spring, when the vaccination campaign has already progressed.
Check the winter, hope for tests and vaccinations
Comprehensive pre-air tests should then ensure that borders are reopened. On Monday, for example, major US airlines campaigned at the White House to expand transatlantic traffic. This requires a global test program in which passengers must present a negative result before leaving for the United States, according to lobby group A4A. The CDC Disease Protection Agency has already spoken out in favor. As of today, flights to Canada are subject to mandatory pre-departure testing.
Almost nothing happens: This is what it looks like at many airports. Photo: imago images / Eibner
Australia is a little more radical. Qantas has already announced – probably by order of the government – that it will soon allow only passengers with a vaccination certificate to board. Accordingly, the airline will not resume international flights until July. This step has already provoked debate. If the model catches on this year, it will “kill” the travel sector, warned Gloria Guevara, head of the World Tourism Council.
While critics fear “back door vaccination obligations,” experts point out that “it would not be new for me to be vaccinated to enter certain countries,” said Christian Lasser of the University of St. John the Baptist. Gallen. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required in many places. However, for most holidaymakers – especially in Europe – it would be a completely new experience to present their vaccination certificate at check-in.
Should vaccination of passengers be mandatory?
Of course, German citizens can appreciate the idea of getting back on a plane after vaccination. According to Civey’s representative survey for Tagesspiegel Background, the vast majority is for evidence of in-flight vaccination. Especially young and older people are for – for people under 30 and 50 years is the greatest consent. Most age groups among them are against.
The greatest approval for permission to fly vaccinated is in the middle class. Supporters of the Union, the SPD and the Greens are in favor of a clear majority – in the case of the CDU / CSU, it is even almost two thirds. However, the majority are voters from the left, the AfD and, as a remote party, the FDP. By far the biggest refusal can be found on the far right: 83 percent of AfD fans reject proof of vaccination while flying.
At present, it is unlikely that many airlines will follow the example of Qantas. Unless states require proof of vaccination upon entry, most airlines rely on the required testing strategy – simply because they would otherwise face another lost year. In addition, the vaccination campaign will not end in many countries by 2021. Covid-19 expert David Freedman of the University of Alabama says: “For most of the world’s population, especially in developing countries, it will take years for anyone who wants to fly to have the chance to get a vaccine at all. ”