Focusing on travellers from China will not stop the world
While governments have defended these measures as science-based and effective, consensus on border management during this pandemic is still elusive. Chinese officials quickly denounce any new rules being driven by political motives. This is not easy to disprove, considering that earlier measures targeting specific countries proved not effective in stopping the spread of new, globally circulated versions like Omicron.
The use of testing is effective as an effective travel measure.
The evidence available suggests that testing with other measures could decrease the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 from a high to low-incidence level when applied early ,consistently, and rigorously.
Testing should be in line with the latest research on the efficacy of various tests as well as the duration of incubation of multiple variants. Testing must be integrated with other methods of prevention, including quarantine and contact tracer, to avoid further transmission.
The introduction of pre-departure tests only for certain travelers who are from countries of particular interest is not likely to limit the introduction of new variants. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
The introduction of pre-departure screening only for certain travelers who are from countries that have been targeted is not going to help achieve the goals of these programs for a variety of reasons. When a subvariant or subvariant is deemed to be significant, the amount of global human movement means that it has already taken hold of countries that were not targeted.
Two of the known Omicron lineages responsible for the rise in the number of infections within a low-immune Chinese population – the subvariants BA.5.2 as well as BF.7 -which can be identified in the literature as ” known and… already circulating in other countries” in most of 2022.
If a new version of the law emerges, specific measures such as the ones being used now will have a limited preventive impact. This is due to the fact that global travel patterns mean that people travel with lots of others on their travels, frequently passing through multiple nations.
Additionally, relying on a testing window prior to departure overlooks the possibility of different time periods for incubation, false positives or even new exposures within the time period just prior to the departure.
It also makes no sense to test a few incoming travelers for slow introductions and then taking away public health precautions and allowing uncontrolled transmission in the domestic environment.
How can travel measures be employed in the present?
In the wake of the inconsistent and frequently uncoordinated application of travel measures around the world Our research in the Pandemics and Borders Project uncovers some lessons to learn from their application three years after the pandemic COVID-19.
The first is that there isn’t going to be enough capacity or willingness to test all travelers and continuously stop the introduction of a new strain of the virus. Instead, random testing of all travelers and the sequencing of genomics and positive tests will provide vital surveillance information during a period when the virus is rapidly changing and spreading across travel.
This could be complemented by tests of the effluent from, for instance, aircrafts, cruise ships, and airplanes. Tests of travelers for surveillance of populations and sentinel monitoring could provide early warning of any new strains of disease.
A person wearing a suit of protection is on his way to collect COVID samples from lockdown residents of Beijing on Dec. 1st 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
The second reason is that proven travel measures are best framed to improve risk reduction and enable, not restrict, travel. Public health messages must challenge those who promote populist narratives, such as, for instance, wearing masks during flights is an infraction of personal liberty. violation of liberty for the individual. The proper use of testing, masking, and vaccinations enhances freedoms for individuals by ensuring a safe environment for all passengers.