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Passengers’ Covid-19 testing guidelines can set global safety standards

(Reuters) – A global aviation handbook currently under review by a UN agency will propose global guidelines for using highly reliable tests to check passengers for the new coronavirus before flights, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Airlines and airports are pushing for unified global testing guidelines to lift the stringent quarantine requirements that affect travel. The IATA, the international aviation association, forecasts a 66% decrease in air traffic in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Currently, travel restrictions and the use of tests vary around the world. Certain airlines require passengers to obtain a negative coronavirus test certificate, although some countries allow non-quarantine visitors while others ban all non-essential foreigners.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) manual on cross-border risk management tests and measures planned for November offers voluntary technical guidelines, but does not oblige countries to remove quarantines.

The manual is not expected to suggest specific tests such as antigen or PCR, the sources say. Instead, he will recommend screening passengers with a test with a sensitivity and specificity rate of 95% so that there are few false positives or false negatives, the sources added.

Another suggestion is for passengers to be tested up to 48 hours before they travel, but not necessarily at the airport, according to the sources, who refused to be identified as the discussions are confidential.

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