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Quarantine-free travel from the U.S. to Europe shows the first, small signs of becoming reality


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­New preflight testing applications are permitting a small quantity of Americans to have a European Christmas vacation this 12 months in any case.

On Tuesday, Delta Air Lines launched a Covid-19 testing program for patrons flying from Atlanta to Amsterdam, whereas a second program is scheduled to begin on Saturday for Delta passengers flying to Rome.

Unlike different preflight testing applications being carried out by American and United Airlines, Delta’s applications permit passengers to keep away from quarantine necessities in Europe.

Three checks to Amsterdam, and 4 for Rome

Delta is speaking to different governments about launching extra quarantine-free flights, together with a New York to Rome connection, Reuters reported this week.

Italy’s nationwide provider, Alitalia, on Dec. eight began three weekly flights on that route which permit passengers to keep away from quarantines in the event that they current a detrimental Covid-19 take a look at carried out inside 48 hours prior to the flight or carry out a speedy take a look at at the airport earlier than boarding.

Alitalia prospects departing from the United States should additionally cross a speedy take a look at upon arrival to keep away from Italy’s quarantine obligation.

Program eligibility

Delta’s two preflight applications can be found to “all citizens permitted to travel to the Netherlands or Italy for essential reasons, such as for certain specified work, health and education reasons,” in accordance to Delta’s web site.

Americans have been blocked from getting into the European Union because it closed its exterior borders final March. The U.S. was not on a listing of international locations permitted to enter the EU beginning July 1, a listing which has since dwindled as international locations have struggled to comprise coronavirus outbreaks inside their borders.

However, some vacationers are in a position to enter the EU by exemptions, which embody individuals who present “an essential function or need” corresponding to well being care professionals and researchers, diplomats, army personnel, humanitarian support staff and passengers touring for crucial household causes, amongst others.

Airlines aren’t ready for vaccines

Covid flight danger? Depends who you ask

Throughout the pandemic, the airline trade has tried to enhance security requirements and instill confidence amongst potential passengers, with numerous specialists and entities serving up statistics on the danger of an infection that fluctuate dramatically:

·       1 in 4,300 based mostly on a full two-hour flight in the U.S. with everybody carrying a masks (a examine by Arnold Barnett, professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

·       1 in 7,700 if center seats are vacant (Barnett, MIT)

·       1 in 1.7 million (Boeing)

·       1 in 27 million (International Air Transport Association)

IATA’s determine was based mostly on 44 identified or suspected circumstances of inflight Covid-19 transmissions in some 1.2 billion flight passengers this 12 months, a statistic that U.S. infectious illness specialist Dr. David Freedman referred to as “bad math.”

“One-point-two billion passengers during 2020 is not a fair denominator because hardly anybody was tested. How do you know how many people really got infected?” he advised Reuters. “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

IATA cited an article co-authored by Freedman in the Journal of Travel Medicine to assist its knowledge. However, the Sept. 25 article acknowledges that the “U.S. CDC has stated awareness of 1,600 cases on U.S. flights and 11,000 contacts within 2 rows but has not yet published in-flight transmission estimates” — a scenario which “may be partly related to current economic or political circumstances.”

At the article’s conclusion, Freedman referred to as the lack of giant numbers of confirmed in-flight Covid-19 transmissions “encouraging but … not definitive evidence that fliers are safe.”



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