Knee-jerk omicron shutdown exhibits lack of presidency coordination

The “knee-jerk” reaction from countries imposing border restrictions due to the new omicron Covid variant show that, according to CAPA – Center for Aviation – governments haven’t learned much about how to deal with Covid-19 effectively.

Multiple countries including the USA, Canada, UK and Singapore Postponed last week to restrict travel from southern Africa after the World Health Organization (WHO) flagged Omicron, which was first discovered in South Africa, a Variant of concern.

The newly identified strain has a large number of mutations and worrying properties that health professionals are concerned about.

Israel and Japan led a. a Prohibition for all foreign visitors.

Nearly two years after the pandemic, “we don’t seem to have really learned much,” CAPA chair emeritus Peter Harbison told CNBC “Squawk Box Asia” Thursday.

“There is very little coordination between governments about what we do. It’s like a squat every time,” he said, calling for a “multilateral consensus.”

The Chief Medical Advisor to the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Wednesday defended the U.S. travel restrictions, describing them as a temporary measure designed to buy time for health officials.

The WHO has warned countries against this impose blanket travel bans, argues that it will “worsen inequalities”. The UN health panel called instead for an “evidence-based” approach, including more screenings and possible quarantines.

South Africa has also slammed the travel restrictions as “unjustified”.

From Wednesday, 23 countries worldwide reported cases of the strongly mutated Omicron-Covid-19 variant.

Disastrous prospects for travel

The prevailing disjointed approach is having “catastrophic” effects on global recovery, said Harbison, whose agency provides market intelligence to the aviation and travel industries.

“The industry has to face the fact that it is not going to go away anytime soon and we will inevitably get these reactions every time there is a new burden that it will be very clear,” he said.

A passenger wears a face mask when she saw a coronavirus variant called Omicron on 29. 19.

MOHD RASFAN | AFP | Getty Images

Even before the advent of the Omicron tribe, the outlook for the travel industry – and especially aviation – was bleak.

The International Air Transport Association Forecast in October that next year international air traffic will struggle to approach pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Asia hardest hit

The Asian aerospace industry is expected to be hardest hit in 2022, only reaching 11% of 2019 levels based on pre-omicron estimates. In comparison, 75% in Europe and 65% on the routes Europe-North America.

Compared to other parts of the world, Asia has so far only slowly opened up and lifted travel restrictions.

Singapore pioneered the resumption of travel in the region and took off bilateral travel agreements – known as vaccinated travel routes (VTLs) – with different countries including several neighboring neighbors.

If Singapore goes like this and really starts to close, then I guess [it] sends a very bad signal.

Peter Harbison

Chairman emeritus, CAPA – Center for Aviation

However, Harbison said the country’s response to the Omicron outbreak is being closely monitored.

“If Singapore goes down this path and really begins to close, I think it sends a very bad signal to the rest of the region,” he said.

However, China – Asia’s largest contributor to international tourism – continues to have the greatest impact on the region’s recovery. With little signs of China’s repeal international border restrictions In the short term, the effects on the industry could still be felt for some time.

“China has a massive impact on this region in terms of travel, so if they don’t move, this region in particular suffers,” said Harbison.