A top doctor for a body consisting of airline companies suggested that the aviation industry not only wait for a vaccine. Carriers should partner with regulators to boost testing among passengers, the medical adviser recommended. 

The Suffering Airline Industry

Airline companies suffer in the pandemic, with the demand for air travel still very low. Carriers burn cash as many even skip flying amid fears over the coronavirus. Airlines resort to pulling several stunts to counter the effects of the pandemic. Some chose reducing workforce size, some decrease fleet. And some airlines even made flying more attractive by waiving fees for flight changes.

Right now, it seems that the only endgame is a widely-distributed vaccine. But International Air Transport Association’s chief medical adviser David Powell disagrees, per Bloomberg. 

‘Many Cases Are Asymptomatic’

Previously, even before the pandemic disrupted economies in different parts of the world, experts recommended only handwashing, even for Powell. Nobody recommended wearing masks. But as more understanding came our way, the consensus agrees on wearing face masks.

Bloomberg quoted Powell saying: “We recognize that a percentage of COVID cases can be asymptomatic. That’s the reason for that change in position.”

Dr. Powell: Testing Is the Key

For the IATA’s chief doctor, implementing public health safety protocols would not suffice. In addition to wearing face masks and sanitizing both the hands and most-used surfaces, Powell recommended a team-up between carriers and authorities.

For the IATA doctor, the solution is testing. In an interview with Bloomberg, Powell noted that “the ideal protection is to avoid people who are infectious.” He said that airlines should work with experts to include COVID-19 testing for passengers prior to boarding.

Moreover, Powell suggested that carriers need “a test that’s reliable and fast enough.” He added that the testing must also meet “huge numbers.”

However, as Bloomberg noted, Powell’s suggestion would not be easy. The publication remarked that coronavirus test kit makers need to meet global demand.

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