Two years on. Who would have thought? | R.D.


On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the pandemic. To mark this unwelcome second anniversary, the Airports Council International (Europe) and the International Air Transport Association have called for the lifting of all Covid travel restrictions within the EU, including the need to show proof of vaccination.

The two organisations offer reasons why there should be elimination. These include the drastic reduction in the risk of hospitalisation because of Covid. Vaccination has been the key, while evidence over the past couple of years has indicated that border restrictions are ineffective. By the time a variant of concern is detected, cross-border transmission has already occurred. No more tests, no more Passenger Locator Forms, no more Covid passports. These should all go. And should they? Ireland, for one, believes so and has scrapped the need for any of them for passengers arriving in Ireland. Why not other countries?

Fernando Simón, the director of Spain’s Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies, once cast doubt on the need for Covid passports for bars and restaurants. Where there were high vaccination rates, why were these needed? The vaccination rates apply to travel as well.

Plus, there is the widespread nature of Omicron and the level of public immunity. Maybe there is a reason for maintaining these measures, for now at least, and that is to give a sense of security to passengers who need this. Otherwise, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify them.

Two years on. Who would have thought?