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Iata working with WHO and civil aviation body on testing regime

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is working to set up a testing system that will replace compulsory quarantine to help revive the airline industry that's been decimated by the coronavirus outbreak.

[SINGAPORE] The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is working to set up a testing system that will replace compulsory quarantine to help revive the airline industry that's been decimated by the coronavirus outbreak.

IATA, which represents about 290 airlines globally, is working with the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Health Organization to put in place scalable, affordable and fast testing systems, Conrad Clifford, IATA's regional vice-president for Asia Pacific, said.

"We're saying we need testing because we need to get rid of quarantines," Mr Clifford said in an interview on Bloomberg Television Monday. "What we've seen so far is if there's a 14-day quarantine, it's the same as closing your borders." Mr Clifford said IATA would "prefer to see some testing before departure and ideally, if we can find countries with similar levels of Covid risk, much like Singapore and Hong Kong, then that takes away the need for further testing".

Singapore and Hong Kong agreed last week to open their borders to one another for the first time in almost seven months, exempting people in both cities from compulsory quarantine to help reinstate links between Asia's two premier financial hubs. Details on the arrangement, which is expected to start within weeks, haven't yet been publicly laid out.

Mr Clifford said ideally, Covid-19 tests should cost less than US$10.

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