Boeing Modeled the Efficacy of Testing Strategies
Boeing modeling and analysis shows screening protocols offer an alternative to mandatory quarantines for many travel scenarios. The model evaluates the effectiveness of passenger screenings and quarantines in countries around the world. It accounts for various factors including COVID-19 prevalence rates between origin and destination countries, the efficacy of PCR and rapid antigen tests, and the disease timeline (how the disease progresses) for passengers traveling with COVID-19.
The modeling revealed several key findings:
- Data show there are screening protocols (noted below) as effective as a 14-day quarantine
- Screening protocols lower the risk to the destination country
- Screening is most beneficial for travel from higher to lower prevalence areas
The passenger screening model and findings were validated using actual travel testing data from Iceland and Canada. Boeing is now modeling scenarios with vaccinated travelers. As data on new COVID-19 variants becomes available, it will also be incorporated in the model.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to manage the various levels of risk. The economic and social cost of the blanket measures taken by most governments to date has been unnecessarily high. With this modeling, we are demonstrating that we can be smart with calibrated travel policies that address the risks, enable travel, and protect people. Everybody can respect a data-driven decision. That is the way back to normality,” said Walsh.
No single government action can drive a recovery for international travel. The G20 Tourism Ministers endorsed a data-driven approach to reopening borders. The aviation industry is encouraging the G7 to take leadership by agreeing to work together to use the enormous amounts of data collected since the start of COVID-19 to drive a recovery effort. Critically that must restore the freedom to travel for tested or vaccinated persons while avoiding quarantine measures for the vast majority of travelers.
Cooperation to Protect the Healthcare System
Industry risk-management expertise can help the public health sector manage a return toward normality.
“COVID-19 is something that we need to learn to manage, like we do other risks to health. We accept many things in society that we know come with risks—from consuming alcoholic beverages to how we drive. We don’t ban these activities. We have some common-sense rules and the information needed to make sensible decisions about how to manage these risks. The post-pandemic future means doing the same for COVID-19 so we can all get on with our lives. There is no completely risk-free protocol. Vaccination will play a big role. And the data we have tells us that screening and testing protocols can make travel safely accessible for all,” said Walsh.
“Government policies are naturally risk averse. By contrast, the private sector has great experience in managing risks every day to deliver its products and services. COVID-19 now appears to be becoming endemic. This means that COVID-19 is not likely to disappear anytime soon, so governments and industry must work together to rebuild global connectivity while managing the associated risks. The first step is for governments to evaluate the threshold of risk of virus introduction that they can effectively manage. Then they need to identify with industry feasible strategies to enable an increase in international travel without exceeding those thresholds. Airbus, Boeing and IATA have demonstrated some possible solutions. Now we need more intense and transparent dialogue between governments and the airline industry to move from models to policy and ultimately facilitate international travel,” said Professor David Heymann of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.