Dubai based Emirates has announced that it will be the first airline to offer free medical insurance for passengers in case they contact COVID-19, this came via a tweet from Emirates’ chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
(h/t Jon Howell)
However there’s a much bigger piece of news behind this announcement. Which is that Emirates – and presumably Etihad as well – will now be operating a Testing Before Travel (TBT) policy.
According to the National Newspaper from August 1st, a COVID-19 (negative) test certificate must be produced by all passengers flying into the UAE no more than 96 hours before travel.
Crucially, following cases where Emirates unwittingly flew people who had COVID to Hong Kong and Australia via DXB this now applies to transit passengers as well.
At time of writing, the airlines had not yet produced an official announcement on their websites so some of the details of how this will work are still to be confirmed.
However, this is an important first. Even though the instigators of this policy were the UAE authorities, major international airlines are now requiring passengers to be tested *before* they fly.
It’s recognition that on it’s own, steps like introducing thermal scanners won’t stop people who have the virus from flying. For one thing, around 40% of people who have Covid are asymptomatic anyway.
It will also without a doubt increase confidence with both passengers and staff – you will know everyone on the flight with you has been tested. This could be the one thing to make the whole middle seat debate go away.
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