In light of the increasing number of cancelled and rerouted flights now arising due to Coronavirus fears, as well as the implementation of additional travel measures for passengers, ICAO wishes to encourage all governments and airlines to keep informed of the latest travel and health recommendations being issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and follow these recommendations.
Updated WHO advice and recommendations, in addition to related bulletins issued by ICAO, the CDC, and other regional and international aviation organizations, are all freely accessible to any officials or the general public through the ICAO CAPSCA Coronavirus web page.
ICAO would further remind national governments of their obligation under the International Health Regulations (IHR) to inform the WHO of their public health rationales and justifications when implementing additional health measures that may significantly interfere with international traffic, within 48 hours of their implementation. We support calls to all countries not to impose restrictions inconsistent with the International Health Regulations, and for more rapid collaboration between the public and private sectors to develop the diagnostics, medicines, and vaccines we need to bring this outbreak under control.
WHO guidance material is based on expert and reliable information, and informed by the need to maintain a sustainable and supportive environment in the face of associated health and travel risks. Exceeding its recommendations without having conducted an appropriate risk assessment could lead to unnecessary and negative impacts, especially for the many vulnerable or isolated populations which rely so importantly on their global aviation connections.
States’ implementation of the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) that relate to the preparedness and management of public health emergencies is essential. These are contained in:
- Annex 6 to the Chicago Convention – regarding universal precaution kits;
- Annex 9 – regarding compliance with the International Health Regulations and facilities required for public health measures at airports;
- Annex 11 – regarding contingency plans in the event of potential disruption of services;
- Annex 14 – regarding aerodrome emergency plan for public health emergencies;
- Annex 15 – regarding requirements for flight crew advisories; and
- PANS-ATM – regarding procedures for reporting suspected communicable diseases.