KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 ― Capital A Bhd chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes has called for a more sustainable approach to aid the region’s aviation industry to recover from the impact of pandemic-driven movement restrictions.

He said that travel restrictions make sense in the early stages of an outbreak and, over the past two years, Malaysia has learned to deal with Covid-19 with masks, social distancing and vaccines.

“When cases are few and contagion paths traceable, it buys time to learn more about the virus, prepare hospitals and roll out vaccines.

“But a key lesson that has not sunk in is the futility of long-term travel restrictions,” he said in his LinkedIn account today.

Fernandes explained that travel bans tend to stay on for a while even when no longer useful.

“Once a virus or variant is freely circulating in a country, any imported infections make very little difference to the burden of the disease but citizens suffer disproportionately due to social and economic impact of the travel ban,” he said.

Another issue, he added, is that people still get permission to cross borders, such as essential workers and diplomats.

“Successful long-term travel bans like those seen in Australia and New Zealand came at an enormous cost to both their own global links and to their own citizens, and are unsustainable.

“The better and more sustainable approach is to promote cost-effective policies (vaccines and boosters) and deploy common sense,” Fernandes said.

He also said that a ban should not be imposed just to be seen as decisive, as measures should always aim to be proportionate and minimally disruptive. ― Bernama