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Tourism

Testing before traveling would be important to curb covid-19, says WHO expert

Epidemiologist Walter Firmino considered this Wednesday that testing passengers before boarding an airplane would be an important measure to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus that causes covid-19.

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"For travelers coming from countries where there is community circulation or an active situation of the virus, it was necessary before embarking to be tested," the World Health Organization (WHO) emergency official in Angola told Lusa.

Some airlines have already announced that they are going to do rapid tests for the covid-19, an approach that the expert considers "very important" from an epidemiological point of view, but for the time being is not validated by the WHO.

For Walter Firmino, "it is important that countries take security measures" when commercial aviation is reopened, underlining the importance of expanding the tests.

The WHO official recalled that 80 percent of people with the new coronavirus will be asymptomatic, so temperature measurement at airports alone is not enough.

"It is important that tests be carried out for all people who are traveling so as not to import the virus again. There is a need to take these measures, but that will depend on each country," he told Lusa.

The epidemiologist pointed out, on the other hand, that there is a shortage of tests worldwide and that African countries have had problems with the acquisition of the analyzes.

Asked whether a bulletin for covid-19 could be created, similar to the bulletin of mandatory vaccines against certain diseases, required in Angola and other countries, he said that infection cannot be compared to endemic diseases such as yellow fever, but he admits that documentation may be required.

"We can't get there yet, but if, by chance, we get the vaccine, we can go there, it could be a viable situation," said the specialist.