The world must prioritise equitable health care and also reclaim the earlier normality
- Government has allowed fully vaccinated passengers to skip the mandatory quarantine period.
- Requirement of compulsory on-arrival testing for passengers from certain countries identified as “at-risk” has also been removed.
- Involves reconnecting countries or states which have shown a good level of success in containing the Covid-19 pandemic domestically.
- It allows members of group to restart trade ties with each other and open travel and tourism.
- According to a report, potential travel bubbles among better-performing countries around the world would account for around 35% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
India’s travel bubble agreement
- Currently, India has air bubble agreements with 35 countries.
- Government earlier decided to resume international flights but withdrew due to Omicron variant.
- Tourism industry estimates that COVID-19 has caused losses of ₹150 lakh-crore since March 2020.
- Prior to pandemic, India had at least 1.1 crore inbound tourists, 2.7 crore outbound tourists annually
- New relaxations appear to be in line to recoup these numbers.
Why it has been done?
- India’s daily trajectory of fresh COVID-19 cases is declining
- Speed of readingly declining cases is due to change in testing attitudes, easy availability of rapid antigen tests that can be self-administered.
- So, More cases being registered outside Government-tracked RT-PCR testing and are not reflecting in official case counts.
- Relative mildness of Omicron variant, compared to earlier variant,
- Those infected did not need hospitalisation
- Availability of vaccines has also contributed to the third wave posing a diminished health threat.
- Varied results internationally from booster doses, in that they were not enough to deter transmission, led to broader acceptance: coronavirus cannot be eliminated by vaccines alone
- Can be repelled eventually with mix of approaches, such as wearing masks, vaccination and accepting short lockdowns.
- The opening of schools and normalising of air travel imply that world must learn to prioritise equitable health care and improve hygiene
- Also, move forward, reclaim and repair social and economic remnants of pre-pandemic period.