World Health Organization and International Labour Organization agree to form an Action Group to ensure implementation of COVID-19 protocols for transport workers.
Crisis talks held as nations rush to unilaterally reinstate travel restrictions, following the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Plans are underway to institute a ‘Yellow Card’ style covid vaccine document for international transport workers.
Further solutions on the freedom of movement for transport workers will be discussed at the UN Secretary General’s Executive Committee in January.
World Health Organisation Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus and ILO Director-General Guy Ryder have confirmed their organisations will form an Action Group “as a matter of urgency” with major transport bodies to ensure freedom of movement for international transport workers.
The commitment came after organisations and unions representing road, air and sea companies and workers met with Dr Tedros and Mr Ryder last week. They warned of the impact of new travel restrictions on transport workers and the already fragile global supply chain in the wake of the Omicron variant.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Road Transport Union (IRU), and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), have made urgent pleas for governments’ health departments to coordinate measures and avoid restricting the movement of transport workers.
谭德塞在会上表示，行动小组的工作将于本周开始，未来将与 IATA、ICS、ITF 和 IRU 定期举行会议。他指出，其他重点领域将包括修订世卫发出的医疗护照「黄卡」，以供运输工人作疫苗接种证明。
Dr Tedros said during the meeting that work on the Action Group would begin this week and regular meetings will be held with IATA, ICS, ITF and IRU going forward. He noted other areas of focus will include amending the Yellow Card, a medical passport issued by WHO, to be used by transport workers as proof of vaccination.
国际航空运输协会 (IATA)、国际航运商会 (ICS)、国际道路运输联盟 (IRU) 和国际运输工人联盟 (ITF) 已紧急呼吁各国政府卫生部门协调相应措施，避免过度限制运输工人行动。
The Action Group will ensure the implementation of existing travel protocols developed by industry to protect the rights of transport workers. The WHO and the ILO also confirmed that the UN Secretary General’s Executive Committee in January 2022 will discuss further solutions to issues raised by the transport organisations.
The transport bodies, which represent more than $20 trillion of world trade annually and 65 million global transport workers across the supply chain, had previously shared fears that ‘knee-jerk’ decisions made by governments to reimpose travel restrictions for transport workers in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant could shatter supply chains and delay global economic recovery.
Since Omicron was noted as a ‘variant of concern’ by WHO, some 56 nations have updated COVID tightened travel restrictions in response. The transport bodies expressed frustration that governments were reneging on clear steps issued to world leaders in September to guarantee the free and safe movement of transport workers. With Omicron’s emergence making it even more important to ensure priority vaccination for transport workers, the organisations said, the WHO should encourage countries to adopt the tried and tested travel and health protocols for seafarers and drivers which the WHO has itself endorsed.