Coronavirus World

AirAsia boss accuses governments of overreacting to Omicron threat

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The CEO of the AirAsia Group says governments shouldn’t panic over the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. The Bangkok Post reports that Tony Fernandes says officials should instead focus on reducing the cost of PCR testing.

“It’s a huge overreaction. We don’t know anything about this variant yet. Let’s wait and see before we jump the gun.”

Fernandes says the world is now in a much better place to control the virus and deal with variants like Omicron, given the new treatments that are being made available.

“There are Merck pills and Pfizer pills are coming out. We are vaccinated. There are boosters available. I’m feeling much more bullish, and I am not doom and gloom. Governments need to use common sense and see what is needed. I think travel restrictions are temporary and the world is global. No matter how much we close the borders, the viruses will travel.”

However, the AirAsia boss has slammed the high price of PCR testing, which is an entry requirement for many countries, including Thailand. Fernandes says the high cost of the tests risks deterring would-be travellers, no matter how much they long for an overseas holiday.

“No government has looked at the cost of the PCR test. PCR tests in Southeast Asia are extremely expensive. It’s unfair for passengers to pay that kind of cost. Of course, we want to be safe, but make it as simple as possible.”

However, he did praise Thailand for its attempts to ease up on measures such as mandatory quarantine, in a bid to attract more foreign tourists.

“Thailand is ahead of the rest of ASEAN, which is still quite draconian. In Malaysia, we have a 7-day quarantine. It’s a start. At least we are opening up borders, but there’s a long way to go before we get to where we used to be.”

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Maya Taylor

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