International travel restrictions during COVID – Reopening the skies 

February 2, 2022 • Reading time 2 minutes


Since Spring 2020, international air travel has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and associated restrictions. Restrictions that were introduced around the globe often involved multiple tests and quarantine requirements. Restriction regimes led to a substantial decline in travel often keeping families separated at difficult times. For those that did travel, the cost of travel testing has been substantial, often complex, and occasionally leading to significant disruption. 

A challenge for the aviation sector and governments across the globe has been to understand the rapidly evolving evidence base, and to inform life changing policy decisions.  

Our support

Since 2020, a collaboration between Edge Health’s health and data science team with Oxera’s aviation experts have provided independent support to the aviation sector to help develop a robust understanding of the evidence on international travel restrictions. In early 2022, our work on the limited value of restrictions and testing led to the removal of all restrictions in UK and is now directly influencing the removal of restrictions across the globe.  

History of our support

In late 2020, landmark work from Edge Health and Oxera led to the removal of the UK’s blanket 14 day quarantine restrictions for international travelers.
This quarantine restriction was replaced by a greater reliance on COVID testing – a trend seen across the globe in 2021. The policy towards testing evolved over 2021 with support from Edge Health and Oxera, which in general sought to clarify the diminishing value of multiple tests. 

It was not until early 2022 that the true extent of the limited value of international travel restrictions became clear in the aftermath of the Omicron wave of infections – a wave of infections totally unaffected by the extensive international travel restrictions in place at the point in time.
Since early 2022, Edge Health and Oxera have provided similar insight and support across Europe, and most recently for Japan in Asia. 

Further details of our work

Further information ​on our work can be found below. For additional information, please contact George ([email protected]) or Jennifer ([email protected]). 

Edge Health

Edge Health are a specialist UK healthcare analytics consultancy that use data and insights to improve the delivery of health and care services, so that better outcomes can be delivered more efficiently.