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An absence of shared journey logs may value the world trillions of dollars, says Dubai Airports CEO

Countries have yet to agree on how to safely resume travel amid the coronavirus crisis, and that could cost the global economy trillions of dollars, according to the Dubai Airports managing director.

"We don't have an agreed test procedure for a reliable, accurate and scalable test, and that has to be done," Paul Griffiths told CNBC's Hadley Gamble on Monday.

"Second, there is no harmonization between control measures and the need for a quarantine system that is both effective and non-intrusive," he said. Dubai Airports owns the airports Dubai International and Dubai World Central in the United Arab Emirates.

The aviation industry has been hit by the coronavirus outbreak and air traffic nearly stalled as countries closed their borders to slow the spread of the virus.

Some markets have since reopened, but with different measures.

Coordinating three things – testing, travel log and quarantine – is the "essential next step in getting the world moving again," Griffiths said.

"The big problem right now is global, governments are trying to eliminate risk," he said. "In my opinion we will never get there."

Instead, countries should manage risk and strike a balance between security and the recovery of the world economy.

A tourist walks through Terminal 3 of Dubai Airport in the United Arab Emirates on July 8, 2020.

Giuseppe Cacace | AFP | Getty Images

Griffiths said governments had not focused on the economic and social benefits of practical management of the virus. "That has to change if we are to get somewhere, to return to a form of normal life that we all desperately want to achieve."

When asked about the cost to the world economy if travel stays in suspension, he said, "I think we already have tens of trillion dollars."

On the other hand, the global price to fix the situation is "just tiny," he added.

"If we could bring a group of like-minded people together to harmonize these three simple steps of a properly harmonized quarantine, testing, and travel protocol and simply agree on what their standards are … speak of a fraction of the damage that the economy does is being inflicted globally, "said Griffiths.

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