It’s Time To Lift U.S. Travel Restrictions On China And Europe

For countries in the containment stage – where the virus isn’t actively spreading – it makes sense to take extreme efforts to avoid introducing the virus.

For countries where the virus is actively spreading, bringing in marginally more cases doesn’t change the trajectory of the virus.

It makes zero sense, though, to ban travel by non-U.S. residents who have been to Europe or China in the last 14 days while not banning travel from Russia, Mexico, Qatar, India, Iran.

Spread of the virus has declined significantly in Italy, France, and Germany. While no longer in the exponential growth stage, new cases in the U.S. have plateaued at a little over 20,000 per day.

Travel restrictions are not a logical policy to keep in place everywhere in response to SARS-CoV-2.

  • Brazil currently isn’t permitting entry into the country by anyone that isn’t a citizen or resident.

  • Brazil is experiencing faster growth of the virus than the U.S. with more new cases in most recent days despite a smaller population.

It’s understandable why people would avoid traveling to Brazil. But what is the Brazilian government afraid of, that an Icelandic resident might add one new case a day to the 20,000 – 30,000 confirmeds each day Brazil is already experiencing?

Spain and Italy are down to 200 – 300 new confirmed cases each per day. If every one of those people traveled to the U.S. and stayed in a major city where the virus is already circulating it’s unlikely to alter the trajectory of the virus. Though of course that’s not how opening travel works.

The China travel ban failed because the CDC blew its implementation and the Europe travel ban came too late. Those were policies that might have helped if implemented at the right time and in the right way back in January and February. But they no longer make sense in June.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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