When covid-19 swept around the world, countries were quick to lockdown, and lockout. Entry has been largely restricted, and only now are countries beginning to look at reopening borders.
But like all things with the pandemic, the devil is in the details, and countries are still erring on the side of caution. For many, that means 14 tough days of mandatory quarantine, without leaving your hotel, besides of course the hefty expense. While it exists, travel largely will not.
After encouraging studies, Canada is officially set to trial covid-19 testing regimes in place of lengthy quarantines, starting with arrivals into Alberta as soon as next week. This means arrivals into Calgary International Airport and land borders will be able to experience shorter quarantine, with double testing.
Quarantine should be replaced with COVID-19 testing of travellers before departure and upon arrival, an airline and business groups said last week. They said the move would boost U.S. international air travel, which is down 78% year-over-year for the most recent seven-day period, according to airline industry data.
The groups, which include the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airlines for America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, airline unions and the U.S. Travel Association, called on the Trump administration, state governors and international partners “to pursue a risk-based and data-driven approach to COVID-19 testing which would obviate the need for quarantines and travel bans so that the travel network can be safely re-opened.”
The groups added that “travel quarantines are decimating our industry.”
Currently, most of Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, and 18 states the U.S. have some type of quarantine for arriving travellers, the groups said. Hawaii last week began allowing airline passengers who tested negative for COVID-19 to avoid a two-week mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
Australia at the moment only allows New Zealanders to enter without quarantine, which only works one way. The New Zealanders that visit Australia, are required to quarantine for 14 days when they return back home.
Most of Europe is once again in lockdown due to the out of control numbers of community transmissions, therefore it bans travellers where the community transmission is high including the U.S, most of the South American Countries, and India. The UK allows Americans to visit but requires a two-week quarantine upon arrival.
The United States still has in place entry bans on nearly all non-U.S. citizens who recently were in China, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, Iran, and countries in the Europe Schengen border area.
It is clear that the continued restrictions on international travel and quarantine policies are hampering the recovery of the economy, in Australia, the US, Europe, and all those countries with severe restrictions.
The Australian government has been holding high-level discussions with a number of countries about the possibility of establishing “travel bubbles” that would allow travel or reduce quarantines if passengers agreed to COVID-19 tests before departure and upon arrival.
Rising coronavirus community transmission mostly in Europe, the United States, India, and most of South America, pose a hurdle to lifting restrictions.
Edited by: Joe Cusmano