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The COVID Air Travel Bans Have Outlived Their Moment

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14.07.2021

Because of COVID-19, visitors still cannot fly directly to the United States from China, Europe, Brazil, South Africa or India (or Iran, but there are other reasons for that). Although colloquially called "travel bans," these policies are not actually bans, and never were.

I would know—I helped create them while serving in Donald Trump's White House Counsel's office. The travel restrictions require visitors from identified hot spots to wait (not even quarantine) in a non-hot spot for 14 days before coming to the United States. Of course, that is way easier said than done, but the restrictions' structure sheds light on their purpose: keeping the risk of importing coronavirus lower than the risk of spreading it naturally.

For example, if 30 percent of a country's population had COVID-19, and less than 1 percent of the U.S. population had COVID, travel restrictions would make sense because every plane full of visitors from that country creates a higher risk of COVID spread than that same number of Americans would. Even when the United States had the same COVID transmission rates as other........

© Newsweek


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