Budapest Post

Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate
Budapest, Europe and world news

Do restrictions on travel work against Covid?

Do restrictions on travel work against Covid?

The UK government has confirmed passengers arriving in England from China will have to provide a negative Covid test before they board a flight.

Several countries - including the US, Japan, Italy and Malaysia - are now enforcing testing on visitors from China following the effective ending of Beijing's zero-Covid policy,

But do such restrictions work?

What happened earlier in the pandemic?

Australia imposed some of the strictest travel restrictions. From 2020, it closed its borders to non-residents and banned Australians from travelling abroad (with a few exceptions).

Countries such as the UK were more lenient. They required international arrivals to use quarantine hotels and take Covid tests.

After the pandemic began in 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated it didn't generally support travel bans, as they were "usually not effective".

It said: "Travel measures that significantly interfere with international traffic may only be justified at the beginning of an outbreak, as they may allow countries to gain time."

After the emergence of the Omicron variant it again warned against blanket travel bans, saying they would not stop the global spread.

"They can adversely impact global health efforts... by dis-incentivising countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data," it said.




What is the WHO saying now?

The WHO's director general said he was "very concerned over the evolving situation in China, with increasing reports of severe disease".

He said that the WHO needed more detailed information to understand the risks created by the situation on the ground in China.

And on Twitter he added: "In the absence of comprehensive information from China, it is understandable that countries around the world are acting in ways that they believe may protect their populations."

Would restrictions work?


Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group told BBC News: "Trying to ban a virus by adjusting what we do with travel has already been shown not to work very well.

"We've seen that with the bans on travel from various countries during the pandemic, that hasn't stopped those viruses travelling around the world eventually."

The word "eventually" is important here, because studies suggest that travel restrictions tend only to delay the spread of the virus spreading in a country, but cannot keep it out completely.

A report in the British Medical Journal found that international border restrictions could delay the spread by two months.

One of its authors, Dr Karen Grepin from Hong Kong University, told Reality Check: "We have learned during the pandemic that universal measures, applying to all travellers not just those from certain countries, are more effective than targeted measures, for example against Chinese travellers.

"The only type of travel restrictions that have been shown to be effective during the pandemic are those that involve lengthy quarantine periods and I don't think there is a lot of appetite for such measures at this point."

What other research was there?


Research published in the journal Nature, in December 2020, said restrictions worked well as Covid first began to spread around the world, but became less effective the later they were introduced.

A study by the WZB Berlin Social Science Center in Germany looking at travel restrictions and death rates in more than 180 countries reached similar conclusions and added:

* the biggest impact was when countries banned travel before recording 10 or more deaths

* quarantine for all travellers was more effective than entry bans (which in some cases exempted returning nationals).

Another scientist advising the UK government, Prof Mark Woolhouse, told Reality Check that restricting arrivals from China to the UK would not do much to limit the number of Covid cases in this country.

"We have far too many Covid-19 cases here in the UK at present for imported cases to make a significant contribution," he said.


What about new variants?


It has also been suggested that restrictions would prevent potential new variants of Covid reaching the UK.

However, if there is such a variant, said Prof Woolhouse, travel restrictions would be too late.

"It will almost certainly have got here already," he said,

"Measures could only work if the variant happens to emerge during the period the measures are in place and even then they will only delay, not prevent, the arrival of the variant."

Besides, a new variant is not more likely to come in from China than from anywhere else in the world.

"Though China is clearly experiencing a substantial wave there is no reason to suspect that wave will be a crucible for the emergence of new variants," said Prof Woolhouse.

"The next variant is at least as likely to emerge from somewhere entirely different - there are currently around four million reported cases per week worldwide (and surely far larger numbers are unreported). So why concentrate only on China?"

However, the WHO has said it is concerned that China is not sharing information about its latest Covid surge, possibly including the emergence of any new variants.

"Targeted border measures against China may be more of a political statement in response to lack of information-sharing than a sincere attempt to promote public health," said Catherine Worsnop from the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Budapest Post
Close
0:00
0:00
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Shell reports highest profits in 115 years
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Hungary ready to sue EU over cuts to Erasmus funding
EU against democracy: Hungary's mail-in poll on Russia sanctions dismissed by Brussels
2023 - The Year of the Rabbit
Israelis rally in three cities against Netanyahu legal reforms
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Dirty bomb fears as URANIUM is found in cargo at Heathrow
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Saudi Arabia’s female ambassadors: Who are the five women representing the Kingdom?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
Clashes erupt in central Paris after shooting at a Kurdish cultural center
×