Corona Virus Travel Bans
Last Updated On: March 16, 2020 by admin
The last meaningful global pandemic was declared for the disease SARS (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003. Despite SARS being declared a pandemic, the disease didn’t spread anywhere near as fast as the present coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19. The spread of the current coronavirus has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) because countries need to put in place action plans designed to reduce the scale and spread of the pandemic. This is so a country’s health service can shoulder the burden of treating people who are experiencing the more serious symptoms of the virus that may mean a spell in a hospital is required. Italy is a lesson to be learned on acting quickly, as their slow response, even in a part of the country that has some of the best health services in the world, cannot effectively assist all those who have come down with the virus.
Purpose of travel bans
One of the most effective ways of handling a crisis like this is imposing travel bans so that medical services only have to deal with a trickle of cases at any one time. It won’t stop the spread completely, but the intention is to slow the transmission rates down so that health services can effectively assist the most vulnerable coronavirus cases as required. The sorts of travel bans that have come in force are air travel to and from the most affected areas which currently still include China as well as South Korea, Italy and Iran.
Due to the lack of transparency on behalf of the Iranian government regarding the serious outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, several passengers off flights from Tehran into Australia and New Zealand brought the virus with them. The United States has a travel ban in force that bans air travel between Europe and the United States for the time being at least. Most countries are monitoring their travel bans on a week by week basis as they know such restrictions are not beneficial for a country’s tourist and business sectors, as well as for anyone in the process of migrating or visiting their families overseas.
Impact on tourism
Tourism itself is a leisure activity, but for operators of tourist activities, it is definitely not a holiday. It’s a business and a livelihood. Every area of the tourist industry has been affected by the current virus, not just by travel bans in force by governments, but even by the reluctance of local tourists to stray too far from home. Today, Flight Centre Australia announced the closure of 100 shop fronts due to a fall in demand for its services. Australia has been confronted with an unprecedented drop in arrivals of international visitors from key countries. The coronavirus outbreak has to lead to record numbers of holiday booking cancellations, with a 36% drop since December.
The key countries which attract the most tourists to Australia are China, the UK, Canada, the USA, Japan, India, and Singapore. From 24th to the 1st March, bookings were down 47% from Britain, 52% from the U.S., 71% from Indonesia, 32% from India and 100% from Japan and China. This is just up to now, but advanced bookings have fallen dramatically as well.
The 1.4 million loss of Chinese tourists affects car rental companies, tour bus companies, domestic airline routes, hotel and motel accommodation, Sydney attractions, the world-famous Gold Coast scenic flights, fishing expeditions, Seaworld, Movie World, Dreamworld and much more. It affects revenues for business operators, some of whom will be temporarily put out of business and employees will no longer have a job and get paid.
Predictions of how long COVID-19 will last
According to an article published by Reuters, Chinese officials are claiming that the restrictions they have placed on travel have meant the coronavirus epidemic has now reached its peak there. Zhong Nanshan, China’s most senior medical adviser, stated at a recent press conference that if other countries follow lead China has taken the pandemic would be completely tamed within a few months. He even went on to say that if all countries adopted the advice issued by the WHO and they intervened quickly into taming the outbreaks in their own countries the pandemic could just about be over by this June. Meanwhile, the center of the outbreak has moved from Asia to Europe, with no sign that it is slowing there or North America.