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We just saw travel restrictions imposed for foreign nationals who have been in various European countries in the last 14 days prior to their arrival in the US.
Basically, they will not be allowed to travel to the US and only US citizens and certain other individuals will be allowed into the country from Europe for the next 30 days (subject to screening).
It’s possible that this ban on travel from Europe will not last 30 days but it is set to kick in tomorrow at midnight Eastern standard time. Also, the ban does not apply to the UK or Ireland.
Now, it appears that another travel ban might be coming into effect.
This travel ban would be for domestic travel though and would focus on the states of Washington and California — two of the states that have had some of the worst coronavirus outbreaks.
A ban on travel to/from states with high outbreak rates could potentially help reduce transmission as well, though the efficacy of travel bans is not as clear-cut as we would probably like it to be. Also, there are other important factors to consider like social distancing.
The US seems to be on the right track when it comes to the social distancing aspect of curtailing this disease. It looks like the major sports associations like the NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, and others have suspended their seasons indefinitely and will likely wait out the coronavirus for a few weeks.
Other sporting events are taking place without crowds while several high profile events have been canceled or postponed.
And states like California are now prohibiting large gatherings by the public.
All of those make me feel very good about our chances of limiting transmission of the disease.
But the biggest issue that seems to be popping up right now is the lack of testing.
People are struggling to get tested, and the volume of tests that have been conducted so far in the US is apparently well below where it should be for a sufficient response to the pandemic. When compared to countries like Korea it seems like our testing numbers are incredibly lower than they should be.
Since the US was not aggressive like Taiwan in testing passengers arriving from contaminated regions, I’m not even sure it will be possible to get the volume of testing needed at this point but we’ll see.
So once again, I would be cautious about any trips you have to or from the state of Washington and California or any other state that might be on the forefront of the coronavirus outbreak over the next few weeks. We still don’t know for sure if such a ban will be imposed but it’s worth keeping in mind.
It’s also not clear to me how exactly a domestic travel ban would work or what would be implicated but it could cause some serious disruptions to the local economies and of course to travel plans.
H/T: US News
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.