Nearly 2 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus since it began in December 2019, and millions more have been confined to their homes under mandatory shelter-in-place orders by their local governments throughout the world. Borders have been closed, travel restrictions are abundant, and thousands of flights, cruises, and trains have had to either reduce their services or cancel routes entirely.
The United States has the world’s highest infection rate, with nearly 600,000 cases as of April 15, 2020. Travel restrictions within the country have been extended to April 30, along with social distancing orders. The Department of Transportation has mandated airlines to offer refunds on flights that have been canceled, changed, or otherwise impacted by COVID-19.
Throughout the world, country-wide quarantines have put travel, leisure, and life on pause. Spain and Italy have the strictest isolation measures in place, though they have begun to allow non-essential workers to begin returning to their offices. Tokyo, which was set to host the 2020 Olympics, has announced that the event is now postponed until 2021.
Can People Still Travel During the Coronavirus?
Non-essential travel during COVID-19 is largely restricted and not recommended by health officials. Vacations are all but off-limits as people are prohibited from gathering in crowds; the majority of tourist attractions and hospitality services are also indefinitely closed until the global spread of the coronavirus begins to drop.
Officials worry that lifting travel bans too soon could result in a major resurgence of the virus, one that countries are not capable of fending off. There is already a tremendous strain on healthcare systems in the most impacted countries, and there simply are not enough supplies to go around to protect people, medical personnel and treat patients should the coronavirus spread further.
What to Do in the Meantime
The World Health Organization recommends that people all follow the guidelines set in place by their national and local governments; in many cases, failure to respect these provisions can lead to fines. Worse, however, is the increased risk of exposure and transmission, which will only extend the quarantine measures. The best thing anyone can do during this time is to stay at home as often as possible to reduce the opportunity for the virus to spread.