The Logic And Practice Of Strict Border Control In Covid-Free Countries

The recent travel bans imposed on travelers from India and Pakistan by governments across the Middle East and in parts of Europe and North America will likely do very little to stem the spread of the new Indian variant. The variant has already reached more than 17 countries, and it has doubtless been unknowingly seeded in dozens of others by infected travelers. It is unfortunate that this far into the pandemic we still have not learned our lesson: reactionary travel bans do not work to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The good news, however, is that we know exactly the border control policies that do work.

A new study out of New Zealand examines the mix of testing and quarantine protocols that are most effective at mitigating the spread of Covid-19 from infected travelers. New Zealand is a great example to learn from as they have kept Covid-19 cases close to zero since May 2020. Since January 1 2021, 397 international arrivals have tested positive for Covid-19 yet none have led to significant outbreaks due to New Zealand’s rigorous quarantine, testing, and tracing policies. The study demonstrates the steps every country should take to control the spread of Covid-19 across borders and within their own countries as well.

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Originally published on Forbes on May 3, 2021

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.