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Opinion
Lionel Laurent and Sam Fazeli

Covid Travel Is Still a Disaster. It Doesn’t Need to Be

Draconian restrictions on international movement are failing to deliver benefits that warrant the costs.

Open up already.

Open up already.

Photographer: SAmeer Al-Doumy/AFP

The surreal nature of international travel in the Covid era was beamed live around the world last weekend. In the opening minutes of a soccer match in Sao Paolo between Brazil and Argentina, play ground to a halt when public-health officials walked onto the field to remove several Argentine athletes over an apparent breach of a 14-day quarantine (mandatory for travel via the U.K.). The game never resumed.

Eighteen months into the pandemic, travel restrictions are still tripping up regular families and firms, not just footballers. A U.S. ban on most travelers from two dozen European countries, instituted by Donald Trump in March of last year, remains in place despite a change of president and the fact that a higher proportion of people in the European Union and U.K. are fully vaccinated.