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Coronavirus: Governments go mad with travel bans

Coronavirus: Governments go mad with travel bans

Despite the wishes of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Australia and the USA impose highly restrictive travel bans.

While the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency, it has also warned against the imposition of travel bans:

‘WHO advises against the application of any restrictions of international traffic based on the information currently available on this event.’


Australian bans on Travel

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has issued the following strict advice on travel as of Saturday 1 February, on the advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and the Communicable Diseases Network Australia:

  • Effective immediately, foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who are in mainland China, will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transited through mainland China.
  • Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family will still be able to enter Australia, as well as airline crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. These -measures and will be reviewed in 14 days.
  • Australians are advised not to travel to China due to the “escalating threat” of the virus
  • Australians returning from China should self-isolate for 14 days.

The Government has also announced that anyone who has arrived after the restrictions were imposed would have their visa cancelled and put ‘in an alternative place of detention for a quarantine period’

USA Bans on China Travel

The USA has essentially the same bans on travel but has also imposed some mandatory quarantine restrictions on anyone who has travelled to the Hubei province in China.

The USA has also restricted flights from China to the following airports:

  • Atlanta – ATL
  • Chicago – ORD
  • Honolulu – HNL
  • Los Angeles – LAX
  • New York – JFK
  • San Francisco – SFO
  • Seattle – SEA
a map of china with cities

2PAXfly Takeout

These are fairly draconian sanctions, and I can’t help suspect a racist overtone. This is supported by the fact that WHO is actively advising against such bans:

‘With the information currently available for the novel coronavirus, WHO advises that measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease should be implemented, without unnecessary restrictions of international traffic.’


While it is open to WHO to change its advice and open to the USA, Australian and other governments to change the restrictions they have imposed, I think it unfortunate that both governments have gone down the draconian route.

Mind you both political leaders – Trump and Scotty from Marketing both have been looking for any ‘look over here’ issue they could find.

I’m so cynical, I’m cynical about having my cynicism confirmed.

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