The Grapevine

When Will It Be Safe To Travel Again Amid Coronavirus Outbreak?

Some countries have been slowly reopening as new cases of COVID-19 continue to decline in the past weeks. The easing of lockdown measures have raised questions of whether people will be allowed to leave their towns or transportation will remain limited. 

It would take long before governments reopen all roads for travel, especially leisure travel. The first step may only allow short-distance trips within towns or cities and slowly stretching regionally, nationally and internationally. 

However, it is important to know that the novel coronavirus continues to spread. The long process to fully allow travels aims to control the flow of people and lower the risk of spreading the virus locally and abroad. 

“A flat curve doesn’t mean the disease is gone or that it’s safe to return to normal, it just means that infection has slowed enough not to overwhelm hospitals,” according to WebMD. “It should be that everyone around us—on the plane, in the museum, at the café, and in the communities of every person who enjoys or works in travel—is safe from contracting the virus, too.”

When Is It Safe To Travel? 

The first basis to say that the public can safely go to different destinations is that 70 percent of the world’s population has already developed immunity to COVID-19. That would significantly reduce the disease’s ability to affect people and spread.  

Worldwide immunity may occur with the help of a coronavirus vaccine or when enough people have recovered from COVID-19. However, the medical community is still in the early stages of understanding the disease and how it affects people.

Another way to determine the right time to travel and resume other regular activities is by monitoring the contagiousness of the virus using R0, or “R naught.” It is based on how the virus spreads from one person and how efforts like physical distancing and good hygiene help slow down its movement. 

Studies estimated that COVID-19 has an R0 of between two and three, which means one infected person gives the virus to three other people. For the pandemic to end, the R0 should drop to less than one.

Lockdowns and avoiding nonessential travel have been helping to reduce COVID-19’s R0. However, experts said that the infection rate may increase as some countries lift lockdown restrictions early and while the coronavirus remains highly active. 

Health experts suggested that governments take it slow in easing restrictions. The scientific community has yet to deliver results of studies aimed at understanding how COVID-19 affects people and responds to treatments.

COVID-19 lockdown Some health experts said the pandemic may end if 70 percent of the world’s population developed immunity to COVID-19. Pixabay

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