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Coronavirus caused a 7,000% rise in global travel restrictions in a single month

Travel checkpoint
Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann
A travel checkpoint in Switzerland.
  • Patrick deHahn
By Patrick deHahn

Reporter and news curator

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

The world has witnessed unprecedented restrictions on travel since the coronavirus outbreak grew into a global pandemic in January. And, according to data compiled by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), there’s been a 7,225% increase in those government-mandated restrictions in the last month alone.

IOM began tracking mobility restrictions on March 8, when they recorded about 600 examples globally, mostly quarantine measures placed on anyone arriving from the countries worst hit by the virus at the time, like China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea. China also imposed internal restrictions earlier in the year.

Then, on March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, which led to a stream of travel bans and quarantine orders enforced by countries all over the world.

As of April 9, IOM recorded a total of 45,124 officially-decreed limitations on movement across the planet. That includes placing more than half of the world’s population under some kind of a shelter-in-place order.

To collect the data, the UN agency says it is monitoring International Air Transport Association announcements, the media, and internal UN reports. The IOM is still reporting a continued rise in travel restrictions (though at a slower rate), even as some government leaders debate easing stay-at-home restrictions and reopening their economies.

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