Why do governments use travel bans?

In most cases, the decision could be a political one and not one based on epidemiological studies. “Travel bans represent reflexive decisions and not reflective judgements. Governments feel compelled to show that they are protecting their people and this is a demonstrative gesture,” said Reddy of the Public Health Foundation.

Instead, it would be more prudent for countries to focus on known measures of mitigation.

“Regardless of what we learn about the omicron variant in the coming weeks, we are not back to where we were at the beginning of the pandemic. We know the interventions that are most effective at curbing transmission, including transmission from imported cases: testing, contact tracing, quarantining, masking, and vaccinating,” Wahl said.

This is currently the approach India is following. As of Dec. 1, all international arrivals from “at-risk” countries will need to undergo testing on arrival, a home quarantine for seven days, and another covid-19 test on the eighth day. “India is setting an example for the world by prioritising reasonable and effective measures,” Wahl said.

This could perhaps be a blueprint for how the world lives with the virus instead of chasing a zero-covid strategy.

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