In wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak (2019-nCoV), many countries are facing political pressure to implement travel bans. The United States, for example, announced entry restrictions that would bar non-U.S. citizens who had recently traveled to China, and at least 20 other countries have also imposed travel restrictions.
But Vivek Goel, the University of Toronto’s vice-president, research and innovation, and strategic initiatives and a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, writes at CBC News that these measures “aren't supported by science or evidence-based public health best practices.”
“If travel restrictions had been necessary, the time to have used them would have been much more than two weeks ago, given the lifecycle of the virus,” writes Goel.
On top of that, travel bans can come at a huge economic cost. When the World Health Organization advised travellers to avoid Toronto in 2003 during the SARS outbreak, Goel writes, that the move did little to limit the spread of the virus but cost the tourism industry an estimated $1.1 billion.