johnson140_KENA BETANCURAFP via Getty Images_covidairport Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

Time to Relax Global Travel Restrictions

Complex and ever-shifting restrictions make foreign travel a daunting proposition – more often than not for no good reason. Relatives continue to pass away without visits from loved ones, parents are isolated from children, and there are fewer jobs in travel-related activities.

WASHINGTON, DC – Anyone who risks a visit to Canada these days needs to take care. Canadians are threatening six months in jail, and up to $750,000 in fines, for disobeying testing and quarantine rules upon arrival. In the United Kingdom, the health secretary warned that travelers arriving from outside the UK could face ten years in prison for inaccurately recording their previous whereabouts on entry forms. The Biden administration recently extended the outright ban preventing most non-Americans in Europe from traveling to the United States, with threats of fines and deportation for non-compliance.

These complex and ever-shifting restrictions make foreign travel a daunting proposition. Relatives continue to pass away without visits from loved ones, parents are isolated from children, and there are fewer jobs in travel-related activities. It is time to relax these rules in a responsible manner.

The risks from COVID-19 have been dramatically changed by vaccination. All vaccines authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration have proved well over 95% effective at preventing deaths, and over 90% effective at preventing serious disease, including against the more infectious delta variant. Vaccination lowers the overall infection fatality ratio (IFR), which measures deaths among infected people, from 0.41% to around 0.02%. (Because IFR varies significantly by age, we calculate these ratios from official data by age group, weighted by the age composition of the US population.)

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