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From Lockdown to Lock-In

Gone are the days of short international travel, or long trips visiting multiple countries. In the absence of universal vaccination against the coronavirus, tighter constraints on human mobility will presumably remain in place – perhaps for a long time.

WASHINGTON, DC – At first glance, COVID-19 seemed to be a shared global experience, in terms of both the incidence of the disease and how countries responded. But now it has become clear that countries are diverging significantly in terms of strategy and outcomes. This means that, as the world exits from lockdowns, it will enter another difficult phase: Lock-ins that severely limit international travel.

Tourism, trade, and travel more broadly will never be the same again. The full pattern remains unclear, but lock-ins are likely to slow the global economic recovery – and to create another round of crisis, at least in small island economies that depend on short-stay international visitors.

Today, national COVID-19 strategies can be broadly separated into three categories: eradication, herd immunity, and suppression of the coronavirus until a vaccine or cure is discovered.

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