Hurry Up and Wait

With air travel increasing rapidly, nations are developing new protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

  • International travel restrictions remain common for Americans. Popular destinations such as Mexico, Canada and the EU are still closed for nonessential travel, and the CDC has issued “very high risk” travel advisories for 56 countries. But vaccine distribution and vaccine passport development programs offer some hope for those looking to cross borders. 
  • The European Union is testing a vaccine passport for EU residents traveling within the continent, but hurdles remain. The idea is an app that displays a QR code confirming an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination record or recovery when scanned. But the logistics of establishing checkpoints within a political body that allows for the free movement of people spells potential delays to deploying the system across the continent.
  • Outside the EU, the picture is murkier. The World Health Organization is currently advising against global travel vaccine requirements due to a lack of access in developing nations, but it’s begun researching options as vaccine availability increases. Until then, restrictions will likely depend on each country’s case rates, and countries will likely require COVID-19 test results for entry. 
  • The vaccine is still beneficial against the Delta variant, but its reduced effectiveness is worrying global leaders. Spain and Portugal have imposed harsher travel restrictions on British citizens due to the growth of the variant there, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has advocated for further restricting British travel throughout the EU.