As the Easter holiday approaches and Spring kicks in, a large proportion of Europe and the U.S. remains under lockdown. Travel movements are being restricted globally, and a recent report from Pew Research showed that 93% of the world’s population lives in countries and territories that are subject to movement restrictions.
With more than 9 out of every 10 people around the world living somewhere that restricts the arrival or departure of passengers internationally, what about domestic movement?
Government advice has been clear; to stay at home. However, these restrictions vary from social distancing advice, to fully enforced lockdowns.
Therefore, although some countries have closed their borders to arrivals other than repatriated citizens, others have gone further and even closed State borders, in a bid to restrict domestic travel.
The Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei has taken the lead in restricting domestic movement in a bid to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the Central American nation. As Guatemalans prepared to visit relatives over the Easter break, the President has gone a step beyond curfews to prevent all domestic travel. Guatemala has also banned sales of alcohol until April 12.
Greek island mayors have followed suit in demanding a total travel ban over Easter to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Greece. Letters have been sent to relevant government ministries from local island authorities that have demanded a ban on ferry services for non-residents of each island.
The islands of Rhodes, Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos and Lipsi have requested stricter domestic travel measures to protect regions that have limited medical resources and prevent coronavirus spreading in Greece.
With no cases of COVID-19 on the aforementioned islands, the mayors suggest that any cases would only be imported from visitors, which is why a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for any returning island residents has also been requested.
The letter to government ministries read: “The recent decision to restrict travel to the islands only to permanent residents is a very important step but does not guarantee the complete safety of the islanders and especially those living on smaller islands, given the problematic condition of health facilities, the difficulty of transport in case of emergency, and access.”
In Australia, residents have been told to cancel all non-essential interstate travel. Borders in Australia remain closed, however, travel across state lines has now been restricted as well.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on March 22; “those holidays that you may have been planning to take interstate over the school holidays, cancel them.”
The Prime Minister continued; “It is the case that travel needs to be reduced to stop the spread of the virus across the country. Other states will be making other decisions about this issue and they will make further announcements today and I will leave them to make them.”
The UAE has stepped up its fight against the spread of Coronavirus by imposing a two-week lockdown in Dubai. The new measures are both an extension and expansion of a policy that previously advised against all but essential travel and included a night curfew from 8pm-6am each day.
The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced that this night curfew has now essentially been extended to a 24-hour lockdown with a restriction on travel movements.