On March 26, GSL Research Fellow Roojin Habibi published a co-authored letter in Science Magazine arguing that travel bans imposed by governments to curb the spread of COVID-19 are not only violating international law, but in fact don’t show any significant slowdown of the spread of the virus. The co-authors on the letter were Benjamin Mason Meier, Associate Professor of Global Health Policy at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and Tony Yang, executive director of the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University School of Nursing .
The letter was written in response to a Science Magazine article by Matteo Chinazzi et al. (published on March 6, 2020), which advocated in favour of travel bans. In their piece, Mason Meier, Habibi, and Yang argue that the necessity and benefits of travel bans are outweighed by their violation of international law. Under the International Health Regulation (2005), there are very clear guidelines under which countries are allowed to implement more drastic public health measures. One of the guidelines is, that the WHO would have to recommend the measure, which in case of travel bans, it doesn’t.
While the authors argue that the bans did little to slow down the COVID-19 spread, they lament that the measures hurt global solidarity, infringed on human rights and as aforementioned, violated international law.
Read the full article here.