How could Covid-19 change the way we travel ?

How could Covid-19 change the way we travel ?

Tue, 07/04/2020 - 06:13
How could Covid-19 change the way we travel ?

How could Covid-19 change the way we travel ?

My confinement at home has only been very short so far but still I am left with ample time to think and many of my thoughts are towards: and then? What’s next?

9/11 had a long-term effect on all the security measures taken at the airports around the world. Do you remember, it’s when flourished those increased liquid bans, fancy detectors and longer queue at each security checks. How could this pandemic impact the way we travel in the future?

We (re)discover the benefit of good hygiene

No laughing here, I was appalled when surveys and statistics showed up about France and the frequency in which we wash our hands or change even our underwear! Seriously – in Asia it’s maybe you sweat so much that you actually wash/take showers so frequently, I guess. Ah! I won’t be finding excuses to anyone.
Better hygiene is back – and that’s great. Let’s hope this trend is here to stay.

Increase sanitary control – a better health passport? Or the strict implementation of the Yellow book.


The yellow book
The Yellow Book

One avenue of possible long-term change would be the implementation of a stricter control of vaccinations, and sanitary conditions between borders. It wouldn’t be too farfetched to think that restrictions could be implemented on basis of health for visa attributions between countries.

Today we have that yellow book, that some countries do require mainly for yellow fever. But how many actually have had that truly checked upon entering in a country requiring it? Do you actually possess one? Did you actually know it existed before? This yellow book was created by the WHO in 1969 mainly to monitor yellow fever vaccination and extended to more in 2005.

This description from the website of Canada immigration is quite clear:

The International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) is the official documentation used as proof of vaccination against a disease when a country entry requirement exists, as designated under the International Health Regulations (IHR).

I would think that we would see some new form of passport or stronger implementation of this yellow book containing a list of mandatory vaccines and boosters that should be presented to apply for a visa or to enter a country. 

Today, as I have lived in many South East Asian countries and had to do my boosters in some of them – the vaccination guidelines are very different from one country to the next. From the list of mandatory or recommended vaccines to have, to how long between the boosters. There are also cocktails of vaccines that are available in some countries and difficult to get in others. Finally, many health insurances don’t even refund vaccines or booster! I was very surprised when I checked once, especially as newer vaccines for few diseases at once are (very) pricey. 

In France we have our blue book, the health book, that we have since we are born and in which are recorded all our vaccines – when I showed this to a doctor in Thailand, he was quite impressed and applauded this record keeping. Armed with this book and a translator, we managed to agree on what boosters were needed and find the equivalent available locally. He then added his notes in my book for the future. Unfortunately, this is not available in many countries and often we just forget. Don’t get me wrong, I am not today up-to-date on my vaccinations, but one thing for sure, it’s on my priority list when it will be safer to get out.

The anti-vaccine campaigns in many countries should be biting their tongue now, for the true cure to this pandemic will be when a reliable vaccine and mass campaigns of vaccination will be available for all. I do hope that stricter vaccine policy be made by governments in the future. In these times of globalization, the herd immunity is global and would require therefore global actions to prevent a repeat!

What do you think will be the impact on future travel policies? I would love to hear your thoughts on this?