International Mobility Restrictions and the Spread of Pandemics: New Data and Research
Countries restrict the overall extent of international travel and migration to balance the expected costs and benefits of mobility. Given the ever-present threat of new, future pandemics, how should permanent restrictions on mobility respond? We find that in all cases, even a draconian 50 percent reduction in pre-pandemic international mobility is associated with 1–2 weeks later arrival and no detectable reduction in final mortality. The case for permanent limits on international mobility to reduce the harm of future pandemics is weak.
An ongoing research project at MPC (The Airport Factor) is assessing the impact of air travels on Covid-19 mortality in 430 sub-national regions of 39 countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Our early analyses find that the volume of pre-pandemic inbound air travelers (including from China) has no significant effect either on the number of Covid-19 casualties, or on the timing of the outbreaks in the first semester of 2020.
Ellen M. Immergut, Head of Department, Chair in Political Sciences, SPS, EUI
Daniel Fernandes, Researcher, SPS
Chair: Lenka Dražanová, MPC, RSCAS, EUI