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Coronavirus: testing and travel [plus vaccine when available]

Coronavirus: testing and travel [plus vaccine when available]

Old May 11, 20, 2:46 pm
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Coronavirus: testing and travel [plus vaccine when available]

Originally Posted by Dieuwer View Post
With the right to refuse a vaccine comes also the consequence that you might be refused entry to businesses and countries (e.g. yellow fever cert).
I can imagine that when a decent COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, countries will demand a "COVID Cert" (i.e. proof of vaccination) before allowing entry
I'm a healthcare professional and I think this should be extended to day cares, hospital and nursing home visitors, and sporting venues at the very least. If you have the right to not vaccinate then businesses and other organizations have a right to not allow you to put their patrons and employees at risk.
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Old May 11, 20, 3:25 pm
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Originally Posted by ajf87 View Post
I'm a healthcare professional and I think this should be extended to day cares, hospital and nursing home visitors, and sporting venues at the very least. If you have the right to not vaccinate then businesses and other organizations have a right to not allow you to put their patrons and employees at risk.
We may never have a vaccine and not all vaccinations confer immunity the first time, some require boosters. We are looking at late 2021 there.
Before then we will need to agree on antibody testing (specific antibodies and titers) that provides proof of immunity in those who have had the infection and recovered.

We will be unable to have any kind of immunity certificate until we know the latter which will be before we have the former. Because by the time we have a vaccine, more than half of the population could be immune or at least exposed.

Rapid antigen tests at a destination to rule out active infection is the more likely scenario to restart tourism faster. It is not perfect, but the benefits outweigh the risks if such testing was readily available. Have the travelers pay an extra $10-$20 upon arrival to defray some costs.
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Old May 11, 20, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyBitcoin View Post
Rapid antigen tests at a destination to rule out active infection is the more likely scenario to restart tourism faster. It is not perfect, but the benefits outweigh the risks if such testing was readily available. Have the travelers pay an extra $10-$20 upon arrival to defray some costs.
Doing this test upon arrival runs a huge risk of being stranded overseas in some third world govt facility. Imagine landing in Nairobi airport or whatever and failing the test - now that you have failed the test, you won't be allowed on a flight back home. And now that you've failed the test, you won't be allowed to roam freely in Kenya. You likely won't even be allowed to pass through immigration to enter Kenya officially. So that means you are put in some airport holding cell for 14 days, then a test is run (wait 2-3 days to get the test results), and then you are asked to pay walk-up $3000 fare to take the next flight back home. Meanwhile you have lost your job because your 1 week time-off work has converted to 3 weeks of not reporting to work, and since you weren't able to pay rent while stuck in a govt facility the landlord has started eviction proceedings so you return back home to no job, a ruined credit score, and on the verge of homelessness because you used your savings to buy the walkup fare. Here starts your cycle of poverty.

That is obviously unacceptable.

On the other hand, doing this test upon departure runs the same risks. Because the flight that you are departing from can be your flight back home, so now after a glorious 2 week safari vacation, you fail the test in Nairobi airport right before leaving back to the US. Because you've failed the test you're denied boarding. And since you've failed the test Kenya no longer wants you to roam freely, nor would they let you go pollute some hotel as you wait this out. So now you're again put in a govt holding cell for 14 days, then a test is run and you wait another 2-3 days for their results. And then you're asked to pay the $3000 walkup fairs to gtfo. Meanwhile you have lost your job because your 2 week time-off work has converted to over a month of not reporting to work, and since you weren't able to pay rent while stuck in a govt facility the landlord has started eviction proceedings so you return back home to no job, a ruined credit score, and on the verge of homelessness because you used your savings to buy the walkup fare. Here starts your cycle of poverty.

This again is unacceptable.

We as frequent flyers need to stop promoting this idea of having to pass any medical tests at the point of departure OR arrival. It will have disastrous consequences for anyone who fails the test.

Anytime this idea is brought up, we should forcefully talk against it. The only acceptable solutions are to roam freely (no test, accept the risk of virus spread), or some sort of pre-ordered certificate which you can get before your entire 2-3 week trip begins, and that one certificate is valid for the entire duration of the trip. Anything less than that runs the risk of you being stranded abroad.

As a binational immigrant I've already seen many accounts of these mandatory tests and quarantines among the immigrant community as the world locked down and enforced border restrictions, and people who have failed the tests and are therefore stuck in govt holding cells, have ended up losing their jobs, visas cancelled, savings depleted. Trust me, you do not want that same story extended to all travellers.

Last edited by nomiiiii; May 11, 20 at 7:12 pm
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Old May 11, 20, 6:30 pm
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Originally Posted by nomiiiii View Post
Doing this test upon arrival runs a huge risk of being stranded overseas in some third world govt facility. Imagine landing in Nairobi airport or whatever and failing the test - now that you have failed the test, you won't be allowed on a flight back home. And now that you've failed the test, you won't be allowed to roam freely in Kenya. You likely won't even be allowed to pass through immigration to enter Kenya officially. So that means you are put in some airport holding cell for 14 days, then a test is run (wait 2-3 days to get the test results), and then you are asked to pay walk-up $3000 fare to take the next flight back home. Meanwhile you have lost your job because your 1 week time-off work has converted to 3 weeks of not reporting to work, and since you weren't able to pay rent while stuck in a govt facility the landlord has started eviction proceedings so you return back home to no job, a ruined credit score, and on the verge of homelessness because you used your savings to buy the walkup fare. Here starts your cycle of poverty.

That is obviously unacceptable.

On the other hand, doing this test upon departure runs the same risks. Because the flight that you are departing from can be your flight back home, so now after a glorious 2 week safari vacation, you fail the test in Nairobi airport right before leaving back to the US. Because you've failed the test you're denied boarding. And since you've failed the test Kenya no longer wants you to roam freely, nor would they let you go pollute some hotel as you wait this out. So now you're again put in a govt holding cell for 14 days, then a test is run and you wait another 2-3 days for their results. And then you're asked to pay the $3000 walkup fairs to gtfo. Meanwhile you have lost your job because your 2 week time-off work has converted to over a month of not reporting to work, and since you weren't able to pay rent while stuck in a govt facility the landlord has started eviction proceedings so you return back home to no job, a ruined credit score, and on the verge of homelessness because you used your savings to buy the walkup fare and your cancelled vacation due to failing the test isn't refundable. Here starts your cycle of poverty.

This again is unacceptable.

We as frequent flyers need to stop promoting this idea of having to pass any medical tests at the point of departure OR arrival. It will have disastrous consequences for anyone who fails the test.

Anytime this idea is brought up, we should forcefully talk against it. The only acceptable solutions are to roam freely (no test, accept the risk of virus spread), or some sort of pre-ordered certificate which you can get before your entire 2-3 week trip begins, and that one certificate is valid for the entire duration of the trip. Anything less than that runs the risk of you being stranded abroad.

As a binational immigrant I've already seen many accounts of these mandatory tests and quarantines among the immigrant community as the world locked down and enforced border restrictions, and people who have failed the tests and are therefore stuck in govt holding cells, have ended up losing their jobs, visas cancelled, savings depleted. Trust me, you do not want that same story extended to all travellers.
I am reading your gripping accounts of what can go wrong, you have some good points, but at the same time would you rather have this infected person infect others in the community (including their own family and friends), leading to some hospitalizations or deaths and a local outbreak?
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Old May 11, 20, 6:49 pm
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Originally Posted by nk15 View Post
I am reading your gripping accounts of what can go wrong, you have some good points, but at the same time would you rather have this infected person infect others in the community (including their own family and friends), leading to some hospitalizations or deaths and a local outbreak?
Unfortunately yes, because the alternative is the starvation and suffering of millions who directly or indirectly will be impacted by border closures and travel restrictions. Its not just this "one person" who's life is destroyed here - if these tests exist and threats of quarantine in a strange country on failing the test on arrival exist, then no leisure or business travel will ever happen. This will lead to starvation and death among the least fortunate on this earth, who primarily rely on a transfer of wealth from the richer in the form of their tourist and leisure activities.

I also mention the alternative of having some test/certificate which is valid for the entirety of your trip, so there isn't a risk of being stuck abroad.

I mean ... would you rather millions starve and result in intergenerational suffering and poverty because they are stuck in a poor country with no good infrastructure, no welfare programs to go through these times, and now there aren't any wealthy people coming in to help with the transfer of wealth through leisure activities? Why is compassion only reserved for the few thousand who get coronavirus, why not the millions in poorer countries who are impacted from the border restrictions and reduced economic activity?

You can apply the same concept to any risky activity. Would you rather people drive in personal cars, which may result in some accidents and deaths, when clearly public transportation exists as an option? Why aren't we banning personal cars for any trips which can be done on a greyhound/amtrak/localbus? The threat of accidents is too great!

Last edited by nomiiiii; May 11, 20 at 7:02 pm
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Old May 11, 20, 6:55 pm
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I see. It can be complicated.
I was envisioning Hawaii doing something like that instead of the current quarantine for domestic travelers from other states.
That would be a little lower pressure environment but still can have its problems.
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Old May 11, 20, 7:00 pm
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Originally Posted by nomiiiii View Post
I mean ... would you rather millions starve and result in intergenerational suffering and poverty because they are stuck in a poor country with no good infrastructure, no welfare programs to go through these times, and now there aren't any wealthy people coming in to help with the transfer of wealth through leisure activities? Why is compassion only reserved for the few thousand who get coronavirus, why not the millions in poorer countries who are impacted from the border restrictions and reduced economic activity?
That's the way it has always been. Nobody cares about people starving or dying in Africa. I had hoped that this would shine a light on developing nations, and it has in some areas such as French President Macron's debt forgiveness fight. But not so much in the USA.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-i...-idUSKCN21W2HE
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Old May 11, 20, 7:55 pm
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Originally Posted by nomiiiii View Post
This again is unacceptable.

We as frequent flyers need to stop promoting this idea of having to pass any medical tests at the point of departure OR arrival. It will have disastrous consequences for anyone who fails the test.

Anytime this idea is brought up, we should forcefully talk against it. The only acceptable solutions are to roam freely (no test, accept the risk of virus spread), or some sort of pre-ordered certificate which you can get before your entire 2-3 week trip begins, and that one certificate is valid for the entire duration of the trip. Anything less than that runs the risk of you being stranded abroad.

As a binational immigrant I've already seen many accounts of these mandatory tests and quarantines among the immigrant community as the world locked down and enforced border restrictions, and people who have failed the tests and are therefore stuck in govt holding cells, have ended up losing their jobs, visas cancelled, savings depleted. Trust me, you do not want that same story extended to all travellers.
So then I put it to you... what does this "pre-ordered" certificate prove? I'll tell you. It just proves that at that one moment in time (assuming you got a test to get this certificate) you did not test positive for covid-19. It does not guarantee that at any time after the test, that you were not exposed to the virus. It does not guarantee that you are not infected with the virus. It cannot guarantee you are not asymptomatically spreading the virus. And we still don't know for a fact that once you have been infected (and cured) that you cannot get re-infected.

While an on-arrival thermal test cannot prove that you are infected (in any way, shape or form), all it means is a snapshot of whether you have a fever. A full on test (depending on where you are) will provide a different snapshot of whether you appear to be sick or not. There is no guarantee that you are free, but each country has a responsibility to prevent another hotspot from appearing. Would you rather have a "re-opened" country have to shut down a second time because you (or another traveller) decided oh, I'm not infected (untested)? Can you see how much worse that would be for select industries?

Originally Posted by nomiiiii View Post
Unfortunately yes, because the alternative is the starvation and suffering of millions who directly or indirectly will be impacted by border closures and travel restrictions. Its not just this "one person" who's life is destroyed here - if these tests exist and threats of quarantine in a strange country on failing the test on arrival exist, then no leisure or business travel will ever happen. This will lead to starvation and death among the least fortunate on this earth, who primarily rely on a transfer of wealth from the richer in the form of their tourist and leisure activities.
And that is the point. They are trying to prevent a second re-occurance of the virus from appearing and causing more devastation than the initial infection. If some traveller waved some "certificate" saying this gives them the right of entry while we still have lots of questions, I'd be turning them around right then and there. Currently ANY "immunity passport" that anyone creates is not worth the paper it's printed on. Unless someone can prove that vaccination or recovery makes you immune, no sane nation should take anyone's word for it.

Originally Posted by nomiiiii View Post
I mean ... would you rather millions starve and result in intergenerational suffering and poverty because they are stuck in a poor country with no good infrastructure, no welfare programs to go through these times, and now there aren't any wealthy people coming in to help with the transfer of wealth through leisure activities? Why is compassion only reserved for the few thousand who get coronavirus, why not the millions in poorer countries who are impacted from the border restrictions and reduced economic activity?
Would you rather millions more become infected, Multitudes of people dying because someone decided they wanted to vacay in a nation ill set up to handle a contagious virus? We can always donate funds/medicine (once developed). Look at it this way. In "wealthier" nations, this thing went rampant and except for social distancing, was pretty much uncontrollable. How are the "poorer" nations supposed to protect themselves when they have fewer resources? You can always go "play" once there is a confirmed vaccine (one that we can distribute there as well). The destination will still be there in a year or two. The wealth you or someone else may provide is not worth the many additional lives that could be lost.

Originally Posted by nomiiiii View Post
You can apply the same concept to any risky activity. Would you rather people drive in personal cars, which may result in some accidents and deaths, when clearly public transportation exists as an option? Why aren't we banning personal cars for any trips which can be done on a greyhound/amtrak/localbus? The threat of accidents is too great!
This is what bugs me. As has been mentioned in many media briefings. Personal cars (or public transit) are not a contagious event. We can always stop a bad driver. We can always maintain a vehicle. We have concrete steps to prevent these types of things. We don't have a way to stop a potentially infected person from spreading the virus other than to limit travel. Everyone has seen what one infected person can do (See what happened in Daegu, South Korea...patient 31). And she was showing symptoms (she refused testing twice). Imagine if someone asymptomatic got on a plane and went to somewhere crowded and ill-equipped...(never mind possibly spreading the virus on the plane as well)...
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Old May 11, 20, 8:48 pm
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While an on-arrival thermal test cannot prove that you are infected (in any way, shape or form), all it means is a snapshot of whether you have a fever. A full on test (depending on where you are) will provide a different snapshot of whether you appear to be sick or not. There is no guarantee that you are free, but each country has a responsibility to prevent another hotspot from appearing. Would you rather have a "re-opened" country have to shut down a second time because you (or another traveller) decided oh, I'm not infected (untested)? Can you see how much worse that would be for select industries?
A country or state is free to have whatever rules they want. But it should be absolutely 100% clear that no tourists (and therefore revenue associated) will ever come if there are mandatory tests under the threat of quarantine on failing this on-arrival test. So the country can make the decision to starve their own populations if they see fit. It is an ill-advised decision IMO, but if that is what they want to do, fine. Every country is sovereign and independent - they can decide on tests and quarantine, and people can continue avoiding that country because no one wants to be stranded there on failing the test.

Tell me this - will you consider flying to any country (in say, 2021 or 2022) if they have a rule that you need to have a test on arrival, and if god-forbid you test positive in that test you're put in a govt holding cell for 14 days (because clearly no airline will transport you back home with a positive test case, and no hotel will host you with a positive test, and you're now in this random country abroad without a home to isolate in).

Would you rather millions more become infected, Multitudes of people dying because someone decided they wanted to vacay in a nation ill set up to handle a contagious virus? We can always donate funds/medicine (once developed). Look at it this way. In "wealthier" nations, this thing went rampant and except for social distancing, was pretty much uncontrollable. How are the "poorer" nations supposed to protect themselves when they have fewer resources? You can always go "play" once there is a confirmed vaccine (one that we can distribute there as well). The destination will still be there in a year or two. The wealth you or someone else may provide is not worth the many additional lives that could be lost.
You didn't answer my question about the millions starving and dying of poverty due to economic consequences, so I will wait for your answer on that before answering this one which is for thousands dying under the most dire scenarios, not millions, so a vastly smaller scale compared to the starvation and economic suffering. And no, some hypothetical vaccine which may not be distributed fully for years is not an answer.

We should probably move this entire discussion to some new thread on the pros/cons of having forced medical tests right before or after a flight, or medical test requirements at the point of immigration/border crossing. It is a discussion worth having, with wide-ranging impact to those who fail the medical test, as well as people avoiding travel to places which enforce such a test.
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Last edited by nomiiiii; May 11, 20 at 9:04 pm
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Old May 11, 20, 9:34 pm
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Originally Posted by nomiiiii View Post
A country or state is free to have whatever rules they want. But it should be absolutely 100% clear that no tourists (and therefore revenue associated) will ever come if there are mandatory tests under the threat of quarantine on failing this on-arrival test. So the country can make the decision to starve their own populations if they see fit. It is an ill-advised decision IMO, but if that is what they want to do, fine. Every country is sovereign and independent - they can decide on tests and quarantine, and people can continue avoiding that country because no one wants to be stranded there on failing the test.

Tell me this - will you consider flying to any country (in say, 2021 or 2022) if they have a rule that you need to have a test on arrival, and if god-forbid you test positive in that test you're put in a govt holding cell for 14 days (because clearly no airline will transport you back home with a positive test case, and no hotel will host you with a positive test, and you're now in this random country abroad without a home to isolate in).



You didn't answer my question about the millions starving and dying of poverty due to economic consequences, so I will wait for your answer on that before answering this one which is for thousands dying under the most dire scenarios, not millions, so a vastly smaller scale compared to the starvation and economic suffering. And no, some hypothetical vaccine which may not be distributed fully for years is not an answer.

We should probably move this entire discussion to some new thread on the pros/cons of having forced medical tests right before or after a flight, or medical test requirements at the point of immigration/border crossing. It is a discussion worth having, with wide-ranging impact to those who fail the medical test, as well as people avoiding travel to places which enforce such a test.
International vacations are basically over or risky until there is a vaccine. I assume that wherever or whenever I travel abroad I need to quarantine there for 2 weeks anyway. I will personally not travel anywhere where I cannot quarantine in my own/family's place. Even after the 2 weeks you should be really acting as in semi-quarantine, all the social distancing guidelines, mask in public indoors facilities, etc. This is the conservative approach.

Austria I believe has a required test on arrival. I am not sure how other countries will handle it. People will have to accept it, if you test positive or get sick your vacation is over and/or you have to deal with it.

A difficult issue is what if you test positive or get sick while in a foreign country away from your job, especially towards the end of your planned trip, and have to spend a few weeks there for treatment or quarantine. This is something you need to consider before you travel, if you can afford the delay, take the time off, or work remotely. If not, you travel domestically only.
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Old May 12, 20, 1:55 am
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Very few travelers that I know (unfortunately, I can't say zero) would want to continue with their vacation after testing positive. When discovered, the traveler should breathe a sigh of relief that they are not going to be infecting anyone any longer.
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Old May 12, 20, 2:02 am
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Originally Posted by WillTravel View Post
Very few travelers that I know (unfortunately, I can't say zero) would want to continue with their vacation after testing positive. When discovered, the traveler should breathe a sigh of relief that they are not going to be infecting anyone any longer.
Would they breathe a sigh of relief on being quarantined for 14+ days in some govt holding cell in Paraguay on testing positive after a flight though?

If you support testing travelers on departure or arrival, then you are also supporting the fact that sometime in say, late 2021 or 2022 or 2025 (whenever you feel comfortable taking a flight, or god-forbid, you have a family emergency like many immigrants do with their aging parents abroad), you take a flight to Morocco, on arrival there you test positive, and because you have now tested positive you are stuck in this foreign country at their mercy for however long till they release you and allow you to take a flight back home. Do you agree to that as part of agreeing to testing travelers?
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Old May 12, 20, 2:07 am
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Originally Posted by nomiiiii View Post
Would they breathe a sigh of relief on being quarantined for 14+ days in some govt holding cell in Paraguay on testing positive after a flight though?

If you support testing travelers on departure or arrival, then you are also supporting the fact that sometime in say, late 2021 or 2022 or 2025 (whenever you feel comfortable taking a flight, or god-forbid, you have a family emergency like many immigrants do with their aging parents abroad), you take a flight to Morocco, on arrival there you test positive, and because you have now tested positive you are stuck in this foreign country at their mercy till they release you and allow you to take a flight back home. Do you agree to that as part of agreeing to testing travelers?
If that is a serious possibility, then I think most travelers wouldn't go. Pre-pandemic, we could assess the risks of ending up in highly substandard medical facilities if some accident or illness happened, and act accordingly. If there is a risk that one is going to test positive, then either one accepts the risk of a Paraguayan holding cell if traveling to Paraguay, or chooses destinations that have cushy holding cell options. Simply ignoring one's infective status is not being a responsible traveler.
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Old May 12, 20, 2:13 am
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Originally Posted by WillTravel View Post
If that is a serious possibility, then I think most travelers wouldn't go. Pre-pandemic, we could assess the risks of ending up in highly substandard medical facilities if some accident or illness happened, and act accordingly. If there is a risk that one is going to test positive, then either one accepts the risk of a Paraguayan holding cell if traveling to Paraguay, or chooses destinations that have cushy holding cell options. Simply ignoring one's infective status is not being a responsible traveler.
So you've basically now also agreed to all the people in poor countries relying on tourism to greatly suffer, end up in intergenerational poverty and starve to death or have an early death due to poverty leading to low healthcare, because their poor governments cannot have generous welfare programs which the countries with cushy holding cells have. Do the sufferings of the millions of people in poorer countries reliant on wealthy tourists not mean anything?

I'm not saying one should ignore their own infection status. By all means, we should have some check or certificate before any trip starts. But what I am greatly opposed to is having tests and checks once a trip starts and someone is landing or departing from another country. Because that runs a huge huge HUGE risk of being stranded abroad which can wreck havoc to one's life. Not to mention any such rule will mean tourists will simply not go to these places which means suffering of millions.
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Old May 12, 20, 2:18 am
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Very poor countries are currently foregoing tourism rather than risk importing new infections. I hate that so many wonderful guides and establishments are suffering right now, but it's both a reasonable and horrible tradeoff that reflects the reality of the situation. If we want these countries to be helped, it won't be by bringing in Covid-19+ tourists. Maybe the innovation is in having travelers take insurance to have bio-containment flights out if found to be positive (just throwing a possible idea out there).

I personally want to get back to Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala and Nicaragua whenever it is reasonable to do so. But definitely not while infected.
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