Amidst the many precautions for the government to consider stopping the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus, the security at the borders should not be overlooked nor overinflated.
Non-essential travel at the Mexican and Canadian borders have already been barred. This is sufficient because while the debate continues on about the effectiveness of shutting down borders over COVID-19, the government is being cautious without going to extremes. The border should be kept closed for everyday low-priority travel, but anything more might be considered excessive.
As of last Thursday, President Donald Trump has expressed interest in stationing American troops at the Canadian border to halt illegal migrants. Canadian officials responded with strong opposition, saying that those funds could be used towards other more effective measures.
President Trump’s plan is over-excessive. Too much focus on keeping borders tight and secure may do more harm than good. While it’s true that traveling is a major factor in the spread of COVID-19, monitoring absolutely everyone who passes into American soil is a waste of time, money and labor.
“You divert a lot of resources when you are focused on closing borders, rather than focusing on protecting your health workers, preparing your health systems, and enhancing your disease surveillance,” World Health Organization spokesperson and medical doctor, Margaret Harris, told The Intercept.
If everyone who has to travel is aware of the situation, practices social distancing and self-quarantines, then there could be less to worry about. This could be achieved by informing everyone at airports and border crossings. Many people during these times will still have to cross borders and fly by plane, so it’s important to let them know exactly what they’re getting in to.
One problem with the current situation, however, is that “non-essential travel” is subjective. Does someone who wants to see their sickly grandma have as much priority on a flight as a patient traveling to their life-saving surgery?
It may be concerning to let people decide on an incentive on their own. After all, 71 out of 256 COVID-19 cases in Orange County were confirmed to be travel-related. However, it’s best that the decision falls upon the traveler because everyone has different priorities and morals.
People may want to take advantage of cheap flight tickets and empty tourist destinations, but its important to stay home as much as possible right now. Especially, when considering that the spread of infection in the United States is at its peak. Consider the strictest definition of non-essential travel, before deciding to buy a getaway ticket.