Effectiveness of travel bans – readily used during infectious disease outbreaks – mostly unknown

Virus image with DNA background

Because of the outbreak of a novel coronavirus, travel bans have been widely implemented. But, are they effective at stopping the spread of disease?

Because of the quick and deadly outbreak in late December of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, now known as COVID-19 – infecting tens of thousands and killing hundreds within weeks, while spreading to at least 24 other countries – many governments, including the United States, have banned or significantly restricted travel to and from China.

And while travel bans are frequently used to stop the spread of an emerging infectious disease, a new University of Washington and The Johns Hopkins University study of published research found that the effectiveness of travel bans is mostly unknown.

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