Covid 19 coronavirus: What will it take to reopen the world to travel?

Above all, it’s trust. Countries are rebuilding relationships under enormous economic pressure, while keeping a wary eye on a virus that’s not going away soon.

After months of locked-down borders, countries that have stifled the coronavirus are trying to choreograph a risky dance: how to bring back visitors without importing another burst of uncontrolled contagion.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania dropped restrictions for one another May 15 while keeping out everyone else. Australia and New Zealand are planning to revive unrestricted flights within their own “travel bubble,” which Fiji, Israel and Costa Rica are clamoring to join.

In China, cities are fast-tracking corporate charter flights, although Beijing remains sealed off. In Cyprus, tourists can get in only if they carry health certificates proving they tested negative for Covid-19.

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International travel has always been a proxy for trust among nations and people, but the pandemic has poisoned the air. Now, relationships are being rebuilt under enormous economic pressure, with a wary eye on a pathogen that is not going away anytime soon.

The calculations of risk and reward vary. Some countries are eager to find ways to reopen doors to people from places, like the United States, that are still struggling with the virus but are important sources of trade and tourism. Others are scanning the globe for safer, if less lucrative, partners.

The challenge for every country involves both epidemiology and psychology. Trips for business and pleasure must have enough restrictions to make travelers feel safe but not so many that no one wants to bother.

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