WTTC warns against ‘choking travel’

St. Mark's Basilica, Venice, Italy
Venice has cancelled its festival in the wake of the virus

“Choking travel” won’t stop the coronavirus spreading, the World Travel & Tourism Council warned.

Closing borders, blanket travel bans and more extreme government policies would not stop the spread of coronavirus, the organisation said.

Gloria Guevara, president & CEO, WTTC, said: “Governments and those in authority must not seek to choke travel and trade at this time. Closing borders, imposing blanket travel bans and implementing extreme policies are not the answer to stopping the spread of coronavirus.

“Past experience shows that taking such extreme action has been ineffective at best. We urge governments to explore fact-based measures which don’t affect the vast majority of people and businesses for whom travel is essential.”

The WTTC reported that 33 countries, 16% of the total number worldwide, had reported cases of Covid-19. The vast majority of patients affected by the virus had also fully recovered. Covid-19 has a lower mortality rate than previous viral outbreaks such as SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012.

Guevara added: “One death is one too many from any virus but now is not the time to panic. We understand there is huge concern about Covid-19. However, it’s important to remember that fatality rates remain very low and the chances of contracting the virus, for the vast majority of people, are very remote if they travel responsibly and observe simple hygiene measures.”

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