Travel Bubbles Define Where We Go in 2020

Under the suggested travel partnerships, countries that had success in limiting the impacts of the coronavirus (such as Israel, which saw just over 240 COVID-19–related deaths in its population of around 9 million, or Czech Republic, which has suffered less than 300 deaths in its population of more than 10 million) would open their borders to other countries with few cases, allowing residents to travel freely between the two (or three) without a 14-day quarantine. In most cases, travelers could drive between the countries, though some would require air travel. The idea is catching on: the E.U. recently released a report outlining reopening strategies for the travel industry across the continent, and similar member states buddying up with each other was part of the plan. "Restrictions on travel should first be lifted in areas with a comparable epidemiological situation and where sufficient capabilities are in place in terms of hospitals, testing, surveillance and contact tracing capacities," the report said.

Greek officials have been the most outspoken, hoping to get back some of the summer tourism dollars that support its economy (tourism contributes to about 18 percent of the Greek GDP.) The deal with Israel and Cyprus, among a few other countries, is not yet set in stone because there are plenty of details to work out, such as "the medical clearances travelers will need to have before setting foot in either of the three countries, [and] whether hotels will offer breakfast and dinner buffets," Greece's Minister of Tourism Harry Theoharis told Voice of America. "Tracking and tracing systems will also have to be in place if there is an outbreak of infections at a resort."

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