President Trump regularly pats his back for announcing a ban on traveling to China as a novel coronavirus appeared in January. Before the caseload in the United States exploded, Trump linked what he considered a small number of cases to that decision. Even when deaths from covid-19 in the United States began to surge, he said he saved lives by imposing what he called a “ban” on China.
“We are the people who gave extraordinary responses, and we are the people who keep China away from here,” Trump said on March 25. “And if I don’t, you will have thousands and thousands of people dead – who will die – who are now alive and happy.”
World Health Organization has warned oppose these travel restrictions, saying they are ineffective against viruses and in the long run counterproductive. Trump, according to news reports, Initially skeptical and worried about provoking China after signing a major trade agreement. But national security and public health experts assured him that the move would take time to implement effective prevention and testing measures. (The government later screwed up the test launch, however that’s another story.)
In Trump’s narrative, he takes courageous action, in front of others. “When I did China, it had never been done before,” he said. “I was the first to do it.”
Not too. This is what is shown by the note.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on January 21 was announced the first case related to the journey of a coronavirus novel in the United States. Trump launches the plan 10 days later, making restrictions take effect February 2. (On January 17, the CDC has begun passenger health checks on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak.)
Trump prohibits non-US citizens from traveling from China, but there are 11 exceptions, and Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are not included. US citizens and permanent residents can still travel from China but must undergo a 14-day inspection and quarantine possibility. Some flights were immediately suspended, but others continued for weeks, at the discretion of the airline.
Some analysts at the time predicted that Trump’s actions would not be effective in preventing transmission of the virus in the United States.
“All the evidence we have shows that travel restrictions and quarantines directed at individual countries are unlikely to prevent the virus from crossing our borders,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, associate professor and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University Health Safety Center, at the February 5 congressional hearing.
“We don’t have a travel ban; we have a Band-Aid for the trip now, “said Ron Klain,” king “of Ebola during the Obama administration, at the same trial. He added that monitoring everyone carefully” is the only practical thing we can do. “
The New York Times counted that at least 430,000 people arrived in the United States on direct flights from China since January 1, including nearly 40,000 in the two months after Trump imposed restrictions. In addition, the process of examining travelers from China is uneven and inconsistent, the Times said.
In any case, the United States is clearly not the first country – in the long run. We review the list of state actions managed by the Council on Foreign Relations and cross-checked with official announcements. Six countries impose travel restrictions even before the World Health Organization declared global health emergency on January 30. The other six announced travel restrictions on the same day, followed by 11 countries (besides the United States) announcing January 31 restrictions.
But most countries impose immediate restrictions. By the time Trump’s restrictions took effect on February 2, 15 additional countries had taken similar action – and in some cases stricter restrictions were imposed. But in any case, it adds up to 38 countries that take action before or at the same time the U.S. restrictions enforced.
In conducting this analysis, we include countries that prohibit travel, ban foreign nationals, or cancel all flights from China. We did not include 12 countries, such as Japan, which took action in the United States but with non-sweeping steps. Japan, for example, prohibits travelers from certain regions in China, not entire countries. Some other countries, such as Bangladesh and Myanmar, only suspend visas at the request of tourists from China.
The earliest action was taken by Singapore on January 23, canceling all flights from Wuhan, but the first country to impose a travel ban was the Marshall Islands on January 24. That’s tougher than the eventual US action: No one can enter the country less than 14 days after visiting China, not even a citizen.
The United States, however, stands out among its peers in the Group of 20, the world’s financial powerhouse. (The G-20 consists of 19 countries, including China and the European Union.)
Only Italy and Australia overtook the United States to impose travel restrictions – even though they were announced on the same day – while India and Indonesia also imposed effective restrictions on 2 February. Saudi Arabia and Turkey followed in a few days, as well as South Korea with a travel ban from Hubei province. Russia imposed a series of rolling bans on February 20 and, as noted, Japan took small steps from the start but did not have a full ban on foreign nationals until April 3. South Africa on March 18 imposed a ban on foreigners who had visited high-risk countries such as China. Seven G-20 members, including Britain, Canada and France, did not take steps to block travel from China.
The White House says this is the context in which the president’s statement must be seen.
“President Trump reiterated global leadership by making the US the first major economic power to announce restrictions on foreign nationals traveling from China,” said a senior government official. “The president’s quick decision came just one day after the World Health Organization declared a new coronavirus outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern. The President’s decisiveness paved the way for other countries to follow suit, saving many lives around the world. “
Italy, a member of the Group of Seven and the eighth largest economy in the world, banned all flights to and from China on January 31 but did not elect foreign nationals. Australia, the 14th largest economy, imposes a ban on all foreign nationals who have left or transited through mainland China, effective February 1.
Trump’s actions certainly attract the attention of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. “The US government has not provided substantive assistance to us, but it is the first to evacuate personnel from its consulate in Wuhan, the first to suggest withdrawing some of its embassy staff, and the first to impose travel bans on Chinese travelers,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said on February 3. “What he has done can only create and spread fear, which is a very bad example.”
Marshall Island (no cases reported)
North Korea (no cases reported)
Hongkong (0.5 deaths per million)
The Philippines (1 death per million)
Singapore (1 death per million)
Papua New Guinea (0.2 deaths per million)
The Bahamas (13 deaths per million)
Maldives (no deaths reported)
Trinidad and Tobago (6 deaths per million)
Afghanistan (0.2 deaths per million)
Tajikistan (no cases reported)
Rwanda (no deaths reported)
January 31 – U.S. announcement date (effective February 2)
El Salvador (0.6 deaths per million)
Guyana (5 deaths per million)
Iran (45 deaths per million)
Italy (G-20 countries) (273 deaths per million)
Jamaica (1 death per million)
Antigua and Barbuda (no deaths reported)
Turkmenistan (no cases reported)
Morocco (2 deaths per million)
Solomon Island (no cases reported)
Micronesia (no cases reported)
Kiribati (no cases reported)
Australia (G-20 countries) (2 deaths per million)
Egypt (0.8 deaths per million)
Kyrgyzstan (0.6 deaths per million)
Palau (no cases reported)
Uzbekistan (0.06 deaths per million)
St. Kitts and Nevis (no deaths reported)
Vietnamese (no deaths reported)
Fiji (no deaths reported)
New Zealand (0.2 deaths per million)
Grenada (no deaths reported)
India (G-20 countries) (0.1 deaths per million)
Indonesia (G-20 countries) (0.8 deaths per million)
Iraq (2 deaths per million)
Israel (7 deaths per million)
Mauritius (6 deaths per million)
United States of America (32 deaths per million)
“Some countries that refuse entry of travelers or who have suspended flights to and from China or other affected countries are now reporting co-19 cases,” WHO notes on its website.
For reference, here are deaths per million for G-20 countries that do not impose travel restrictions. There is no clear pattern. Italy imposed a January 31 ban but has the highest death rate in the G-20. The United States has the fourth highest mortality rate among countries in the G-20.
- Argentina (1 death per million)
- Brazil (3 deaths per million)
- Canada (9 deaths per million)
- France (137 deaths per million)
- German (21 deaths per million)
- great Britain (79 deaths per million)
With more than 10,000 deaths recorded 19 in the United States, the third highest in the world, it is unclear whether Trump’s travel restrictions are very effective in the long run. The WHO said such a ban, at the start of the outbreak, could briefly help buy time – but that was lost when the United States failed to quickly create an effective testing program. Tens of thousands of US citizens, permanent residents and excluded foreigners – some carrying the virus – continue to travel from China.
In any case, it is wrong for Trump to consistently claim that the United States is the first. Many other countries impose similar restrictions in front of the United States, some even more severe. The President will have stronger reasons to make if he mentions that he is talking about the strength of the world economy. Nearly half of the G-20 heeded WHO’s advice and did not impose such a travel ban. But Italy and Australia are not small economic powers and announce their restrictions at about the same time as the United States.
Trump produces Three Pinocchios.
Send us the facts to be checked by filling out this form
Washington Post Fact Checker works with CoronaVirusFacts / Datos CoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-examiners who are battling misinformation regarding the covid-19 pandemic. Learn more about this alliance here.
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]