COVID-19 travel restrictions are a challenge for Yellow Jackets with family abroad
Imagine not seeing your family for a year and a half and being shut out from the place you call home. This scenario is the reality that many people across the globe are dealing with ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Some of the people affected are here at Perrysburg High School.
Juniors Mairead Dalton from Australia and Mona Abdul-Aziz from France have not gone back to their home countries for over a year now due to their countries’ travel restrictions in response to the pandemic.
According to Pew Research Center, 91% of the world’s population, or 7.1 billion people, currently live in countries with restrictions that limit the amount of people coming into the country.
Dalton said “I have not seen my family since March of 2020, and it has been about four years since I’ve [made the trip] to Australia. Last time we went back was in 2017.”
The restrictions on travel across the globe cause a lot of stress and sadness because would-be travelers cannot see their loved ones.
According to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, the results of a survey they conducted showed that 27.8% of adults reported depression symptoms in contrast to the 8.5% before the pandemic.
Dalton said, “I feel really frustrated. If something happens to any of my relatives I can’t be there, and I so desperately want to be there.”
Many people have different opinions on what is right and what is wrong when it comes to handling the pandemic. Some may feel better knowing that with these restrictions loved ones are staying safer.
Abdul-Aziz said, “I am sad since I’m unable to see my grandmother as often but completely agree with the restrictions placed on France.”
The question many are facing is, what is exactly the appropriate way to go about handling the spread of the coronavirus? Should we shut down completely until the virus is gone or should we continue to live our lives as we normally would? It is a hard question to answer and many people are trying to balance that equation.
Abdul-Aziz mentions that France has taken a laid back approach by allowing all visitors. However, the country requires that unvaccinated people provide a negative COVID test before entering the country.
However, Australia, Dalton said, it is very hard for someone to get into the country and once you are there, the restrictions are still hefty.
Dalton explained the requirements, “In Australia, you need to be fully vaccinated with a negative COVID test. You also have to be quarantined for two weeks in a hotel room… Currently in Australia you cannot go five kilometers outside of your house, in some places it’s 10 but in Sydney it’s five. You also cannot go into another state or territory.”
Dalton said there are additional flaws to the current regulations. She said, “My biggest problem right now is that everyone who wants to go to Australia are people like me who are citizens and are just trying to see elderly relatives and be with their family. Except most of our covid cases are from American celebrities and tourists who decided to go and be irresponsible for the sake of traveling.”
The other side might argue against that by saying that life must continue and as long as they follow Australia’s rules they should be allowed to travel as they want.
Another issue that faces people is the expense of traveling. Pre-pandemic traveling was already expensive, but with countries requiring a certain amount of time spent in quarantine once you arrive in the country, travel can become even more expensive.
Dalton said that the hotel costs her family roughly $3,000 for a two week quarantine. Add the cost of the plane ticket and that would cost them around $5,000 per person both ways, and that is a $20,000 trip for her family. Especially in a time of job shortages, people do not have the money to spend on going home to see their family.
The question still needs answered: what is the best way to travel while staying safe and making it reasonable?
It may be something that is never figured out until the pandemic has ended, but we must all do our part to keep cases down so that families can be reunited and life can be what we once knew it to be.
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