President Trump often pats himself on the again for asserting journey restrictions on China because the novel coronavirus emerged in January. Earlier than the caseload in america exploded, Trump attributed what he thought of a small variety of instances to that call. Whilst deaths from covid-19 in america began to soar, he mentioned he saved lives by imposing what he calls a “ban” on China.
“We’re those that gave the good response, and we’re those that saved China out of right here,” Trump mentioned on March 25. “And if I didn’t do it, you’d have hundreds and hundreds of individuals died — who would’ve died — that at the moment are dwelling and pleased.”
The World Well being Group has cautioned towards such journey restrictions, saying they’re ineffective towards a virus and in the long term counterproductive. Trump, in response to information experiences, was initially skeptical and frightened about upsetting China after signing a serious commerce deal. However his nationwide safety and public well being specialists satisfied him that the transfer would purchase time to place in place efficient prevention and testing measures. (The federal government then bungled the testing rollout, however that’s one other story.)
In Trump’s telling, he took daring motion, forward of others. “Once I did China, it had by no means been carried out earlier than,” he mentioned. “I used to be the primary one to do it.”
Not fairly. Right here’s what the document exhibits.
The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention on Jan. 21 introduced the primary travel-related case of novel coronavirus in america. Trump unveiled his plan 10 days later, making the restrictions efficient Feb. 2. (On Jan. 17, the CDC had begun well being screenings of passengers on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak.)
Trump barred non-U.S. residents from touring from China, however there have been 11 exceptions, and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan weren’t included. U.S. residents and everlasting residents may nonetheless journey from China however have been topic to screening and attainable 14-day quarantine. Some flights have been instantly suspended, however others continued for weeks, on the discretion of the airways.
Some analysts on the time predicted that Trump’s motion can be ineffective at stopping the virus from taking maintain in america.
“The entire proof we have now signifies that journey restrictions and quarantines directed at particular person international locations are unlikely to maintain the virus out of our borders,” mentioned Jennifer Nuzzo, affiliate professor and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins College’s Heart for Well being Safety, at a congressional listening to Feb. 5.
“We don’t have a journey ban; we have now a journey Band-Assist proper now,” mentioned Ron Klain, the Ebola “czar” throughout the Obama administration, on the identical listening to. He added that monitoring everybody fastidiously “is the one sensible factor we will do.”
The New York Instances calculated that not less than 430,000 folks arrived in america on direct flights from China since Jan. 1, together with practically 40,000 within the two months after Trump imposed restrictions. Furthermore, screening proceedings of vacationers from China have been uneven and inconsistent, the Instances mentioned.
In any case, america definitely was not the primary nation — by a protracted shot. We reviewed an inventory of nation actions maintained by the Council on Overseas Relations and cross-checked with official bulletins. Six international locations imposed journey restrictions even earlier than the World Well being Group declared a worldwide well being emergency on Jan. 30. One other six introduced journey restrictions that very same day, adopted by 11 international locations (moreover america) asserting restrictions Jan. 31.
However most international locations imposed the restrictions instantly. By the point Trump’s restrictions took impact Feb. 2, a further 15 international locations had taken comparable actions — and in some instances enacted even harder bans. However in any case, that provides as much as 38 international locations taking motion earlier than or on the identical time the U.S. restrictions have been put in place.
In making this evaluation, we included international locations that banned journey, barred noncitizens or canceled all flights from China. We didn’t embody 12 international locations, resembling Japan, that took some kind of motion earlier than america however with measures that weren’t as sweeping. Japan, as an illustration, barred vacationers from sure areas of China, not your entire nation. Another international locations, such Bangladesh and Myanmar, merely suspended visas on demand for vacationers from China.
The earliest motion was taken by Singapore on Jan. 23, canceling all flights from Wuhan, however the first nation to impose a journey ban was the Marshall Islands on Jan. 24. It was harder than the eventual U.S. motion: Nobody may enter the nation lower than 14 days after visiting China, not even residents.
The US, nonetheless, does stand out amongst its peer nations within the Group of 20, the world’s monetary powers. (The G-20 consists of 19 international locations, together with China, and the European Union.)
Solely Italy and Australia preceded america in imposing journey restrictions — although they have been introduced the identical day — whereas India and Indonesia additionally imposed restrictions efficient Feb. 2. Saudi Arabia and Turkey adopted inside days, in addition to South Korea with a ban on journey from Hubei province. Russia imposed a rolling collection of bans by Feb. 20 and, as famous, Japan took smaller steps early on however didn’t have a full ban on international nationals till April 3. South Africa on March 18 imposed a ban on foreigners who had visited high-risk international locations resembling China. Seven G-20 members, together with the UK, Canada and France, took no steps to dam journey from China.
The White Home mentioned that is the context during which the president’s statements needs to be seen.
“President Trump asserted international management by making the U.S. the primary main financial energy to announce restrictions on international nationals touring from China,” a senior administration official mentioned. “The President’s swift determination got here solely sooner or later after the World Well being Group declared novel coronavirus outbreak a public well being emergency of worldwide concern. The President’s decisiveness paved the way in which for different nations to comply with go well with, saving numerous lives around the globe.”
Italy, a member of the Group of Seven and the world’s eighth-largest economic system, banned all flights to and from China on Jan. 31 however didn’t single out noncitizens. Australia, the 14th-largest economic system, imposed an entry ban on all international nationals who’ve left or transited by means of mainland China, efficient Feb. 1.
Trump’s motion definitely caught the eye of China’s Overseas Ministry. “The U.S. authorities hasn’t offered any substantive help to us, nevertheless it was the primary to evacuate personnel from its consulate in Wuhan, the primary to recommend partial withdrawal of its embassy workers, and the primary to impose a journey ban on Chinese language vacationers,” mentioned Overseas Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Feb. 3. “What it has carried out may solely create and unfold concern, which is a really unhealthy instance.”
Marshall Islands (no instances reported)
North Korea (no instances reported)
Hong Kong (0.5 deaths per million)
Philippines (1 demise per million)
Singapore (1 demise per million)
Papua New Guinea (0.2 deaths per million)
Bahamas (13 deaths per million)
Maldives (no deaths reported)
Trinidad and Tobago (6 deaths per million)
Afghanistan (0.2 deaths per million)
Tajikistan (no instances reported)
Rwanda (no deaths reported)
Jan. 31 — date of U.S. announcement (which was efficient Feb. 2)
El Salvador (0.6 deaths per million)
Guyana (5 deaths per million)
Iran (45 deaths per million)
Italy (G-20 nation) (273 deaths per million)
Jamaica (1 demise per million)
Antigua and Barbuda (no deaths reported)
Turkmenistan (no instances reported)
Morocco (2 deaths per million)
Solomon Islands (no instances reported)
Micronesia (no instances reported)
Kiribati (no instances reported)
Australia (G-20 nation) (2 deaths per million)
Egypt (0.eight deaths per million)
Kyrgyzstan (0.6 deaths per million)
Palau (no instances reported)
Uzbekistan (0.06 deaths per million)
St. Kitts and Nevis (no deaths reported)
Vietnam (no deaths reported)
Fiji (no deaths reported)
New Zealand (0.2 deaths per million)
Grenada (no deaths reported)
India (G-20 nation) (0.1 deaths per million)
Indonesia (G-20 nation) (0.eight deaths per million)
Iraq (2 deaths per million)
Israel (7 deaths per million)
Mauritius (6 deaths per million)
United States (32 deaths per million)
“A number of international locations that denied entry of vacationers or who’ve suspended the flights to and from China or different affected international locations, at the moment are reporting instances of covid-19,” the WHO notes on its web site.
For reference, listed below are the deaths per million for the G-20 international locations that didn’t impose journey restrictions. There isn’t a clear sample evident. Italy imposed a ban Jan. 31 however has the best demise price within the G-20. The US has the fourth-highest demise price among the many international locations within the G-20.
- Argentina (1 demise per million)
- Brazil (Three deaths per million)
- Canada (9 deaths per million)
- France (137 deaths per million)
- Germany (21 deaths per million)
- United Kingdom (79 deaths per million)
The Pinocchio Take a look at
With greater than 10,000 covid-19 deaths recorded in america, the third highest on the earth, it’s unclear whether or not Trump’s journey restrictions have been particularly efficient in the long term. The WHO says such bans, firstly of an outbreak, can briefly assist purchase a while — however that was misplaced when america did not rapidly arrange an efficient testing program. Tens of hundreds of U.S. residents, everlasting residents and exempted foreigners — some carrying the virus — continued to journey from China.
In any case, it’s mistaken for Trump to persistently declare that america was first. Many different international locations imposed comparable bans forward of america, some even harder. The president would have a stronger case to make if he specified that he was speaking about world financial powers. Practically half of the G-20 heeded the WHO recommendation and didn’t impose such journey bans. However Italy and Australia are hardly minor financial powers and introduced their restrictions at roughly the identical time as america.
Trump earns Three Pinocchios.
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The Washington Submit Reality Checker is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of greater than 100 fact-checkers who’re preventing misinformation associated to the covid-19 pandemic. Be taught extra in regards to the alliance right here.