Open Borders Are Noble, But Are They Helpful?


I personally was in China during the main stages of the early outbreak of coronavirus, and thus witnessed the measures being taken. I had made a personal choice that I needed to leave China for work reasons, something validated by the almost universal 14 day quarantine that came directly after.

Hong Kong were due to basically shut the last of their borders at 00.00 on the 8th of February (I arrived on the 7th at 22.20). I personally put myself into a self imposed quarantine for 7 days, leaving to buy food, and take a general look at how the city state was treating coronavirus.

The difference between mainland China and Hong Kong could not be any more noticeable, with up to 1/5 of people not wearing masks (a complete no-no on the mainland), and bars full of people acting like normal. Again in stark contrast to China, where almost everything except supermarkets/ pharmacies and the odd convenience store are completely shut down.

My travels since have taken me to Thailand, and now Laos, both of which are still very much open to Chinese, Hong Kong, and Macanese visitors. The leader of Cambodia Hun Sen even gleefully welcomed a group of cruise shippers without wearing a mask.

Technically staying in a non-Chinese country, such as Thailand will grab you your 14 days outside of the country, and thus “clean” your passport for travel to the rest of the planet.

I personally believe that the stringent measure brought in by the the PR China government are the reason the world isn’t at melting point already, but I sincerely worry that unless neighboring countries, particularly those with open borders do not take action, we could be in deep trouble.

Posters saying that you stand with the people of Wuhan are admirable, but only good for morale. It is action on the ground that is needed to protects the world against coronavirus.