What’s Next? COVID-19 podcast: (Ep 32) Vivek Goel on travel

(photo by Jupiterimages via Getty Images)

Across Canada and around the world, the pandemic has resulted in severe constraints on international and domestic travel, raising the question: Will business, educational and personal travel ever return to pre-pandemic levels?

“Countries are going to have to figure out how to open up in some way,” says Professor Vivek Goel. “There are many different pilot approaches being undertaken.”

In episode 32 of the What’s Next? COVID-19 podcast, Goel explores the positive impact of the reduction in travel on the environment – and the negative impact it has had on tourism, the economy and personal lives as people can no longer travel to see family or attend weddings and funerals.

“The European Union has taken a risk-based approach based on transmission rates in countries and allowing people from lower-risk countries to move more freely,” says Goel, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and a special adviser to the president and provost who is helping guide the university’s COVID-19 planning efforts. “In Alberta, there is a pilot being done with testing on arrival and day seven, allowing people to have a reduced quarantine in exchange for more significant monitoring and testing.

“I, along with some colleagues, recently completed a study, which will soon be published, which supports this type of approach.”

Goel – a renowned public health expert and founding head of Public Health Ontario, which was set up in response to the 2003 SARS outbreak – says quarantine has significant economic, psychological consequences.

“If we can find a way to reduce it, it should help restore some travel. I'm hopeful that we will find some way to bring travel back.”

The COVID-19: What’s Next podcast is created by Goel in collaboration with a University of Toronto Communications team led by producer Lisa Lightbourn.

Note: The information in this podcast is current as of the posting date. Listeners should consult their local public health agency for the latest information in their jurisdiction.

See a list of all the podcast episodes

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