Countries with the most powerful passports that give access to a large number of destinations around the world have maintained the most stringent entry restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while those with low-level passports have opted not for such precautions in order to stop The virus has spread further, resulting in the widest global mobility gap in its 16-year history.
Those conclusions were reached in a recent analysis of the Henley Passport Index report, based on International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures, TheSchengen.com reports.
The same source shows that while Japanese and Singapore passports are ranked first in the Henley Passport Index, with visa-free access to 192 countries, both have maintained stricter entry bans compared to the restrictions imposed in Afghanistan due to COVID-19, despite Her passport grants visa-free entry to 26 countries only.
Despite the fact that Japan ranks first with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 192, at present, the same entry is prohibited for almost all travelers from other countries as a precaution to stop the further spread of coronavirus.
At the same time, the report stressed that Germany, which ranked second due to a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 190, bars entry to travelers from nearly 100 countries.
In contrast, although Egypt is ranked 97th, it does not currently impose travel restrictions. However, its citizens are able to travel without a visa to only 51 destinations around the world.
Another country, ranked 77th, Kenya, does not have a travel ban. However, Kenyan passport holders are only allowed to enter 72 countries without obtaining a visa in advance.
The statement read: “Countries in the north of the world with high-level passports have imposed some of the most stringent incoming travel restrictions related to Covid-19, while many countries with low-level passports have relaxed their borders without seeing this openness. reciprocally”.
According to the Henley Passport Index, these restrictions have created a deep gap in freedom of travel even for people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus, coming from countries at the lower end of the ranking that remain closed off from most others.
On the matter, experts suggest that such policies that were initially introduced to stop the spread of the virus are being implemented to “contain mobility from the Global South”.
According to Professor Mehari Tadele Maru, a fellow at the United Nations University’s Institute for Comparative Regional Integration Studies, the rationale behind the entry restrictions for travelers from the Global South is not necessarily related to vaccination or infection rates of COVID-19, as they are subject to self-isolation requirements despite their vaccination status.
“The Global North has been enforcing aggressive migration containment strategies for some time now through the strict application of border controls, undermining the movement of people in various ways. He noted that the Covid-19-related travel restrictions are new additions to the migration containment toolkit that the Global North is using to reduce Mobility from the Global South.
In this regard, Dr. Laila Haj Abdo, lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna, emphasized that the travel restrictions imposed in European countries also cause difficulties on the path of normal life.
She stressed that “international migration and mobility will continue to play an important role in the EU’s economy and development, given the persistent skills shortage in many member states.”
According to her, the rapid spread of COVID-19 and its new strains is causing uncertainty about whether the economy can remain open, especially the tourism sector.