The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Homeland Security

Big Air Hubs Were Major Factor in Spread of Coronavirus, UK Is Prime Example, Claims New Study

Sputnik News

19:24 GMT 10.06.2020(updated 19:27 GMT 10.06.2020)

The news will likely add pressure on the government of Boris Johnson, which has been harshly criticized by public health experts for its slow response to the outbreak, in particular for the decision not to restrict air travel during the pandemic.

Air travel has been a major factor in the spread of the coronavirus, with countries that have big air hubs being the worst affected by the disease, says a Global Peace Index report, a study conducted by The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a global think tank headquartered in Australia. "The countries most impacted are countries that are really participating in global trade in the globalized world and the interconnected world. These are countries in which you will find a large airport hub, giving the potential to people to travel from one country to the other", said the IEP's director Serge Stroobants.

The institute cited the United Kingdom as the prime of example of a country where air travel has "facilitated contagion". Britain is one of the countries worst-affected by the coronavirus in terms of death toll - more than 41,000. Only the United States, which has the biggest number of cases, has more fatalities from the disease – more than 114,000.

Unlike other countries that suspended air travel during the pandemic, British authorities decided not to restrict it, only advising its citizens not to travel abroad. This move has been harshly criticized by public health experts and members of the public.

"If this virus becomes established around the world, there is no way in stopping it from getting to Britain eventually. Do you try to shut ourselves off as a nation and delay it, and if it does go pandemic in the rest of the world it is inevitable that it would come here? Or do you try to keep as much normal life as possible and tackle it by finding those who do come in to the country?", Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Question Time in March.

Later it turned out that the government's decision was motivated by a report by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, which said that the number of coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom was so big that measures to stop imported cases would have negligible impact and should be implemented only if the country manages to contain the spread of the disease.

Britain is now gradually emerging from lockdown, with authorities requiring people arriving in the country to self-isolate for 14 days.


Join the mailing list