With the COVID-19 infections seemingly becoming more controlled in some countries in the region, policymakers are turning their focus toward exit strategies for domestic containment measures. Eventually, though, the lifting of travel bans will come to the fore—when and how to implement them, given that some major trade and tourism partners may still be at dangerous stages of the pandemic, or may not have adequately identified the infected populations.

Indeed, balancing the trade-off between reviving the economy and risking a second wave of infections will be one of the biggest challenges that regional policymakers will face. This note examines the US example, where individual US states are starting to lift restrictions even though some of them are still in the first- to mid-stages of the COVID Cycle. The analysis is also applicable to regions (such as the EU with Schengen), or individual countries where there is no centralized management of the pandemic.

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Authors: Anne Oeking, Li Lian Ong, Marthe M. Hinojales