I may be spared from the European travel ban, but I’m not looking forward to a potential quarantine upon reaching the USA…
I listened to President Trump’s speech last night from the bed of my hotel…in Accra, Ghana. My jaw literally dropped as he seemed to indicate that all commercial and cargo air travel from Europe to the USA, except from the UK, would be suspended for 30 days. While Trump hinted that there would be some exceptions, my immediate assumption was that the ban applied to everyone, even U.S. passport holders.
I still wasn’t worried about getting home, as the President stated that travel would not be halted from the UK, but I worried that everyone would shift their transatlantic travel to London, filling up flights quickly. I was also concerned that even if I found a way home, I might be subject to a quarantine, as are U.S. citizens now returning from China, even if they do not exhibit signs of illness.
So I sprang into action. I placed a couple British Airways flights that would take me from Accra to Los Angeles via London tonight on hold with American Airlines. I also booked a United ticket from London to Los Angeles.
This was all during the President’s speech.
But after the speech, DHS quickly clarified that U.S. citizens were exempt from the ban. There will be health screenings, no doubt, for everyone entering the USA. It may be that my Global Entry will stop functioning. But the ban applies only to foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen Area over the last 14 days, effective tomorrow (13 March) at 11:59 PM EDT.
That took some of the pressure off. Flights to the USA will likely be packed today and tomorrow. But from Saturday forward, flights will be empty. Most flights will likely be cancelled, but if I return via London I don’t think I’ll have trouble securing space.
I was going to do a post on it today, but I’ll provide some details here. I’m not in Africa on holiday. I’m here on a review trip and to visit four new countries. I’m also looking at a couple stops in Europe on the way back for my import-export business (as a sidetone, please reach out to me if you can supply N95 masks…our customers have great demand). Thus, I have no return booked yet. And despite the fear that surrounds travel now, I’m not really wanting to just abort the trip and come home, especially if this is the last major international trip I will be able to do for many weeks (and potentially months).
So my wife and business partner want me back. Maybe that is reason enough alone. Then again, they always want me back whenever I step foot outside the country. I’ve spent a lot of time and money to get to where I am in Africa and don’t want to throw in the towel just yet, especially when U.S. citizens are spared from the new European ban.
I’d welcome your thoughts on this, but am really leaning toward just sticking it out and worst-case scenario, fly Delta home from Accra or Lagos if the U.S. does begin quarantining Americans who have visited Europe and do not otherwise show signs of sickness.