The Indian government has mandated states do away with any restrictions on movement of persons within the country as it seeks to move past the early impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The policy of unrestricted travel first announced in ‘Unlock 2’ has been reiterated in ‘Unlock 3’ and ‘4’ guidelines, and states are now lifting restrictions like e-passes, Covid-19 tests and quarantine.
States which allow unrestricted access are likely to benefit from huge pent-up demand, authorities argue, as the air, rail and road transport also open up.
However, to date, only about a dozen states have implemented travel without any restrictions.
The rest are now expected to suit.
Domestic air travel is currently operating at around one third of normal levels, with the aviation ministry maintaining normal service could be resumed by the end of the year.
Countries are also preparing to reopen as the risk perceptions of travel have considerably subsided.
Though it may be a while before full normalcy is established, countries that open faster and with least restrictions are likely to tap into the pent-up demand in the coming season.
Indian minister of tourism, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, said domestic travel reopening fully is a strong precursor to that happening internationally.
It is noteworthy that domestic air travel in China is reported to have recovered to 84 per cent to what it used to be in 2019.
Domestic as well as international destinations that open faster and with least restrictions are likely to tap into the pent-up demand in the coming season.
Given the widespread nature of the pandemic, now it is being realised that lockdowns are a blunt instrument and widespread travel restrictions are not required, as per the World Health Organisation.