The American passport is losing its privilege as countries across the world look to ban travelers from countries with uncontrolled coronavirus outbreaks

  • The US passport is losing the privilege it once held as countries ban American travelers due to the countries poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • The US has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths compared to any other country and the outbreak is still surging. 
  • The European Union excluded the US from a list of countries allowed to visit its member states last week. 
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Many countries across the globe are beginning to open back up as they get their coronavirus outbreaks under control, and they are limiting or banning travel with countries where the virus is running rampant — including the United States. 

The US passport, which allowed holders access to numerous countries visa-free or with visa on-site, no longer holds the same access, The New York Times reported.

"This is shocking, to see one of the most advanced countries in the world be put in the slow lane of the global reopening," Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, the London research institution for international affairs told The Times. 

According to The Times, five Americans who flew to Sardinia on a private jet were turned away and governors in Mexico are advocating for tighter border measures to prevent Americans from going into the country and spreading the virus. 

Dimitry Kochenov, a co-creator of The Quality of Nationality Index, which looks at what benefits different citizenships get, told The Times: "citizenship is the main factor behind preserving global inequalities today."

"So of course the US passport has always symbolized the ultimate level of this privilege," Kochenov added.

He explained that in the case of the Americans in Sardinia, despite the wealth they had to fly on a private jet, it didn't  "allow them to overcome the deficiency of the US passport today."

Countries are closing their doors to Americans, as the outbreak in the US — the worst in the world — nears 3 million infections with over 131,000 deaths.  

The US last week surpassed 50,000 new daily coronavirus cases, and that trend has been maintained this week with multiple states and cities recording record-high new infections, hospitalizations, or deaths. 

Niblett told the Times that beyond the surging of cases in the US, "America's health care system is decentralized, unpredictable and unequal," which also plays a role in countries choosing to limit or ban travel to their countries by Americans. 

Last week, the European Union excluded the US from the list of countries that are allowed to visit their member states due to its poor handling of the outbreak. 

According to The Times, this loss of privilege is what many others who hold other citizenships have long experienced.

"The pandemic simply demonstrates to Americans what the rest of the world has already known about the main function of nationality in the world," Kochenov told The Times. 

However, Niblett told the Times that when Trump issued a travel ban for Europe back in March, it gave other countries permission to do the same for the US. 

According to CNN, in the most recent Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the world's most travel-friendly passports, the US officially came in 7th however, considering bans on people traveling from here, it actually fairs closer to countries like Mexico. 

"Americans have around the same level of travel freedom as citizens of Mexico (No. 25 on Henley Passport Index, with a score of 159) and Uruguay (No. 28, with a score of 153)," CNN wrote. 

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