What Traveling Internationally Is Like in the Age of Coronavirus

“I’ve never seen it like that in 20 years,” my Uber driver exclaimed as he told me I was his first airport drop off in six weeks.

An eerie silence greeted me as I collected my bags from the trunk of the car and walked into the terminal. Gone were the billowing voices which normally announced the arrival and departure details of jetsetters over the loudspeaker, as was the constant hum of never-ending take-off and landings overhead. Even the beeps from angry taxis drivers who were used to spending the majority of their day battling the incessant L.A. traffic had been quieted.

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“I need you to fill this in,” instructed the masked man at the check-in desk for my flight. Do you have a cough, a temperature, any signs at all of COVID-19? the health form asked. I ticked “no” to all. More than a month of social distancing meant that even the annual cold I was usually afflicted with had been absent this year.

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