The Pointlessness Of COVID Travel Theatre

Most COVID rules are just rituals. They preserve hierarchies, but don’t change reality
3 min readMar 9, 2022

Airport travel is a weird hellscape where a mish-mash of government rules are imposed by private companies upon hapless people just trying to exercise their human right to move. The result is mountains of ass-covering paperwork, burying colored and poor people while the rich just fly privately.

And this is on a good day. This was before COVID-19. Now it’s sheer insanity. Let me give you one example.

I’ll discuss India, not because the Indian visa process is especially awful (though it is) but just because this is what I have experienced, and still haven’t cleared. We’re trying again tomorrow.

It’s like this all over the world. Countries are appearing to give a shit, while just dumping shit on anyone trying to move.

India’s COVID rules are:

  1. Fully vaccinated people can fly
  2. Unvaccinated children aged 0–4 can fly
  3. Unvaccinated children over 5 must get a PCR test

This is all buried in fine print, and all complete theatre.

Vaccinated people can transmit, so the vaccine certificates mean nothing. Unvaccinated…



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at