Coronavirus: foreign holidays under attack

Quarantines, travel warnings, tests - many countries are taking measures to reduce the risk of infection from holidaymakers returning from overseas and tourists. Holidays in the coronavirus era are also a tricky issue for commentators: is it okay to travel abroad, and which protective measures are appropriate?

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The Guardian (GB) /

Staycations are the way to go

The only way to stem the spread of the virus is to avoid foreign travel, writes The Guardian in an appeal to the British public:

“All this is a big ask. But the prize is huge. It would mean a relatively normal internal economy, with domestic tourists replacing international ones. The prize is getting children back to school; releasing our aged population from home isolation or confinement in care homes; protecting our black and minority-ethnic communities; revitalising the arts and sport. And a reduction in the probability of a second wave in the winter, crippling the NHS and requiring a second national lockdown.”

Le Soir (BE) /

Enough of national solo efforts!

The EU urgently needs to address the chaotic decision-making, Le Soir urges:

“Since the start of this crisis European coordination has taken various forms. At this level, the member states decide and the EU Commission must be content with sending recommendations to the 27 members. So each country adopts its small measures without consulting the others. It's as if the EU had no health diplomacy whatsoever. Perhaps that's worth thinking about if we want to avoid widespread chaos.”

Irish Independent (IE) /

Travel ban for unemployed discriminatory

The Irish Independent is outraged that the Irish government wants to cut social security benefits for those traveling to countries comparatively high infection rates:

“At the start of this crisis, social cohesion was strong because people were treated fairly and there was a sense that we were all in it together. ... Now, the Government risks undermining that good work by senselessly targeting the very group it went to such efforts to protect. Those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. ... If the Government believes a travel ban is necessary to protect public health, then introduce one for everyone - rich and poor alike. If not, it must stop discriminating against those in receipt of social welfare payments.”

Gazete Duvar (TR) /

Flying is a Russian roulette

People should think very carfully before travelling by air, Gazete Duvar admonishes:

“In the planes in which we are supposed to stay at a distance of one to two metres from each other while waiting and taking our seats, we sit just six centimetres apart. ... Hardly any of the airlines have a policy of keeping the middle seat free. That's just a myth. ... But the companies are very shrewd. When it suits them they're happy to abide by the Covid-19 rules. They no longer serve food on the plane, or only cheese and bread on long-haul flights. And Turkish Airlines has seized the opportunity and, in line with the Hagia Sophia decision, no longer serves alcohol on international flights.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

What will we do without the tourists?

Phileleftheros is concerned about countries whose economies are heavily dependent on tourism:

“In Cyprus, huge hotel units have been taken out of operation, half of the restaurants are closed, entire tourist villages are like ghost towns. On weekends the beaches and restaurants that decide to open are filled with local guests. On other days they're completely empty. ... What will happen if the pandemic continues? If habits change? If people no longer want to travel? ... If new turmoil comes, what will happen to those of us who have planned everything around tourism?”