When travellers bring the virus

At the height of the holiday season, the number of people infected with coronavirus has spiked again in many countries. Travel warnings are being issued and holiday destinations declared high-risk areas once more. Some countries are trying to keep infections under control through large-scale testing of people returning from abroad. Commentators are critical of some of the measures.

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Novi list (HR) /

Travel warnings out of self-interest

Italy and Austria have issued travel warnings after a rise in new infections due to people returning from trips to Croatia, and Slovenia is considering following suit. Novi list suspects that selfish interests are behind them:

“Just when it seemed that the tourism season would be better than expected, the numbers of new infections began to increase again. ... In a situation like this, all European countries focus on their own interests. After all, every person who spends the summer in their own country instead of on the Adriatic in Croatia contributes to filling up the holes in their own budget that was drained by the coronavirus crisis in the spring. That is why we must unfortunately assume that Vienna or Ljubljana would rather see people visiting the Alps during the hot summer months than spending their euros on Croatian apartments, hotels and restaurants.”

Népszava (HU) /

Tests must be easy to access

Népszava criticises Hungary's testing strategy:

“In Denmark coronavirus tests are free for people entering the country. They are not mandatory, but recommended. ... And the situation in Hungary? People returning to Hungary are required to have a test and must pay for it themselves. ... There is also the quarantine requirement, with no right to sick pay during this time. ... Even half a year after the outbreak of the pandemic, it may be advisable to remember that comprehensive, easily accessible testing has proven to be the most effective measure against the pandemic spreading - besides wearing masks.”

Le Soir (BE) /

Zero-risk strategy is dangerous

The restrictions aimed at containing the pandemic expose society to a different risk, warn anthropologist Olivier Servais and political scientist François Gemenne in Le Soir:

“The risk of a long-term collapse of society for lack of a foundation or meaning. In the absence of a political perspective and social consensus guiding decisions, zero-risk society is acquiring the biological or social sterility that is taking hold in Covid-19 management. ... Although this strategy reduces the risk of biological death due to the virus, it makes us enter into the deadly risk of emerging inhumanity. After all, there is no humanity without the risk of death: it grants us our freedom and determines how we exercise our free will.”

Kathimerini (GR) /

Wanderlust has become unpopular

Travelling has changed, observes columnist Xenia Kounalaki in Kathimerini:

“In the vast and empty airport halls with the dimly lit shops, passengers with masks on their faces rush to quickly complete the journey which has become a necessary evil. They do not want to waste a single extra minute, mixing with potential (asymptomatic?) carriers of the coronavirus. And when they arrive, who among them is impatient to be on Oxford Street on Saturday afternoon, in a queue of tourists outside the Louvre on a summer morning, in San Francisco during Pride weekend, or at a packed open market in Beijing? Will the pandemic kill wanderlust? Or will it transform it by expelling those who love walking in the harmless nature? ”