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26 Apr, 2020 11:17

‘European race to allow tourist travel again leads to unacceptable risks’ – German foreign minister

‘European race to allow tourist travel again leads to unacceptable risks’ – German foreign minister

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has warned that it is still too dangerous to rush to reopen European countries for tourists. He cited the example of a Covid-19 outbreak at an Austrian ski resort.

“The European race to who will be the first to allow tourist travel again leads to unacceptable risks,” Maas told Bild am Sonntag.

We have already seen what a cluster of infections at a popular resort can do in tourists’ home countries. We can’t let this happen again. 

Maas was referring to the Alpine ski resort Ischgl, which became Austria’s biggest Covid-19 hotspot in March. It is believed that many tourists continued to spread the disease after returning home. Ischgl and several other resorts were eventually shut down until the strict quarantine measures were lifted on Thursday.

Maas said that European states need to formulate common criteria for travel restrictions to be lifted “as quickly as possible, but [also] as responsibly as necessary.”

“We can’t ruin the hard-won successes of the past few weeks,” the foreign minister said, warning that otherwise the travel restrictions will last much longer.

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Nations such as Italy – which saw over 26,300 deaths from Covid-19 – and Germany began easing quarantine restrictions this month. The Czech Republic reopened its borders for outbound foreign travel this week.

On Saturday, Italian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Minister Dario Franceschini told la Repubblica that the nation’s historical monuments and museums may be allowed to reopen in early May if they comply with safety and disease control rules. However, “there will be no international tourism this year” in Italy, he said.

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