Mediterranean countries risk becoming ‘melting pots’ for coronavirus – expert


Mediterranean destinations which people may flock to after England scraps quarantine for arrivals from low-risk countries could become “melting pots” for coronavirus, an expert has said.

The combination of people flying in from other parts of the world and alcohol being consumed could lead to a flare-up of cases, according to Dr Gabriel Scally, a former NHS doctor and professor of public health at the University of Bristol.

He also said that one of the main issues lies in how people travel to and from airports, and not necessarily the flight itself.

I really worry about some of the places they are going on holiday becoming melting pots for the virus

Prof Scally was speaking at a press conference as a member of the group known as Independent Sage.

The team was set up by former UK Government chief scientific adviser Sir David King after the official Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) faced criticism over not being transparent.

Prof Scally said: “As Europe loosens up and people do go for their Mediterranean holiday, I really worry about some of the places they are going on holiday becoming melting pots for the virus, as people fly in from all sorts of different places and enjoy themselves.

“And alcohol will undoubtedly feature, so I wouldn’t at all be surprised if over the next month or two, we did see some really big flare-ups in some holiday destinations.”

He also raised concerns about whether people would be able to get travel insurance for their holidays.

Prof Scally said: “It may be very difficult for them to get insurance that will protect them from the possibility of being locked down in a particular destination that they’re going to.

“And it may be possible that if there is a flare-up people may not be allowed to return from there, or if they are returned they may be put into compulsory quarantine.”

He added that his personal feeling was that people would be better staying in the UK and Ireland, and avoiding foreign holidays

“If we really want to make a contribution to getting the UK economy and the Irish economy – UK and Ireland as one common travel area – back on its feet, the best things we could do would be to spend our pounds, and our euros in the UK and in Ireland, and not be exporting money elsewhere.”

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