As European countries prepare to reopen to tourists, two leading German doctors on Sunday warned that the mass movement of holidaymakers could prompt a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Max Geraedts, a doctor and health researcher at the University of Marburg, told the dpa news agency that large gatherings could lead to “another sharp increase” in infections.
“If you walk alone on the beach, no matter where in the world, then, of course it doesn’t matter,” he said. “But when you go to a bar where there are lots of people, that can have unpleasant results.”
Geraedts said that tourist destinations could be responsible for a second phase of exponential growth in cases which are then brought back to visitors’ home countries.
He also warned that medical care abroad may not be as good as it is in Germany, especially if a traveler falls seriously ill with COVID-19.
“In the places where there is poorer health care, it is more dangerous — particularly for people who are already at risk,” Geraedts added.
He said holidaymakers also risked endangering the local population: “If foreigners in need of treatment have to be factored in [by health systems abroad], that is, of course bad,” he said. “Ethically it is at least questionable if you have few resources for those already there and then have to account for travelers too.”