By Roger Bara…
The recent news that thousands of people holidaying in Spain will suddenly now have to isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK has got me wondering why anyone, unless they really, really had no choice, would want to travel at all, anywhere. Especially with so many places around the world either experiencing a surge of new COVID-19 cases, or expecting a second wave of some sort.
Yes, I understand that people are very fed up, probably very hard up, and feel very hard done by with what they have had to experience over the last few months. So why not a break to get away from it all, what’s the harm in that? A question for every single individual to consider so here’s my penny’s worth.
We too can feel somewhat hard done by, along with everyone else. Our granddaughter has just graduated with high honours at the Eastern Mediterranean University in Famagusta, along with being best student in her year. Both our sons and their families were due over in June to share this once-in-a-lifetime celebration. All cancelled, of course.
Last month, Mrs B and I were due to attend a wedding up north, and in September, a family get-together in Malta. Both cancelled, though the point is we decided against those trips long before the flights were withdrawn by the airline. Just to show how quickly things can change anywhere, news is emerging as I write this that more than two thirds of a group of 94 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by the Maltese coastguard have tested positive for coronavirus.
My yearly trip to Jersey to present the annual Jersey Sports Association for the Disabled awards, as a patron, in November is also off, though interestingly, I have been asked to present the awards remotely. That’ll be a first! Our intended visit to see family in Copenhagen for Christmas and New Year is hanging in the balance by a super-fine polyester thread that is almost invisible.
OK, one reason for the reticence to travel is, well let’s be blunt, that I’m an old git, and whilst I wouldn’t (dare) put Mrs B in that category, she will admit to being somewhat past a spring chicken. Sadly, her plethora of auto-immune issues also makes her a perfect example of how being infected with COVID-19 would almost certainly book her an early appointment with Mr. G. Reaper. So our attitude is very much safety first – not just for us both, but in the event we could pass on the virus. It’s just a no-go, and we’re happy with our decisions.
It also begs the question whether those of much more tender years feel somewhat different to us old fogeys. Of course they do, so would we, I’m sure if the positions were reversed. But could it be that some youngsters already feel invincible? They’re young, they haven’t got it so far, (are they sure?), and anyway, even if they do get it, their bodies will cope, so nothing to worry about there. And, be honest, when they get to their destination, are they all really going to socially-distance and not join any crowds, and wear a mask at all times?
I get many messages from people asking me when I think it will be a good time for them to come back on holiday to North Cyprus. My message is simple. Not this year. Just don’t bother. It’s not worth the hassle and risk. Our borders are also open and guess what, we now have an increasing amount of positive cases. What a surprise. Added to that, the Greek Cypriots, as we are all aware, are making unilateral decisions whether to allow non-Cypriots across the border. So you could land in Larnaca or Paphos, and not be allowed into the North, or, after your stay, you could be travelling back to the Greek side for your flight home, and not be allowed out of the north.
Many travel websites I have looked at suggest to potential holiday-makers that they ask themselves first whether the virus is spreading where they live, and whether the virus is spreading where they want to go. But the answer is no way that straight-forward. Because, let’s face it, nobody knows.
You could easily leave the shores of the UK during a time when positive cases are stable. You could fly onward to a country, like the TRNC, that also seems reasonably safe, or vica-versa. Within a few days, the situation could have changed for the worse in both places. You’re then stuck with, at minimum, compulsory quarantine on your return, or, much worse, come home with something you really, really don’t want to have.