European experts argue that in the current epidemiological situation the number of imported cases represents “a very low proportion” and they see that the general contagion rates would significantly increase as being “unlikely”.
“The prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in travellers is estimated likely to be lower than the prevalence in the general population or among contacts of confirmed cases.” the document states, adding that though the recommendations are not binding on member states, it is supported by the European Commission.
In the opinion of the ECDC experts and EASA, no systematic testing should be enforced but instead measures designed to combat the pandemic in the travel sector should focus more on offering tourists extensive information on the epidemiological situation at their destinations and on the measures implemented in practice at airports and on airplanes to avoid contagion.
The Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, said at a press conference after the meeting by videoconference with the EU 27 that the risk of coronavirus “is not the trip itself”, but the containment measures in the places of origin and destination, insisting on governments being aware of “the risk of relaxing confinement measures too quickly.”
In any case, the European recommendations now ask member states to understand that “travellers not be considered a risk population or treated as if they had been in contact” with a coronavirus patient, unless they are aware of having been in contact with an infected person.