Raed Arafat: Do not make plans for this summer yet

Last week, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced the government will ease restrictive measures, adopted to stop the spread of COVID-19, after May 15, adding that parks, hotels and schools might re-open before summer. But Raed Arafat, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Home Affairs and head of the Department for Emergency Situations (DSU), was not so optimistic about the situation and stressed that it was too soon to make holiday plans for the summer.

Arafat spoke on Digi24 television Sunday evening, pointing out that there is a discussion in some European countries about the relaxation of safety measures and that airlines are restarting some flights at the end of the month with certain restrictions. But the state secretary said it was too soon to plan summer trips.

“I am still reluctant to tell someone to make vacation plans and go on vacation because I can’t say this until we see the evolution of the coronavirus, not only in Romania, but also in other areas. For Romania, we need to first see how the easing of measures goes to see if we can extend the easing or not, based on the evolution of the coronavirus. So it is still too early to talk about holidays,” the secretary of state explained.

“I would tell them to wait and see how the situation evolves. For example, there are countries that have already announced that they will allow tourists only if they have been recently tested and tested negative for coronavirus. The significance of the tests is very low anyway because you can be negative today and then be positive a few days later,” the DSU chief said. He also said that the COVID passports, mentioned by WHO, present a person’s status at the time of the test, which may not be valid in two or three days, when the person arrives in another country.

“Rather, I believe that the temperature and the symptoms should be checked when someone leaves the country, not only at their arrival, to prevent a person from boarding a plane and infecting other people. I think this is more useful than having a passport that says you don’t have COVID,” Mr. Arafat explained.

Additionally, he stressed that the relaxation of restrictive measures will not mean that we can return to our old lifestyle, to what existed before the pandemic.

“This is not the case. These measures will be adopted gradually, carefully decided upon, carefully chosen, and with monitoring,” Arafat pointed out. He added that people should not expect that on the first day of the easing, everyone can go out onto the streets. “Parks may reopen, but not the playground in the parks. Those will remain closed,” he explained.

Title image: Raed Arafat believes that people should be checked for signs of coronavirus when they leave a country, not only when they arrive in another one. Photo: Facebook/Raed Arafat


Author: Orsi Sarány