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Europe Chief Advises Against Travel, Urges Seniors to Stay Home until Year End

Ursula von der Leyen, Source: EC – Audiovisual Service – European Union, 2020, Photographer: Etienne Ansotte

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen advised Europeans to wait before making travel plans and seniors to stay put until the end of the year due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

Speaking to German daily Bild on Sunday, von der Leyen recommended people to stay home, and called on older citizens or those with pre-existing medical problems to wait until the end of the year before making plans. She also said contacts with the elderly should be kept “to a limited level until the end of the year” to protect them from the coronavirus.

“I recommend waiting before making plans. No one can now make reliable forecasts for July and August,” said Von der Leyen.

“Without a vaccine, we have to limit as much as possible contact with the elderly… I know it’s difficult and that isolation is a burden, but it is a question of life or death, we have to remain disciplined and patient,” she added.

Von der Leyen went on to express hope that a European laboratory will develop a Covid-19 vaccine towards the end of the year with talks ongoing as producers gear up for world production.

In this direction, she said that talks were already underway with authorities to ensure people can be quickly vaccinated.

With regard to voucher policies in travel, Von der Leyen said on an EU level, users have both options: to accept a vouch or receive a full refund.

Last month, Commission encouraged customers to opt for vouchers instead of refunds and consider traveling at a later date in an attempt to mitigate the potential losses for travel agents and operators resulting from mass cancelations due to the coronavirus health crisis.

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