Many Russians are not going to spend their days off at home, but on vacation in Turkey or Cyprus. This is evidenced by a recent study by Rosgosstrakh, according to which the sale of policies for foreign travel has increased in the country.
According to the company, after the announcement of the introduction of a forced “vacation”, the Russians over the past week have bought twice as few policies for travel around the country than a week earlier. The number of policies for travel to Turkey, on the contrary, increased by 45%, to Cyprus – by 38%. There has also been an increase in demand for travel insurance for Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Wealthier Russians will head to the Maldives, where, according to tour operators, there are practically no places left in popular hotels.
Earlier, representatives of the tourist business have already reported that after the introduction of a non-working week, demand increased sharply, and with it prices for foreign trips. So, the cost of air tickets to Turkey reached a fabulous 350 thousand rubles, and to Egypt – up to 450 thousand one way. Perhaps such prices will become a natural travel limitation and will force the majority of citizens to stay at home, as recommended by Rospotrebnadzor, and not to travel abroad. However, the wealthiest stratum of Russians, apparently, are not going to deny themselves travel, even despite warnings from the authorities.
October 20 Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova at a meeting with the president and members of the government, she urged Russians to refrain from traveling to other regions during non-working days, so as not to complicate the situation with the coronavirus. However, she did not mention foreign trips, and, as experts say, the tourism industry took this as an unambiguous signal.
As for the epidemiological situation in popular tourist destinations, the situation in Turkey is slightly better than ours – on October 26, 29 thousand new cases were recorded there daily against 35 thousand in Russia. In Cyprus, everything is much better – 189 cases, but there the population is just over a million. In the Maldives on October 26, the number of new cases was 115, however, there, if desired and the availability of funds, you can “self-isolate” on a separate island.
How the flow of Russians who went abroad and then returned home will affect the epidemiological situation and whether it will reduce all efforts to combat covid to naught is an open question. As well as whether the travelers will bring the next “delta” or “mu” strain to their homeland. Immunologist Nikolay Kryuchkov told “SP” that there is such a possibility, so it would be necessary to tighten the regime of travel abroad.
– Firstly, when traveling, people travel by transport – first to the airport, then they are on the plane, then they go by bus to the hotel. Secondly, you can get infected while staying in recreation areas. Small guest houses are one thing, big hotels are another. People eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in common areas, are in a common area, and can get infected on the beach – there is such a study for Spain, Italy and Brazil.
Therefore, there is a danger of catching the coronavirus from those who travel abroad, and it is rather big. On a national scale, this will play a role and add cases of infection, but in general, the final balance of the upcoming anti-epidemic measures, it seems to me, will still be positive.
However, these risks could be avoided and the tourist flow reduced. It was clear from the start that exhortations and pleas would not work, so more action was needed to reduce the number of overseas travel.
“SP”: – Perhaps the decision not to close foreign destinations is due to the fact that the situation with coronavirus there is better than ours?
– In Turkey, the situation, although better, is not much better. In Cyprus, the numbers are much lower, but even this does not mean that it is impossible to get infected there. When we assess the risks of this kind of travel, we must always understand that infection can occur not only from foreigners at the place of stay, but also from compatriots who travel with you or live in the same hotel. In addition, there is an epidemic there and the incidence is not zero, although anti-epidemic measures are actually being taken in hotels. But this cannot guarantee that infection will not occur in the company of a large number of unfamiliar people.
“SP”: – Can travelers bring new strains to Russia?
– In the Eastern Hemisphere, the delta-plus strain and its “descendants” dominate almost everywhere. As for the eastern hemisphere, the landscape is more varied and there are other powerful lines. Now, against the backdrop of pressure from mass vaccinations and people getting sick, even more evolutionarily effective strain lines will appear.
Actually, this is already happening. The last new British strain that has been noticed and identified in Israel, Europe and Russia is AY42, belongs to the delta line. This is an enhanced version of the delta. In general, the virus continues to evolve, increases infectivity and acquires the ability to escape from herd immunity.
Today, infectiousness does not grow in leaps and bounds; this build-up occurs slowly, but constantly, by 10-15%. If the infectivity of the very first virus, which came from Wuhan, was in the region of 2.6%, then this last variant is approaching 9%. It is possible that even more infectious variants, adapted to herd immunity, will emerge. The good news is that it makes little sense for the virus to increase pathogenicity, although fluctuations in virulence are possible. Most likely, there will be a gradual increase in infectivity, but it cannot increase indefinitely, perhaps we have already come to its limits.
Professor of Virology Alexander Chepurnov believes that the likelihood of bringing new strains of the virus to Russia is small, since now almost all tourist countries are dominated by the delta strain, as well as in the territory of the Russian Federation.
– In different countries, the situation with the incidence is different, but our people will generally rush not to Europe and Israel, where the situation is better, and where we will not be allowed, but to countries where it is worse. And if the incidence in the country is high, naturally, it is more likely that something will be brought from there. But from the point of view of bringing new strains to Russia, I do not expect anything particularly bad, simply because now the “delta” is so omnipotent that it has won everywhere, even here, even in Turkey, even in Egypt. Chances are high that no new nasty things will be added to us after this weekend, although this cannot be completely ruled out. It would be possible to take advantage of the opportunity and release only vaccinated citizens abroad, this could contribute to the intensification of vaccination.
Another question is that the meaning of the non-working week was for people to stay at home and communicate less. But due to our national characteristics, everything happened exactly the opposite. Therefore, it may be that all this was started in vain.
“SP”: – That is, the effect of non-working days may be insignificant due to the fact that people will not sit in isolation?
– I think yes. The point was to interrupt the chains of infection, to separate people so that they would not meet at work and in transport. But if at the same time during the weekend they go to cinemas, restaurants, places of rest, communicate with each other, and even go to carry out an “international exchange” of strains, then there will not be much benefit from a non-working week.