The World Health Organisation on Monday told countries to consider “very, very carefully” whether ski resorts should be allowed to open over Christmas, amid fears that large gatherings would lead to a surge in coronavirus infections.
“We would ask that all countries look at the ski season and other reasons for mass gatherings and look very, very carefully at the associated risks,” said Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergency expert.
The problem was not so much having skiers on the slopes, where they are out in the fresh air, but the airports, trains and buses which transport them to the mountains, as well as queues at ski lifts and apres ski gatherings in bars and restaurants, he said.
The governments of Italy, France and Germany have said allowing skiing this winter would stoke the spread of Covid-19, but that has put them at odds with Switzerland and Austria, which have indicated that they want their resorts to open up.
Amid calls for EU unity, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said that letting the ski season get underway would undermine anti-virus measures.
Italy’s northern regions put forward a proposal that would allow the partial opening of ski resorts at Christmas and New Year.
Subscribe to The Telegraph on YouTube ► https://bit.ly/3idrdLH
Get the latest headlines: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/
Telegraph.co.uk and YouTube.com/TelegraphTV are websites of The Telegraph, the UK’s best-selling quality daily newspaper providing news and analysis on UK and world events, business, sport, lifestyle and culture.