Light Flickers at End of Long Tunnel: New Variants Prompt New Travel Restrictions Across Europe

Written by | Thursday, July 1st, 2021

‘Vaccinate everybody everywhere sooner rather than later’ – is the main message of the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres during his recent visit to Brussels. „…if the virus mutates – and it’s mutating at a certain moment – and don’t make vaccines, then it’s useless if we keep the huge inequality between developed countries and developing countries in the recovery projects, we might have a collapse of many aspects of the global economy,“ Guterres told the journalists after a two-day European summit meeting where he discussions with EU leaders about top issues – notably the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, migration with EU. „On the contrary, if you are able to vaccinate everybody everywhere and you defeat the virus and at the same time address the problems of debt of liquidity of developing countries and guarantee that developing countries can also recover from the pandemic, we might have a breakthrough.“
The warning from the UN Secretary-General came as Germany, Portugal and Spain have issued new travel restrictions in a bid to limit the spread of the more contagious Delta coronavirus variant, which was first detected in India. From Monday (28 June), non-vaccinated Britons travelling to Portugal have been obliged to go through mandatory quarantine for two weeks, whereby this measure came to force after German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Portugal last week for allowing British tourists to travel freely to the country, while the Delta variant was circulating in the UK. Portugal became the first EU member state to announce that the Delta variant was now dominant on its territory. Germany has also restricted entry from Portugal and Russia from 25 June after the two countries were classified as “various variant areas.” Also France last week announced that it was adding Russia to its “red list” of 21 countries subject to severe travel restrictions because of concerns over rising coronavirus infections.
Despite the EU’s disease control agency’s recent warning that the Delta variant could account for 90% of new coronavirus infections in Europe by late August, COVID-19 indicators have improved across most of the continent in recent weeks. Several countries have further lifted restrictions in the past few days: Spain and Italy lifted the requirement to wear facemasks outdoors, and one last Italian region still under curfew scrapped nighttime restrictions. But Europe still remains cautious. Hence, Greece has decided to require a PCR test for Russian tourists even if they are fully vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, but this is only after criticism by Germany and France for Athens being too lax with tourists and particularly for recognizing the Russian jab. In practice, however, there is a paradox: Greece can accept a certificate of tourists from Hungary who have been vaccinated with Sputnik V but not from third countries such as Russia.

Article Categories:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.