There are fears across Europe that the much anticipated freedom to travel once again will continue to be a far away dream as fears for a coronavirus third wave rise. The COVID-19 virus that started in Wuhan, China back in January of 2020, and that quickly became a worldwide pandemic by March 2020, has for over a year now hindered international travel around the globe, as well as in country, small scale lockdowns.
There now remains to be barely any countries or communities unaffected in some way by the devastating social and economic effects of COVID-19. Europe in particular has suffered from first and second waves of the virus already seeing huge numbers dying each day, and hospitals overrun with patients as a result.
Hopes had been riding high for a vaccine roll out that would see something potentially labelled a ‘green passport’ allowing for increased numbers of people travelling internationally, especially using air travel, once again. However, problems with vaccine distribution and manufacturing, as well as health concerns and side effects with the vaccine itself has meant the roll out through Europe has been slow and effective immunisation of the population at large has not yet taken place.
The situation has particularly worsened in Germany where they particularly fear there will not be enough vaccines available to prevent a dreaded third wave of the virus. Jens Spahn, Germany’s Health Minister, warned recently of the government’s concerns. In a statement to the press he said: “We can reintroduce AstraZeneca but prudently with informed doctors and appropriately educated citizens”. He made the comments following Germany’s halting of the AstraZeneca vaccine following a series of recipients developing blood clots post-vaccination.
Scientists in Germany are calling for a harsh, nationwide lockdown to prevent a large third wave of the virus, but have faced challenges from anti-lockdown protestors who are against new restrictions.