The WHO on Thursday warned of the risk of a new pandemic wave carried by the delta variant in Europe, as the European Union launched its health pass in hopes of reviving tourism. So what risk do we take by choosing to travel today?
While many European countries saw the end of the tunnel and gradually lifted their health measures, the European arm of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that the number of Covid-19 cases rose again by 10% last week. Had happened. Continent.
And this is “due to the mix, increased travel, gatherings and the easing of social restrictions,” says the WHO.
The sign of this exemption: the European Health Certificate came into force on Thursday to facilitate travel and revive tourism within the EU this summer. Free of charge, it must be recognized in 27 EU countries as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. Discussions are underway with a number of third countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, for mutual recognition and document interoperability.
So the French can now travel to most of Europe, and fewer and fewer countries require vaccinated tourists to be screened before departure. However, children will need to submit a PCR or antigen test for some destinations such as Italy or Spain. But is it justified, at the dawn of a possible fourth wave in France?
Keep your vaccination status in mind
Are we really taking the risk of traveling this summer, especially abroad? “It depends”, guesses American emergency physician Dr. Lena Wayne, who was interviewed by American Channel CNN.
According to a professor of public health policy and management at the Milken Institute’s School of Public Health in Washington, DC, there are “two things to consider” before traveling. “The first is your vaccination status. If you are fully vaccinated, you are well protected against COVID-19, unless you are severely immunized.” So according to him, if you have a full immunization schedule, you might consider “going back to activities you enjoy,” including international travel.
“On the other hand, I would advise people who have not been vaccinated to avoid all non-essential travel, whether in their own country or abroad,” says Lena Wayne. In the laboratory or in real life, all studies converge on one point: receiving a single dose of the vaccine provides only limited protection against the virus, specifically against the delta variant.
“And during a trip, there’s a high chance you’ll find yourself in the middle of a crowd indoors: at airports or train stations, for example. So there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself with others. Without Vaccinated people, or not yet fully vaccinated. By not fully vaccinating yourself, these people would represent a risk to you, and you would represent a risk to them,” explains the doctor. Huh.
For example, in France, 50% of French people still haven’t received their first dose of the COVID vaccine. On Tuesday, Health Minister Olivier Veran advised the French not to wait until the start of the school year to get vaccinated, noting that “if you vaccinate in September, you will not be protected before mid-October”.
Learn about local restrictions
The World Health Organization, for its part, is concerned about the recent relaxation of health restrictions in some countries, especially hosts of major sporting events such as Euro football. With cases rising in host cities (London, Baku and St Petersburg), WHO Europe has called for better monitoring of spectators, not just in stadiums.
For the US emergency responder, travelers should consider their destination, and adapt accordingly – and the rules are far from cohesive: “Some countries implement restrictive measures that may make you reconsider your travel.” For example in Portugal, a night curfew will be re-established from Friday in 45 municipalities, including Lisbon, due to the spread of the delta variant.
“Some places may impose a mandatory quarantine period, and potentially block you from visiting anything,” says Lena Wayne. You should also take into account the duration of the quarantine period, if it more or less matches the total duration of your visit.
“In this case, it might be worth thinking twice” before you go, the expert says.
Watch out for virus outbreaks
Health professionals also recommend finding out about epidemic statistics in the country and region you plan to visit, especially hospital statistics or the number of new cases, so as not to get yourself caught in the middle. Get it .
“In addition to the risk of contracting the virus, you may have difficulties accessing care”, notes Dr. Lena Wayne with the American television channel. You may be offered special COVID-19 insurance before departure, notes Parisian.
Worldwide, epidemics are re-emerging due to the more infectious Delta variant. in spain For example, about 6,000 people were placed in quarantine in Palma de Mallorca after a huge group was discovered caused by students who came to celebrate the end of classes. At least 1,824 cases have been reported positive for Covid-19 since then, and the incidence rate in the country has increased by 36% in a week.
Australia Also encountered with the delta version. Alice Springs, located in vast desert areas, became the fifth city in the country on Wednesday.
The situation is also very worrying in Africa, where, the WHO warned, “all records set by previous peaks” have been broken. “The speed of contamination and the scale of the third wave affecting Africa is not what we know so far.”
in AsiaThailand, where the edition is also progressing, reopened the paradise island of Phuket to international tourists this Thursday, while the kingdom reported its worst daily tally since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic with 53 dead on Wednesday. Registered toll.
The cruises, which have just been relaunched and operate by definition in a vacuum, have already been hit by cases of resurgence of the virus. In early June, some passengers on board had become infected. Celebrity Millennium, one of the first cruise ships to return to sea in North America after the pandemic.
don’t skip obstacle gestures
If you decide to leave, “respect the health directives”, starting with handicap gestures, stressed on Thursday RTL Didier Pittet, president of the Independent Assessment Mission on the Management of the COVID-19 Crisis in France. “It is clear that this virus is ‘hyper-endemic’, that is, it is everywhere and we can catch it at any time,” says the expert. “Following these guidelines will help and protect you.”
“We let go last summer, we paid very dearly for it in the fall,” recalls Didier Pitt. “This time we have the benefit of the proportion of vaccinations in our population, so we can afford to relax, but if we start taking an approach, unfortunately we will pay off in the fall.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published advisories on its website for French travelers based on their destination.