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Merkel, Macron scold Greece & other EU countries for lax travel rules

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron blasted Greece and other tourism-dependent nations for freely accepting visitors who were inoculated with less effective Chinese and Russian vaccines, signaling the possibility of additional curbs on travel ahead of the peak tourist season.

During a summit of European Union leaders behind closed doors in Brussels, the German chancellor said Thursday that member states such as Greece welcome travelers who have been vaccinated with the Sputnik shot against Covid-19, even though it hasn’t been approved by the bloc’s regulatory agency and it’s unclear whether it works against the more dangerous delta variant of the coronavirus.

These visitors can then freely move within the EU’s border-free zone, Merkel told leaders, according to two officials familiar with the conversation.

Her comments add to signs of increasing alarm in Berlin and other EU capitals over the spread of more contagious virus mutations that could trigger another wave of hospitalizations and deaths, even as some EU nations rush to restart tourism and bolster their struggling economies.

Asked about Merkel’s remarks, a Greek official said that the majority of leaders took a more pragmatic approach, acknowledging that the delta variant has already spread to the EU and there’s no reason to be jittery about travel.

French President Macron also backed the German chancellor, with both of them discussing a potential blanket ban on travel from countries where the delta variant of the illness is rampant, interpreted as a reference to the U.K., according to the officials. In Britain, the spread of the delta variant prompted an extension of social-distancing requirements into mid-July. Both Greece and Cyprus have waived quarantine requirements for visitors offering proof of vaccination with Russia’s Sputnik and China’s Sinopharm shots.

full story bloomberg

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7 comments

  1. The Chinese and Russian vaccines were not approved yet by the EMA but that seems to be a geopolitical reason. The Chinese one is indeed less effective at 60%but the same cannot be said for the Russian one.
    Better indeed to block the countries where the Delta variant is rampant and that is the UK. That should have been done from the beginning because many people from India where the Delta variant is from where allowed into the UK. That has nothing to do with discrimination but all had to do with the spread of vectors.

    • The problem with using country blocking is that it only works if you have zero cases of that variant. The Delta variant is already present in many (all?) EU countries. Because it has higher transmissibility, once it is present it will become the dominant variant whatever you do with your borders.

      Also closing borders only works if you close them to all other countries. The Delta variant is certainly dominant on the Indian sub-continent and the UK. If you block only these countries, however, people from them might travel to countries X, Y and Z who have not blocked them. The Delta variant will then spread to those countries and from there to the EU.

      • But British tourist will spread it even more at their vacation locations, so local outbreaks will be hard to fight. No, brits need to be locked out of EU. They decided to leave, now live with the effects…

  2. Well, they’re somehow right. GB is a spreader so they’re to be banned from free travel. They do the same to EU citizens already.

  3. Wonderful just keep knocking uk .

    Uk should close borders to eu and its produce to safeguard its own people .
    Interesting as when uk was a member euro loved uk because of the wasted billions uk put in the coffers

    • Absolutely, a member for 40 years, billions and billions contributed. Decided to go another way, and the EU treat the uk as a pariah. Vile odious bullying club run by Germany and its lapdog France.