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Swimming against the tide: the countries opening for summer holidays

By now, I’m sure you’re used to scrolling through your newsfeed to see articles all about coronavirus (if you’re like me, you might even play a game with yourself to see how many articles are about something different). Lockdown has been eased a little bit, but we’re all hoping for the day things are going to resemble some form of normality. Between you and me, just get me back into a Spoons please!

On that topic, you might be interested to hear that some countries are considering reopening for summer travel and tourism. According to an article in The Guardian, European countries are opening their borders to their immediate neighbours for the most part, but some have bigger ambitions. For example, Belgium is aiming to reopen to international tourists and Iceland expects to start easing restrictions on international arrivals no later than mid-June. Countries such as Italy and Portugal are also intending for foreign tourism to resume soon. 

It’s nice to see that these countries are now at a stage where they feel that it is safe to open up. Even in the United Kingdom, people seem to be observing the 2-metre social-distancing. Although the BBC reported that people on Portobello beach were found to be breaching the rules of lockdown, they were still observing the social-distancing guidelines. Furthermore, the countries that seem to be easing lockdown usually require a health certificate on entry, (if you don’t have one, you’ll have to quarantine for 14 days), and the mandatory wearing of a mask in public. At least things are being done in a sensible manner – it’s not just a case of “100% back-to-normal straightaway”.

It’s not that I don’t have faith in people – I do for the most part but because this is such a dangerous virus, I feel we can’t afford to take risks.

However, it is that question of a potential second peak that looms over everything here. We’re currently worried about one occurring in our own country – this fear is definitely going to be heightened if we open the borders again and we could be looking at a second international spread. Lockdown is not sustainable financially, socially, or mentally – but could we really cope if we had to do it again? 

Whilst I know the majority of people will be good and observe the social distancing, there is always going to be people who disagree with the rules: look at the protests in America, or even more recently in Hyde Park. It’s not that I don’t have faith in people – I do for the most part but because this is such a dangerous virus, I feel we can’t afford to take risks. The biggest issue is that you could be a carrier of coronavirus and not realise it – so if people cross borders and don’t respect the relevant rules, we could be looking at Lockdown 2.0.

Even where countries are being super cautious, such as the ‘travel bubble’ proposed by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, (in which they are only accepting tourists from each other because they have similar coronavirus risk profiles), it’s still the idea that this is a hidden virus. You don’t know how it’s going to get into the border, and I just personally err on the side of caution. 

If you do want to go travelling around Europe this summer, please follow any requirements being asked of you, and just use your common sense. Coronavirus is going to affect us long after it is no longer a threat and it wouldn’t hurt to create habits that mean it isn’t threatening in the future.


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