People in Scotland must realise Covid-19 has not been obliterated as a pandemic – Helen Martin

Is it possible that even now, long after the events of February 2020, many people don’t understand a global pandemic?

Monday, 7th June 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 6:59 am
The pandemic is not over yet.

It came here, and almost everywhere else, from overseas. Each country in the world had the responsibility to look after itself, and one of the first and most important strategies was lockdown and staying in the home area. But many countries didn’t take that, or any other responsibility.

The track of coronavirus vaccinations around the world was detailed by the New York Times last week, and it delivered shocking information that many people can’t imagine.

Fourteen countries haven’t yet reported delivering a single vaccine. At least 60 countries have less than one per cent full vaccination, and 87 countries have recorded less than ten per cent of their population having had their first vaccine. Maybe vaccination isn’t free, or maybe it’s not even easily available.

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These are not, to be fair, the standard countries that determined holidaymakers are desperate to visit right now. But there’s no guarantee that their people haven’t travelled anywhere else.

The UK and Scotland are certainly among of the most successful countries, and I can understand that the government is under pressure to allow people to travel abroad, and it’s vital to help maintain airlines, cruise ships and the travel industry.

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Now it’s understandable that travel agents and airlines are horrified that Portugal has now been treated cautiously because of the “Nepal” variant and travellers have to isolate when they come home for ten days and take two Covid tests. An airline chief executive called that unjustified and nonsensical.

And holidaymakers who now cannot isolate themselves for ten days, or afford the cost are also devastated and disappointed. No wonder they are complaining when Portugal is such a popular destination.

Currently the Indian variant is still travelling round the world, so who knows which holiday resort and country it might rule out.

Now that we are heading back to “normality”, it’s likely lots of people think the whole world is doing that too. According to the coronavirus vaccination track, Portugal is actually quite good in global comparison with 38 per cent of its population having had one vaccine and 19 per cent with full vaccination. But the global pandemic is still “global”.

There are many of us who still have absolutely no intention of taking up foreign holidays. To be honest I’m still not happy with travelling by air. Vacations in Scotland are acceptable, as long as the area is not going through a surge. But all that’s a personal choice. There are also people who have essential reasons to travel abroad whether that’s for business, or overseas family connections.

It’s important when restrictions of any sort come and go from the Scottish or UK government, that everyone realises Covid-19, as a global pandemic, hasn’t been obliterated. It may never be. We could face taking more vaccinations every year to block variants.

But we do have to get back, as much as possible, to a normal life – with obedience and caution.

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