It is more important to prevent the transport of the mutated coronavirus than to sort out the sandwiches of the lorries-drivers / If we act wisely and in a targeted manner, the worst can be over in 2 to 3 months / targets of the Commission very realistic

"We urgently need better and more systematic controls on all entries from the United Kingdom to the European continent," said the health spokesperson of the largest political group in the European Parliament (EPP, Christian Democrats), Dr med. Peter Liese.

"I find it intolerable that we have made it clear in the Brexit agreement that any import of potentially infectious food is prohibited and that we are even discussing whether a lorry driver can bring his ham and cheese sandwich into the EU continent, but that Member States have no systematic approach to preventing Corona infections from returnees from the UK. As far as I am aware, there is no uniform procedure for arrivals by plane. The question of how travellers arriving by ferry, through the tunnel or on the Eurostar are tested is also not sufficiently clarified for me. Obviously, only quick tests are used in many cases. However, a quick test does not provide sufficient information. In particular, it is possible for someone to be infectious shortly after a quick test even if he or she has had a negative quick test result.

The result of the quick tests is actually only certain for 24 hours. This means that a lorry driver or business traveller coming from the UK to the continent can have a negative quick test when arriving at the continent but can still infect his family and colleagues three/four days later," said the MEP and doctor.

He added that the situation in Great Britain and Ireland is worrying, where there has been a significant increase in the number of infections due to the novel mutation.

More information on the development of the figures in Ireland and the United Kingdom:

As a consequence of the current situation, Liese demands:

  1. Stronger entry controls that are systematically carried out in all EU countries on the continent. "Unfortunately, these controls must now also cover Ireland and not just the UK. All entrants should not only be given a quick test but a PCR test and remain in quarantine until they have a clear negative test result. There should only be exceptions for transports of vital goods and for people whose services are absolutely systemically important, such as doctors and nurses.

  2. We urgently need to take even more effective measures to prevent risky contacts in European countries and worldwide.

    That is:
    a) Whenever possible, employees should go to home office. In other areas of working life, too, stricter attention must be paid to the avoidance of risky contacts, for example through a strict obligation to wear a mask at work.

    b) Local public transport should only be filled with a maximum of 25%.

    c) As soon as sufficient supply is ensured, there should be compulsory FFP2 masks when shopping and on public transport.

    d) Anyone who does not have the possibility to isolate themselves completely at home, for example because living conditions do not give the possibility to do so, should be offered by the state to go to a hotel during quarantine after a risky contact or isolation in case of a mild covid-19 disease and be provided with food and other necessities.

    e) The regulation in EU countries must be adapted in such a way that people have the maximum incentive to hold meetings that they think are urgently needed outdoors instead of in their own homes for example when meeting relatives or friends. I.e. the rules for receiving visitors in their own house or flat should be as strict as possible, but we must very generously allow people to enjoy a hot drink with friends or relatives on the terrace or to go for a walk in the park.

Even if the numbers decrease, we must by no means open up everything again too early to avoid a development like in Ireland," said the MEP and doctor.

Despite the alarming numbers from the UK and Ireland, Peter Liese still believes that the worst effects of the pandemic will be over in 2-3 months. "If we act wisely now, we will passed the worst parts in March or April".
Liese justifies this as follows:

  1. The measures to contain the coronavirus are working, and they are also working against the new mutation. This is shown by the renewed decrease in numbers in Ireland and also the slight decrease in numbers in EU countries on the continent.

  2. Vaccine supply will improve significantly by March/April and once high-risk individuals and health workers are vaccinated, the pandemic will lose most of its scare. The main reason for overloading the health system is that a large number of high-risk patients are falling ill and some of the medical staff are themselves infected or in quarantine. Fortunately, when high-risk persons and medical staff are vaccinated, this problem will ease. The targets of the Commission in this area are realistic.
    After the production changeover, not only will the number of vaccine doses from BioNTech/Pfizer increase, but the vaccine from AstraZeneca is also expected to be licensed at the end of January in addition to the already licensed vaccine from Moderna. The EU has ordered 400 million doses of this vaccine and deliveries will start in February. After there were many questions about the vaccine's effectiveness, a new analysis of the data apparently shows that it at least protects very well against a severe course of the disease and that the effectiveness against infections is significantly higher than the 70% that were initially indicated. Personally, if the European Medicines Agency approves this vaccine, I will also advise vaccination with this vaccine and, in case of doubt, I would rather be vaccinated with AstraZeneca in February than with BioNTech/Pfizer in April or May.
    In addition, the vaccine manufacturer Johnson & Johnson may publish the results of the phase 3 trial as early as the end of this month and the vaccine could be licensed as early as February. If the vaccine is delivered (the EU has ordered 400 million doses), this could lead to a very quick relief, because the vaccine only has to be administered once.
    The manufacturer CureVac expects a result of its clinical trial in March and approval in April, so that we can expect to have 5 vaccines in the spring and every EU citizen will have the opportunity to be vaccinated in the third quarter at the latest. The Commission's target of vaccinating 70 percent of the population by the end of the summer is also realistic. If many join, the pandemic will be over in the EU in September.

  3. Finally, the higher temperatures in March/April will make it easier for us to fight the pandemic," Liese concluded.