Germany shows the way: And so now a number of EU countries led by Germany have decided to accept Covishield, and where Germany moves, most others in the EU tend to follow. This was always likely, because decisions on travel restrictions are taken by national governments in EU members states, and not by the European Medicines Agency which had not cleared Covishield because it says it had no application for it. That then leaves those given the Covaxin in India stranded for getting the green passport to travel within the EU. Little did they know that the choice of vaccine, over which they had little choice, would turn out to be a travel lottery to the EU.
Estonia beckons: The one EU country to recognise Covaxin, besides Covishield and also Sputnik, has been Estonia. With a population of just above a million, it can do with some more Indians coming in. And no doubt some enterprising travel companies, and its government itself, can now push for Covaxiners in India to discover a new travel destination, Estonia. And travel agents in India will learn where Tallinn is, once callers have spelt it out for them.
The path less travelled: Travellers who have had Covishield intending travel to Germany, Greece, Spain and the other countries that have approved it, and those given the Covaxin who want to check out Estonia, have now a green passport in hand to do so, besides the usual. But it may not have been a passport worth fighting for at the moment, as the World Health Organization issues warnings of a third wave of the virus across Europe. A ten-week decline in cases is over. Trapped in a hotel room in a mask with a risk of new rules that can halt travel plans may not be everyone’s idea of a foreign vacation.
Indians welcome, Brits not so much: Considering the legitimate concerns around discrimination, those who have had the Covishield vaccine in India have at the moment a green passport into the EU – the British do not. Post Brexit, it should not surprise anyone that the EU should give preference, even if limited and selective at the moment on a number of counts, to Indians above the British. But July 1 is only the start of the green passport programme, which has six weeks to kick in fully. By and by some remaining travel issues should be sorted.
Mithali and Shafali tonk the ball, but India loses: The Indian women’s team looked a lot better in the second ODI on Wednesday, even if they went on to lose by five wickets. Mithali Raj scored 59 before being run out, and Shafali Verma a rapid 44. The Indian bowlers got quick wickets after setting England 221, but an unbeaten 73 from Sophia Dunkley saw them through. This now sets England 6-2 up in the multi-format series. Given the improved form of the Indian girls, it’s too soon to write them off yet in the remaining matches.