When will things get back to normal? Wuhan, the city in China where the coronavirus pandemic first started, is only emerging from lockdown after 10 weeks. What is the exit strategy in Europe?

In the long-term, we will need a vaccine. However, that could take time (typically six to ten years, though experts hope the timeframe for developing a vaccine for the coronavirus we’re facing, SARS-CoV-2, could be drastically shortened to one or two years).

In the meantime, what options are available? Many EU Member States (including France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Ireland) are developing tracing apps that citizens can install on their smartphones, something Asian countries such as China and Singapore have deployed successfully to help detect and contain new outbreaks. However, there are privacy concerns around such technology (not to mention calls to develop a common EU app, rather than numerous national apps all following different approaches).

Another option would be “immunity passports”, to prove you’ve already caught the virus and have developed the necessary antibodies for immunity. However, several countries have had problems with faulty testing kits reporting false positives and negatives. Scientists are also unsure about the capacity for reinfection, as well as how long immunity might last for. There are also issues if the virus should mutate and reinfect people with immunity passports despite their antibodies.

Emerging from lockdown is likely to take a “phased” approach. Austria, for example, is planning to gradually relax lockdown restrictions, with the option of tightening them once more should there be a surge in cases. However, some European countries are worried that talk of ending the lockdown is premature, and suggest that different countries will anyway likely operating on different timescales.

How do we leave the lockdowns? What should be the “exit strategy” for resuming normal life? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo by Yohann LIBOT on Unsplash


20 comments Post a commentcomment


  1. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    How do we leave the lockdowns?

    Slowly…. And start by what we know has worked in other countries. Testing. Which the UK government has continued to ban the ordinary citizen from purchasing directly. We cannot get these kits by direct purchase as we are told when we try, by those who manufacture the product, government has said we cannot supply you unless you are medics. And they, the medics, are not purchasing from these suppliers themselves. You can though buy these covid 19 test kits from Harley Street. The rich mans health care supply. Each pack from that outlet being 375 GBP. Not the 6 GBP asked elsewhere. It appears they do not want ordinary folk to have them. It is said that is because they may not work! Funny they don’t think the rich mans packets at 375 are not going to work, only the cheaper affordable version. Who has shares in the expensive products I wonder?

  2. avatar
    Dr. Günter Burghardt

    If EU citizens will be prevented from reaching there second homes in another EU member state during the summer we can forget Schengen! Solidarity is not limited to finance.

  3. avatar
    sheila

    Massive tests and responsible social distancing until it’s under control.

  4. avatar
    Vivian

    If this hadn’t been on the news we wouldn’t have even realized there was a problem. Doctors would be saying “the flu is pretty bad this year, take care” and we would have carried on with life as usual. Instead, panic, anxiety, economic catastrophe, education tanked, patients dead as hospitals “repurposed for coronavirus”.

    • avatar
      Michael

      Stupid news. If they hadn’t went and told us that hundreds of thousands of people are dying and our hospitals are so collapsed that doctors are forced to choose who gets life saving treatment and who is left to die, we’d have been none the wiser. Why can’t they be more like those nice fellows in North Korea who know when it’s best to keep things hush hush?

    • avatar
      Paul

      no vivian that wouldn’t have been the case…given the lack of readiness in test/track/trace, then left to it’s own devices, it would have caused millions more infections over the course of a couple of months (infections are logarithmic)..meaning critical care would have became overwhelmed with a couple of weeks…deaths would have been in hundreds of thousands.

    • avatar
      Vivian

      people would still be getting treatment (“pneumonia”) without the panic, disarray and economic carastrophe. There is no cure or real (longterm) prevention so no point in sensational news.

    • avatar
      Michael

      No, people wouldn’t still be getting treatment because we would have many times the number of infected and it would be impossible to treat them. They would be dying in large numbers, infecting their entire families, and bodies would begin mysteriously piling up. Then some stupid reporter would probably start asking questions and have to be silenced.

    • avatar
      Vivian

      it’s not the Black Death we are talking about. Covid 19 has a fatality rate of 0.01%. Take care, see you at the unemployment benefits line like the rest of us (but hey, we beat Covid 19 – at least as long as we are locked down).

    • avatar
      Michael

      The mortality rate of SARS CoV 2 is unknown, so you are talking out of your arse. It has been estimated at 2% at the high end and 0.5% at the low end, which is nowhere near your figure.

    • avatar
      Vivian

      “a bad year for the flu”.

    • avatar
      Vivian

      a democracy ought to impose restrictions on human rights on the basis of proportionality. I wonder what proportionality there is in the near total collapse of the lives of 99,9% of the population to save the lives of 0,01% (mostly aged 85+). Only Sweden has acted on the basis of democracy and proportionality during this.
      Thanks for the exchange of views, let’s hope this gets better soon.

    • avatar
      Pete

      200,000 deaths worldwide from covid-19 ..541,500 deaths in uk alone from obesity 2018.

    • avatar
      Ignazio

      Well obesity isn’t contagious, is it? And last time I checked you don’t risk finishing in the ICU for being exposed to an obese person. But hey, maybe that’s changed in the past few weeks and I didn’t get the memo, who knows!

    • avatar
      Pamela

      We have a vaccine for the flu and never the less thousands die from it every year. If we had the TV telling us how many died every day we would spend the winters locked up. So stop scaring people, wear a mask and wash your hands.

    • avatar
      Paul

      senseless comparing seasonal flu with covid19…latter is a new virus with no vaccine and currently no treatments for most extreme cases.which means all we can do is treat symptoms as best we can & hope immune system can respond…which results in about a 50% mortality rate for those needing intubation.
      Mortality rate overall likely to be around 0 5% but without knowing denominator, cant say right now…but you miss the point…emergency services in all western countries would become overwhelmed in very short term….so we would havec scenes like in lombardy, Madrid but multiplied several times….not something any democracy could accept.

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