On Thursday (19 Aug), travel-starved Singaporeans were given some good news.
We were told that we’ll be able to travel to Germany and back without Stay-Home Notice (SHN), as long as we’re fully vaccinated.
However, just like the doomed Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble, our travel plans might be cursed: Germany has just started a 4th wave of Covid-19.
Like many countries experiencing a surge in infections, it’s primarily driven by the Delta Variant.
The astonishing declaration was made by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s disease control agency.
In a weekly report on Thursday (19 Aug), RKI said the incidence rate has been increasing since early Jul.
Positive samples from polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests rose from 4-6% within a week until mid-Aug.
Worse still, it’s increasing faster than it had been last year, during previous waves of infections.
Also, it’s mainly the younger age groups who’re being infected, the institute said, adding,
This clearly shows the beginning of the fourth wave, which is picking up speed, particularly due to infections among the young adult population.
In its daily Covid-19 update on Friday (20 Aug), RKI reported 9,280 new cases in Germany that day.
The 7-day incidence rate in Germany was 48.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, up from 44.2 the day before and 25.1 just 1 week ago.
13 people also passed away, bringing the death toll to 91,956.
So far, 3.85 million have been infected in the country.
More people are also being hospitalised, and most of those warded are aged between 35-59, followed by young people aged between 15-34.
However, as of 17 Aug, 64% of Germany’s population had been given at least 1 dose of a vaccine, with 58% fully vaccinated.
According to the RKI, they took for sequencing a random sample of new infections that’s representative of the German public.
Horrifyingly, the Delta Variant was found in 99% of the samples.
The remaining 1% had the Alpha Variant.
That shows that the dreaded Delta is responsible for 99% of new infections, and propelling the 4th wave.
Germany’s 4th wave is worrying because Singapore’s Multi-Ministry Task Force handling Covid-19 just announced the launching of Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs).
The 1st 2 countries to be involved will be Germany and Brunei.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), Singapore residents who have received 2 doses of the vaccine can look forward to SHN-free travels to these countries and back from 8 Sep.
They’ll just need to take a series of PCR tests.
The reciprocation for Germany came after the European country unilaterally opened its borders to travellers from Singapore to enter without SHN.
However, with Germany’s 4th wave just beginning, the VTL may be in doubt, considering its 1st flight is just 2.5 weeks away.
Will Germany be able to control its 4th wave by 8 Sep? And will Singaporeans want to take the risk of going there?
It’s disappointing that just when we’re fully vaccinated and think we can finally get to travel for the 1st time in almost 2 years, a spanner is thrown into the works.
With the twice-postponement and eventual cancellation of the travel bubble with HK, Singaporeans had mostly accepted that it wasn’t meant to be.
But now that we’ve set our sights on Germany, travel there may be in peril thanks to the Delta Variant.
We hope Germany can get their situation under control, or we’ll just have to accept being stuck in small Singapore for a longer time yet.
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Featured image adapted from Facebook.
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