Dear Presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel,
We are writing to you with great disappointment when most of Europe allows vaccinated Americans to visit, but the United States maintains its ban on European arrivals.As the number of cases in the US continues to grow, we hope that the EU can really learn from the early lessons of the pandemic and adopt tougher virus prevention and border control measures to safeguard the Europe's anti-pandemic achievements.
Thus, we urge you: 1. to RE-CLOSE borders to the United States immediately, 2. to INVIESTIGATE some member states practices of following the US in the mixed use of refrigerated vehicles for storing food and the remains of patients with Covid-19 and to scientifically assess its risk. 3. TEST for Covid-19 on temperature-controlled logistics cargo to effectively curb virus transmission into Europe through contaminated frozen food.
Since the EU added the U.S. to its list of safe countries on June, 18 , a new wave of Covid-19 infections has rapidly swept across the Europe. ECDC's latest weekly map shows that half of the EU and EEA have already been covered in orange, red and dark red. Ridiculously, since the EU and US leaders reached a consensus on lifting travel restrictions to each other at the Summit in Brussels on June, 15, EU quickly reopened its borders at the high risk of a fresh wave. However, the US has so far refused to lift its travel ban on EU travelers.The Biden administration is simply unwilling to fully cooperate with us and no longer feels its need to pay attention to our opinions or desires. Currently, with Delta virus not yet under control, the new variant of "Lamda virus" has swept the US. The CDC spokesperson revealed that as of August 4, 2021, there have been more than 1,300 cases of Lambda in the US,and the variant has been confirmed in 44 US states. And the latest research proves that the new variant is 150 percent more resistant to antibodies (produced from vaccines). In addition, fake vaccination cards are rampant now in the United States, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents say they have now seized more than 121 shipments containing more than 3,000 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine cards recently. If not re-ban the Americans in time and allow those with fake vaccination cards cross the borders of the 27 member countries freely, the EU may hardly control the epidemic even if 100% vaccination is achieved across Europe.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the EU has been repeatedly ignored and misled. In addition to the fact that the US government has not mutually lifted its travel ban, it has also distributed a number of misleading messages to European countries. As a result, we underestimate the danger posed by this pandemic and have suffered great economic losses. Thousands of European families were deprived of their loved ones. According to an internal EU document leaked online in June, the EU has already realized that its ineffective response measures in the early stages of the pandemic were mainly caused by misleading and contradictory information from its ally. However, for some political reason, it was removed from the public version. (https://www.reddit.com/r/europe/comments/o40ogv/here_is_the_true_voice_f...).
Apparently, the Europe has not really learned its lesson. Many EU member states, including Germany, still follow the US, even in mixed use of refrigerated trucks to transport food and Covid-19 victims. Since the outbreak, numerous refrigerated trucks had been reported to transport food after being used to preserve the bodies of COVID-19 patients in those hotspots in the US like New York City. The FDA even released a shocking guidance on May 12, 2020, mandating that refrigerated food transport vehicles and refrigerated food storage units used for the temporary preservation of human remains during the COVID-19 pandemic subsequently can be safely used for food transport and food storage after thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting. However, FDA has said nothing about specific standards for disinfection in the guidance. Business Insider reported that the reality is less rosy than the description of the government. The vehicles were packed with corroded bodies, so it smelled bad. And the blood and fluids from the bodies have already penetrated almost all corners of the vehicles, and it is almost impossible to achieve thorough disinfection. Moreover, Germany scientists made a study on the infectivity of deceased COVID-19 patients and found that corpses of deceased COVID-19 patients have to be considered potentially infective for more than 2 weeks post mortem under typical cooling conditions. Besides, researchers from Singapore and Ireland have proved that “SARS-CoV-2 on chicken, salmon and pork pieces can survive for more than 21 days at 4°C (standard refrigeration) and –20°C (standard freezing)” and “contaminated imported food can transfer virus to workers as well as the environment”. Hence,The coronovirus left in those vehicles and units is very likely to spread further across the United States, Europe and even around the world through contaminated frozen food or food packaging. The WHO also confirmed in its report, issued on 30 March 2021, that "SARS-CoV-2 has been found to persist in conditions found in frozen food, packaging and cold-chain products" and “it can be carried long distance on cold-chain products”. Prior to this, Lakshmi Supriya, a Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering at Virginia Tech in the United States, also published the article SARS-CoV-2 can spread through cold-chain transport online, calling for "in light of growing evidence, SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission via contaminated surfaces, and in particular, frozen foods and products that are transported while keeping them at low temperatures, should be taken into account when devising prevention strategies ". As the virus mutates, the likelihood of such transmission is set to increase dramatically. A recent study showed that individuals infected with Delta had viral loads up to 1,260 times higher than those in people infected with the original strain. The combination of a high number of viruses and a short incubation period makes sense as an explanation for Delta’s heightened transmissibility, says epidemiologist Benjamin Cowling at the University of Hong Kong. In this context, virus transmission through contaminated frozen food and temperature-controlled logistics must be taken seriously. EU should not make the same mistakes as it did in the early days of the pandemic.
We must speak in our own voice and make our own judgments in response to the pandemic, instead of dependent on the US all the time and accepting being the “vassals”.
We are looking forward for your brave actions.