Postcard From Romania

We’re publishing a new addition to our ongoing series ‘Around the World in 80 Lockdowns’ today – a “Postcard From Romania”. Romania isn’t in lockdown at the moment – but the Government’s attempts to vaccinate the population has stalled and Romania currently sits second from bottom in the European vaccination league, just above Bulgaria. Here is an extract:

On the face of it, Romania’s much the same as elsewhere in Europe. Masks are compulsory inside, but not out. Vaccination clinics have popped up like mushrooms in a dark Transylvanian forest. Just yesterday we passed the famous clinic at Dracula’s Castle, promoted across the region with banners (which must’ve cost a pretty penny) bearing the provocative message: “Who’s afraid of a vaccine? Come get it; one sting and you’re immune!”

Even in the middle of a mountainous nowhere, right after the needle-shaped curve of a narrow road crossing the mountain-face from east to west: VACCINATION CLINIC 100m. And lo, there it was! A lonely little wooden cabin, apparently thrown together one night in a desperate hurry, lying between the road and the ravine. What if a traveller from Moldavia to Transylvania (some panjandrum must have fretted) were to feel a sudden urge for a sting right at that improbable chicane? Good preventive thinking. One never knows.

And yet one does, because the bigger urban vaccination sites are every bit as empty. Big banners hung across the boulevards beckon to the population. ‘There is one just across the street… 100m… No need to move far from the safety of your apartment…’ etc., yet people are shunning them. According to reports last month, the country has stopped importing vaccines and even sold a million unused doses to Denmark.

Worth reading in full.