From Saramago’s Blindness Epidemic to EU Health Law

My interest in health emergencies was sparked when reading Saramago’s novel Blindness at age 16. It tells the story of a sudden blindness pandemic afflicting nearly everyone and I loved every word. Since then, I’ve seen countless post-apocalyptic movies on pandemics, ranging from classic contagion to zombies. I’ve played the video game Plague Inc. so many times that I unlocked all pathogens needed to design the perfect plague to wipe out mankind. With great astonishment I watched the increasing number of tourists roaming Amsterdam wearing face masks. It all seemed so far away. So unrealistic and a bit exaggerated. Only while doing a master’s in Health Law years later, I realised that pandemic preparedness and control is actually a big thing in the EU. I started writing a master’s thesis about what the EU could have done if Ebola had spread to Europe and the possible consequences of this hypothetical action for fundamental rights protection (later published here). It always felt a bit like a science fiction project. Because pandemics in the 21st century belong in literature and films – right?

And here I am, starting a health law blog in 2020 in the Netherlands. While working from home because the national government advised me to do so. To prevent COVID-19 from spreading any further.

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