Few places are safe from coronavirus. But Samantha Cristoforetti knows one: the International Space Station (ISS), where she spent 200 days in 2014-2015, could be the perfect place to sit out a global pandemic. The crew on the ISS, orbiting 400km above the Earth, are “the safest people in the world,” the Italian astronaut says with a laugh. “They’re definitely out of reach.”

The place we’re meeting is not quite as Covid-19-proof: a restaurant in Cologne. We are on a crowded terrace overlooking the Rhine, watching barges and pleasure cruisers chug past, and joggers, skateboarders and cyclists jostle for space on the promenade. The mood is so carefree you would never know that Germany has just reported a troubling spike in coronavirus cases...

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