Homicron – Christmas with a lockdown scent in Europe – Measures for the vaccinated

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The Christmas season in Europe evokes memories of lockdown and quarantine that we supposedly left in the past. One after another, European countries are taking restrictive measures regarding the vaccinated, while we also had the first announcements for a mini lockdown in Germany after December 28th. The beginning was made by the Netherlands, which announced a general lockdown with closed stores and restaurants, as Omicron invades and changes the data.

The resumption of harsh restrictive measures for longer and in more countries is on the agenda, with the WHO warning governments to be prepared for another coronavirus storm to sweep Europe.

The new variant has already prevailed in many countries, such as Denmark, Portugal and the United Kingdom, said Hans Klugge, head of the WHO Europe section, at a press conference in Vienna.

What the WHO says

“We are seeing another storm coming. “In a few weeks, Omicron will prevail in more countries in the region, pushing the already pressed health systems to the brink,” he stressed.

Even before Omicron appeared, experts warned that by March we might be mourning another 700,000 dead.

So far, 89% of Omicron cases in Europe have symptoms such as cough, sore throat and fever. Most cases are found in cities, among young adults (20-40 years old) who have been affected by social gatherings and their workplace.

“The huge volume of new infections could lead to more hospitalizations and widespread disruption to health systems and other critical services,” Kluge said, urging people to get vaccinated and limit their social contact. “Governments and authorities need to prepare response systems for a significant increase,” he concluded.

Portugal closes bars and applies telework

In this context, Portugal issued its third order to close clubs and bars and asked citizens to work from home from 26 December until at least 9 January in order to control the spread of Covid-19 during holiday season.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa also announced that he would need a negative Covid test to stay in hotels in Portugal, adding that authorities would limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people per group on New Year’s Eve.

Mini lockdown in Germany

In addition, the German federal government agreed on Tuesday with state leaders to impose restrictions on social contacts, which will apply to everyone – even those who have been vaccinated or recovered – and will apply from next week.

The new regulations, which will take effect “no later than December 28” – are aimed at preventing citizens from holding big New Year’s Eve celebrations. It is worth noting that the Robert Koch Institute had issued a recommendation for “the greatest possible restriction of contacts”, starting “immediately” and until at least mid-January.

Among the measures proposed by the Institute were the extension of holidays for schools and kindergartens, the suspension of catering businesses and the reduction of travel to the “absolutely necessary”, slightly differentiated from the line of the Committee of Experts recently set up by the Chancellor himself, who spoke of “uncoordinated” publication of scientific findings, which, as he said, “should not happen”

Nightclubs and discos will be closed and major sporting and artistic events, such as Bundesliga football matches, will be held without spectators.

The Chancellor justified the entry into force of the measures after Christmas, referring to the previous experience, according to which, as he said, Christmas and Easter were not the cause of the outbreak of the cases.

Sweden: Teleworking and less overcrowding

Sweden is also taking new measures, asking all workers to work from home if possible, and imposing stricter measures on social alienation, the government announced today.

The number of new cases in Sweden, which caught the world’s attention last year by choosing not to impose strict quarantine, has risen in recent weeks following a calm autumn, when most restrictions were phased out.

Although hospitalizations and the number of patients in need of intensive care remain among the lowest per capita in Europe, they are also beginning to increase.

Paris: More than 1 in 3 cases is Omicron

At the same time, in Paris, “more than one in three cases (of Covid-19) seems to be linked to the Omicron variant,” said French government spokesman Gabriel Atal.

“Although it accounted for” 10% of infections this weekend, today we are probably beyond that and far beyond in some regions, especially in Ile-de-France, especially in Paris, “Atal said.

The impact of Covid-19 is “again a record” in France, with 537 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, he clarified.

Although the government originally planned to ratify the vaccination certificate bill on January 5 to be “finally adopted before the end of January,” “an extraordinary cabinet meeting will be held next Monday to present the bill,” he said. representative.

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