Restrictions immediately or after the holidays: the EU countries in no particular order against Omicron

from Alessandra Muglia

The only aspect of convergence is the duration of the Green Pass for travel in the Union: 9 months, the Commission established today in Brussels

European countries are moving in no particular order to defend themselves from Omicron: there are those who have already reactivated more drastic restrictions to contain the overwhelming wave of the new variant that doubles infections in 2-3 days. And who instead takes time and postpones the new squeeze until after Christmas. There are those who opt for the restoration of closures and lockdowns and those who aim to push vaccines. The only aspect of convergence is the duration of the Green Pass for travel in the Union: 9 months, the EU Commission established today. After all, there is no single road against Omicron, observed the EMA, in fact somewhat endorsing Europe’s multifaceted strategy. To report the step back of Hungary: Prime Minister Orbn, which in May had called itself out of the European supply plan for vaccines, returns to ask for doses in Brussels.

Before Christmas

To counteract the new variant, there are those who resort to measures that were thought to be outdated such as closures and curfews: to preserve the health system but also to earn and accelerate the recall and vaccination of children. The first European country to brush up on the lockdown before the holidays was theHolland, last Saturday. To follow the‘Ireland, where the new variant has already become dominant: Dublin has reintroduced the curfew at 8pm.
Partial closure in Denmark, where record infections are recorded: the premier announced the closure of cinemas, theaters and amusement parks, as well as reduced hours for cafes and restaurants.

In Spain Catalonia intends to re-impose drastic measures on Christmas Eve: from Friday nightclubs and bars closed and curfew. Barcelona also announced that the capacity of restaurants, entertainment and cultural venues will be reduced and social gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people.. Restrictions imposed to give health centers respite. Despite a percentage of vaccinated people over 12 close to 90%, infections are rapidly rising throughout Spain, which jumped yesterday to 609 per 100 thousand inhabitants. Premier Pedro Snchez has called an emergency summit by videoconference for Wednesday afternoon with the presidents of the autonomous regions, to take stock of the situation. Among the proposals on the table of the government the mandatory use of the mask also outside.

New pre-Christmas but selective restrictions in Swiss: only vaccinated and cured will have access to restaurants, cinemas, fitness centers and museums.

Close after Christmas

Germany should announce new restrictions today, after Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s meeting with the presidents of the Lnder. While the measures already in place mainly concern the unvaccinated, the upcoming ones are aimed at reduce contacts even among the immunized. According to a draft agreement, from December 28, family reunions will be restricted to a maximum of 10 peopleprovided they are all vaccinated. Non-immunized people, on the other hand, will be able to invite a maximum of two people. Sporting events will take place without spectators. On the other hand, there should be no closures of bars, restaurants and shops which, in any case, will continue to limit access to those who have been vaccinated or cured.
The recall campaign is running with an average of around one million vaccines administered per day in the past week, the highest level of the pandemic so far. But the percentage of those who have completed the first cycle stops at 70.3%, below the minimum 75% set by the government.

Instead he is thinking of a lockdown after the holidays Austria . An announcement in this regard and on the restrictions for the New Year’s Eve celebrations expected tomorrow after the meeting of the Chancellor, Karl Nehammer, the Minister of Health, Wolfgang Mueckstein and the Minister of Tourism, Elisabeth Koestinger, with the governors of the nine Lnder.

France which has already canceled the New Year celebrations on the Champs Elyses now does not rule out going beyond the current measures. The incidence rate hit a new record in France, with 537 cases per 100,000 population, including 1 in 3 related to Omicron. French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced last week the adoption of the super green pass, for which only the vaccine counts and not the swab.

Entry buffers also for EU travelers

The advance of Omicron has already led Italy, Portugal, Greece and Ireland to impose a tampon at the entrance even for vaccinated travelers arriving from EU countries. Unlike France and Germany who have ruled out adopting this measure. We remain bound to the proper functioning of the common space, so we do not count on putting PCR tests on European countries, but on third countries they had specified. Scholz is also on the same line: Freedom of movement in Europe is important. But Belgium, Estonia, Finland and the Netherlands are allegedly pressuring Brussels for a timely review of border rules in light of Omicron’s rapid roll-out.

Great Britain

Finally, even if now outside the EU, there remains a climate of expectation in the United Kingdom on the drastic measures that will be taken: Prime Minister Boris Johnson, without announcing them yet, categorically refused to exclude them, reserving every option in case of need, including that of a new lockdown or semi-lockdown. For sure, in the meantime, there cancellation of New Year’s Eve celebrations in Trafalgar Square .