The restrictions for Covid in Europe: green pass, third dose, lockdown

from Alessandra Muglia

The EU Commission: starting from February 1st, the Green Pass will be valid for nine months. Trend in no particular order on the measures taken to stem Omicron

The green pass to travel within Europe will have a validity of 9 months from the completion of the first vaccination cycle, the EU Commission established yesterday. The new rule, effective from February 1st, binding on all Member States. The duration of the certificate after the third dose has not yet been determined because we have yet to collect the scientific evidence relating to the immunity conferred by the booster, explain from Brussels. The coordinated approach on travel restrictions is offset by a trend in no particular order on the other measures put in place to stem Omicron: there are those who have already reactivated the most unpopular restrictions and those who instead take their time, save Christmas and postpone the squeeze. A few days in Germany, where from December 28th matches without an audience will be played and the rallies (including New Year’s Eve) are restricted to 10 people, even if vaccinated.


No lockdown before Christmas, guaranteed Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. The tightening of the measures requested by the new committee of 19 scientists, and agreed by the chancellor with the presidents of the 16 Lnder Tuesday, they enter into force on December 28th. The restrictions for the unvaccinated do not change: since the beginning of December they can only enter supermarkets and pharmacies, and with a test on public transport and at work. Each family can see a maximum of two unvaccinated people. For the vaccinated and recovered, new measures apply. You can’t see more than 10 at home. All sporting events will be held without an audience. We will not be able to gather to greet the new year; Fireworks are prohibited, discos and clubs are closed. The Robert Koch-Institut was also unable to impose the closure of the restaurants. (Christina Ciszek)


The French government is speeding up the vaccination pass, similar to the Italian reinforced green pass, which should be discussed in parliament by the first half of January. The incidence has reached 545 cases per week for every 100,000 inhabitants (but in Paris they are double), and the Omicron variant now covers 20% of new cases, and last weekend it stopped at 10%. For the first time since May, there have been over 3,000 patients in intensive care. Macron’s announcement of a vaccination pass in January is having the desired effect: bookings for the first dose have doubled and now they come to around 26,000 a day. He did discuss the hypothesis of making vaccination (and not just the tampon) mandatory in the workplace, as in Italy since mid-October, but yesterday the government specified that the initial version of the text does not provide for it. (Stefano Montefiori)

Great Britain

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has canceled New Year’s Eve in Trafalgar Square. If Boris Johnson’s government seems to want to allow citizens to celebrate Christmas, it likely will from Santo Stefano there are further restrictions. The virus and the Omicron variant continue the race: another 90,000 new cases just yesterday. There are no data to justify stricter measures for Christmas, Johnson stressed, but behind his words there would be a fracture in the executive, with many ministers opposed to tightening the rules. The experts, according to the minutes of the emergency committee, would have preferred a faster intervention: in many key sectors there is a lack of staff. In St Thomas’s hospital, where Johnson was treated when he had Covid, 10% of doctors and nurses are absent because they are positive and all non-urgent interventions have been canceled. (Paola De Carolis)


V.ienna has come back to life: the shops have reopened, as well as the Christmas markets, for the holidays gatherings of up to 25 people allowed (if vaccinated). After three weeks of national lockdown, which ended on December 12, infections have dropped dramatically – from 13,000 daily cases at the end of November to less than the current 2,000 – and strict restrictions remain in force only for the unvaccinated. While Austria reopens inside, for those arriving from abroad, stricter limits have been introduced: one of the 8 EU countries that require all travelers arriving from other EU states to have a negative swab, even if vaccinated (together with Italy, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, Latvia and Sweden). From 20 December only those who have already received the third dose can enter. For others vaccinated or cured, a negative swab is required. For non-immunized, ten-day quarantine.


R.closed restaurants, clubs, cinemas, museums and theaters, zero shopping. Amsterdam has a spooky air not just for tourists: the Dutch at Christmas they will be able to receive only 4 guests at home, two more than on other days precisely because it is a party. Holland is the only European country that has so far dusted off the lockdown, from 19 December until at least 14 January. The high pressure on the health system, combined with the threat of the new Omicron variant, made the measures inevitable, Prime Minister Rutte explained. The country has recorded an average of 15,000 new cases per day in recent days. Too many for even 18 million inhabitants. And this despite over 85% of the population having completed the vaccination cycle. There is to consider that only 9% of adults received the third dose, one of the lowest in Europe. And the relaxed atmosphere towards distancing and masks.


C.n more than 90% of inhabitants over 12 vaccinated and the widespread use of masks, Spain counted on a Christmas more similar to that of 2019 than to last year. On the other hand, the exploit of the infections caused by Omicron – infections that have grown by 100% in the last week, with the new strain passing in 7 days from 5% to 47% of new cases – has changed the perspective. At least in Barcelona and its surroundings: Catalonia is preparing to become the first Spanish region to restore drastic measures. After all, one in 4 Covid patients in Spain is in Catalonia. Among the measures announced: night curfew, limit of 10 people for gatherings, closure of nightclubs and halved capacities in restaurants, shops, gyms and theaters. If you approve, the rules would go into effect on Christmas Eve and would last 15 days, thus also canceling the New Year holidays.