The sixth wave of coronavirus is already a fact in Europe, and, given the increase in infections on the continent, many countries are taking new measures and restrictions to try to mitigate the pandemic.
In addition, and with a view to the increasingly closer Christmas dates, Europe is beginning to shield itself to try to avoid an uncontrolled increase in infections in family gatherings, celebrations and crowds so common at Christmas. One of the attractions of the worsening of the data is due to the low vaccination rates in neighboring countries, where, while Spain has around 90% of the target population already immunized, countries such as Austria, Germany or the Netherlands barely exceed 60%.
Therefore, there are already several countries that have imposed or plan to implement mandatory vaccination to immunize as many people as possible and thus raise the European vaccination average, in order to overcome the new waves of COVID-19 gracefully. However, the new ‘anticovid’ rules have sparked numerous protests in different European countries, and some of them have even ended with incidents between the police and the participants.
In Spain, the director of the Center for Coordination and Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, already considered a few weeks ago that it would not be necessary to impose mandatory vaccination for any group. In the same vein, it does not consider it appropriate to establish the requirement to present a COVID certificate to allow mobility or access certain places.
However, there are already several communities that have asked Health for a “clear and uniform” decision in this regard, although in any case the issue must be debated in the Inter-territorial Council of the Ministry.
The Austrian Government announced this Friday the fourth general confinement since the beginning of the pandemic and, to get out of the “vicious circle” of restrictions, has imposed, as of February, the mandatory vaccination of the entire population.
Austria, where 65% of the population has the complete guideline, thus became the first European country to introduce mandatory immunization against COVID and was also the first to return to confinement in this latest wave.
Meanwhile, in Germany, its chancellor, Angela Merkel, has announced that the vaccine will be mandatory for professionals in “sensitive” sectors, such as medical personnel or in contact with vulnerable people.
In addition, it will also enact specific restrictions for unvaccinated people, such as excluding them from certain public places, to combat a new outbreak of COVID-19 infections.
The rebound in covid-19 cases in Belgium led the Government to tighten some restrictions this week, including mandatory vaccination for all its health personnel.
The measures fundamentally involve imposing mandatory teleworking four days a week and expanding the use of the mask inside establishments and cultural places, such as restaurants or cinemas, although the COVID certificate has been requested to access them.
In the United Kingdom. Its Minister of Health has announced that public health personnel who work in the front line must be vaccinated against the coronavirus as a fundamental requirement to continue in their jobs.
“They have a unique responsibility,” stressed the minister, who has defended the measure as a way to “avoid foreseeable damage.” Only those personnel who do not work for the public will be exempt from this new rule, which is scheduled to come into force as of April 1 of next year.
The obligation to show the health certificate on means of transport, including taxis, and the possibility of stopping trains if people with COVID-19 symptoms travel are some of the measures that are in force in Italy, when circulation is increasing of the coronavirus.
In Italy, since last October 15, to work, both in the public and private sectors, it is mandatory to show the document that certifies that you are vaccinated, that you have passed the disease or that you have a recent negative test .
The French Government is on alert because there has been a strong spike in infections in recent weeks that does not translate into a worrying situation in hospitals for the moment, and insists that it has no confinement plan.
France will open the booster vaccination to those over 50 years old in December, however, it is not yet planned to advise it also for those under that age.
Since the beginning of November, unvaccinated people have to present a negative coronavirus test to be able to sit on the terraces of the premises, while the interior spaces are reserved exclusively for the vaccinated.
On the other hand, Greece imposed in September the obligation of the COVID vaccine to all health workers, as well as workers in centers for the elderly.
The Dutch Parliament has debated the possible introduction of the so-called “2G policy” in the COVID pass, which would mean the total exclusion of unvaccinated people from the restoration and events even if they test negative for coronavirus, a controversial step for the that political support is not guaranteed.
Demonstrations against mandatory vaccination
In Brussels, about 35,000 people, according to police estimates, have marched through the streets of the city this Sunday to protest against the restriction measures against the coronavirus in a concentration that has ended with sporadic clashes and a still unconfirmed number of detainees.
Also in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, there have been heavy unrest during protests against the new restrictions imposed by the Government to curb the sixth wave of the pandemic.
In Austria, meanwhile, tens of thousands of people have also demonstrated for the same reason. In the Austrian capital they have protested the confinement decreed by the Government for the unvaccinated and the announcement that a law is being prepared that will make vaccination against covid-19 mandatory next February.
What the UN thinks
A restrictive measure, such as imposing mandatory vaccination to stop the increase in cases and deaths from covid-19, must have “legitimate health reasons” and meet certain requirements, said the UN Human Rights Office.
In this regard, the United Nations spokesperson, Liz Throssell, has assured that “Based on general principles of human rights, what we can say is that the restriction of rights for legitimate health reasons, and that includes mandatory vaccination, must comply with certain conditions that are established in international law” .