Quarantines, confinements and compulsory vaccination: this is how Europe faces the sixth wave | International



Faced with the great explosion of infections in Europe and the rapid advance of the omicrón coronavirus variant, many countries are taking measures to stop the sixth wave. With Christmas just around the corner and winter, the authorities want to prevent a situation as dramatic as the previous year with the hospital and ICU occupation at stratospheric levels. This year will be different thanks to vaccination, but you have to be cautious and that is why many countries are beginning to tighten their restrictions.

Lockdown

The Netherlands announced this Saturday a strict confinement throughout the country, which came into effect this morning, and will last until January 14. This confinement implies the total closure of schools and all non-essential activity, due to the advance of the omicron. Schools, cinemas, restaurants and non-essential shops are closed and only supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and minimal services will remain open.

Also, outdoor meetings will be reduced to a maximum of two people. Similarly, a maximum of two guests per household per day will be allowed, with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas, San Esteban and New Year’s Eve, which may have four visitors per home. This was announced by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, after notifying in the last hours 14,742 new infections and more than 200 hospitalizations, 29 of which were admitted to the ICU.

Mandatory vaccination

France has chosen to speed up vaccination and is already vaccinating the little ones. But it has gone a step further and has decided to make the booster dose mandatory for toilets and firefighters. Health Minister Olivier Véran affirmed this Saturday that vaccination against the omicron variant must be accelerated, which is “much, much, much more contagious” than delta, and that it could be the majority in France within two weeks.

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“Those who are not vaccinated will be contaminated and there will be serious cases,” he warned after insisting that the objective of generalizing vaccination is “to avoid a very strong surge in hospitals.” In this regard, he recalled that there are already 52 million people vaccinated in the country, but about five million remain unimmunized. What France fears most is that there will be outbreaks of contagion in hospitals, so they consider it justified to immunize all staff.

Quarantine

Germany has decided to include the United Kingdom in the list of countries in the high-risk zone due to the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. The Robert Koch Institute has indicated that this new classification will take effect from December 20, 2021 and will impose entry restrictions into Germany for travelers from the country. Travelers arriving from the United Kingdom to Germany will have to quarantine for 14 days, even if they have the full vaccination schedule or have overcome the disease.

“The United Kingdom and Northern Ireland are very affected by COVID-19. In addition, a new, highly contagious variant has been detected”, they will temporarily pass for 14 days to the category of “very high risk area” by the coronavirus, has detailed by the German Foreign Office on its website.

Contagion explosion

The British health authorities have confirmed in the last 24 hours more than 10,000 new cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, three times the number registered the day before, and has declared an increase in hospitalizations for this modality, which has already left seven deaths in the country. For this reason, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the status of a “major incident” in the city to ease pressure on hospitals amid a spike in infections linked to the omicron variant of the coronavirus. This declaration allows public bodies to cooperate and coordinate more closely, but it also implies that emergency services do not have the capacity to guarantee the usual level of response.

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For its part, Germany has notified this Saturday more than 42,000 coronavirus infections during the last day, within the framework of a rebound in the figures in recent weeks in the European country, although the weekly incidence, one of the most important factors for German authorities to study the impact of the new wave of infections, continues to decline.

COVID passport

And in Spain there is no unanimity with the imposition of restrictions. It is the communities that are free to decide what measures to take and many of them have chosen to require the COVID passport in hotels, restaurants, nightlife or cultural events. After overcoming the barrier of 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, Spain is at very high risk and this Saturday the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will make an institutional statement to report on the situation and the Conference of Presidents to be held next week to strengthen co-governance and institutional cooperation.




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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