Covid-19 Pandemic in Europe: New restrictions in France, Germany, Austria, Italy

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Paris: The emergence of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus has worsened the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, with the increasing number of infections and hospitalizations adding to the woes of governments. 

The healthcare infrastructure in Europe has been stretched to its limit, prompting many governments to impose tougher measures in order to control the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the situation in the United Kingdom is improving compared to other countries in Europe. The number of daily cases has been falling since reaching a peak earlier this month. Official government figures show that Covid-19 cases are on the rise in Portugal, Germany, Austria, Sweden and the Czech Republic. The numbers also appear to be higher in Italy and Spain, although the peak has decreased.

Situation of European countries and measures to control Covid-19 pandemic:

France: The French government is introducing new vaccine passport rules for visitors to cafes and restaurants from next week. The announcement was made by the Prime Minister of France Jean Costax in a televised address.

 “Until now, a negative Covid-19 test was enough for people in France to enter cafes, restaurants or other places,” Castex said

The vaccination pass will be effective from next Monday. 

France set a daily record on Tuesday when 464,769 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded. The number was 425,183 on Thursday, according to the French Public Health Agency.

Germany: The country’s seven-day Covid-19 incidence rate rose to more than 600 for the first time, with 638.8 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants. 

“Due to the highly contagious Omicron variant spreading across Europe, daily infections in Germany also reached a new record, with 133,536 cases within 24 hours. Recorded, which was about 52,000 more than a week ago,” the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases (RKI) said on Thursday. 

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Austria: The Austrian parliament has passed a law to make coronavirus vaccination mandatory from February. Mandatory immunization law applies to all persons 18 years of age and older who are registered in Austria. 

Unvaccinated people have been asked to take Covid-19 vaccine shots by March 15. Officers will send a notification by mail.

Exceptions have been allowed for persons under the age of 18, pregnant women and persons for whom Covid-19 vaccination may be associated with health risks.

United Kingdom: In the United Kingdom (UK), wearing masks in public places and Covid-19 passports will be removed on January 26. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that the latest wave was “at its peak nationally.”

Infected people need to be isolated for a full five days, but Johnson said he would try to eradicate it in the coming weeks if the virus’s statistics continue to improve. 

Official figures make up 95% of the British population who have developed antibodies against Covid-19 through infection or vaccination.

Ireland: The Irish government will end the 8 pm curfew for bars and restaurants by the end of next week, allowing them to stay open until midnight. Other restrictions on the hospitality sector, live events and advice to work from home will be waived in the coming weeks, the newspaper said. 

The number of Covid-19 cases in Ireland is falling and hospitalizations have been relatively low during the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Italy: The government in Italy is expanding its immunization mandate for all citizens aged 50 and over and imposing a fine of up to 1,500 euros on those who come to work without immunization. Access to public transport, planes, gyms, hotels and trade fairs requires thorough vaccinations.

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first published:Jan. 22, 2022, 8:11 p.m.

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