STRICTER CURBS DURING CHRISTMAS IN EUROPE
Many European countries are toughening curbs.
The state of emergency announced by the Czech Republic allows the government to order restrictions on public life. Authorities there ordered bars and clubs to close down at 10 p.m., banned Christmas markets and capped attendance at cultural and sports events at 1,000 people.
Slovakia’s two-week lockdown from Thursday followed neighbouring Austria, which began a lockdown on Monday. Slovakia, with one of the EU’s lowest vaccination rates, reported a critical situation in hospitals and new infections that topped global tables.
Authorities ordered all but essential shops and services closed and banned people from travelling outside their districts unless going to work, school, or a doctor. Gatherings of more than six people were banned.
French authorities said rules on wearing face masks will be tightened and checks on health passes used for entry to public places will be increased. But officials said there was no need to follow European countries that have reimposed lockdowns.
In Germany, Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock said the new government, comprising the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP), had set itself 10 days to decide if further restrictions are needed. read more
Much of Germany has already introduced rules to restrict access to indoor activities to people who have been vaccinated or have recovered.
In the Netherlands, the number of coronavirus patients in hospital has hit levels not seen since early May, and experts have warned that hospitals will reach full capacity in little more than a week if the virus is not contained.
The Dutch government said it would take strong measures to curb infections. National broadcaster NOS reported on Thursday the government’s leading Outbreak Management Team has advised the closure of restaurants, bars, and non-essential stores by 5 p.m. as part of a new package of lockdown measures.