Omicron Storms Europe: Restrictions Tightened After Record Daily Covid-19 Cases Across Continent

Written by | Thursday, December 30th, 2021

Europe is once again seeing a surge of Covid-19 cases, which has in some parts been compounded by the emergence of the new Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa. Some countries have taken steps targeting the unvaccinated, while programs are also being rolled out in several nations to vaccinate young children. The spread of the more transmissible Omicron variant of coronavirus has also triggered a flurry of flight cancellations, hampering Christmas plans for many Europeans. Thousands of flights were cancelled because of crew members calling in sick with Covid-19.
In France, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Monday (27 December) that people will need a ‘vaccination pass’ to enter restaurants, bars, and museums. Until now, French citizens have only needed to show proof of a negative test to enter gyms, restaurants, cultural institutions, and domestic flights and long train journeys, but from mid-January, this will no longer be enough. This new measure was announced just as a new record was reached on Tuesday (28 December) with 179,807 new infections reported over the previous 24 hours — the 100,000 daily case threshold had only been crossed for the first time on 25 December. Also Italy has further tightened its restrictions, barring unvaccinated from public spaces and enforcing mask-wearing outdoors. Outdoor New Year’s Eve celebrations have been banned, and nightclubs will be closed until 31 January. A daily record of nearly 44,600 new cases was reached in the last 24 hours on Thursday, as well as 168 deaths.
Spain, Belgium and Greece have also introduced new restrictions, including closing down cinemas, theaters, and other indoor recreational activities as Omicron spreads. Updating pandemic figures for the first time in four days, health authorities in Spain reported 214,619 new cases late on Monday (27 December), bringing the 14-day national caseload to a pandemic record level of 1,206 new infections per 100,000 residents. Meanwhile, as also the United Kingdom has seen another record rise of daily Covid-19 cases, with 138,831 reported in England, Scotland and Wales alone, a leading scientist said the Omicron variant was “not the same disease we were seeing a year ago”. Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, told BBC that Omicron “appears to be less severe and many people spend a relatively short time in hospital”, and high Covid death rates in the UK are “now history”. There were also calls from some scientists for the period of self-isolation to be cut. Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said people with Covid should eventually be allowed to “go about their normal lives” as they would with a common cold.

Article Categories:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.