COVID-19 | “Express” lockdowns and tough restrictions for European Christmas

Many countries in Europe are facing this peculiar Christmas with fear of a worsening of the coronavirus epidemic, which is leading the authorities to seek formulas to limit contacts without sacrificing family reunions, despite the danger they represent.

The countries of the European Union may begin to vaccinate on December 27, and many will do so that same day, including Spain, but by then the Christmas meetings that can trigger infections will have already taken place.

Italy begins an almost general confinement

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has announced a new lockdown for most of the country during the holiday period.

Conte has expressed that the decision was difficult but that it has been meticulously implemented, since the restrictions vary according to the zones.

Retail commercial activities are also closed, except for food, pharmacies, parapharmacies, newsagents and tobacconists, as well as bars, restaurants, ice cream parlors, patisseries and pubs, which can only be delivered to your home and, until 10:00 p.m., to take away .

Individual physical activity will be allowed in the vicinity of the home, respecting the distance of at least one meter and with the obligation to use protective equipment.

However, for the entire Christmas period, there will be an exception to these rules: on closing days family visits will be allowed, but only if a maximum of two people travel, as well as children under fourteen years of age, which are not counted.

Italy has registered a significant rebound in infections and deaths in recent days, and seeks to avoid a third wave in January.

The third is the charm, Austria decrees a new confinement

Austria will also initiate a lockdown. It will come into force on December 26 and will last for 3 weeks, with the news that those who do not undergo a COVID test will be confined for another week.

Thus, after the relaxation of mobility and meeting measures for the Christmas holidays, from December 26 to January 17 non-essential commerce will close again (gastronomy and leisure are currently closed) and the current night curfew will be extended to the whole day.

The head of the Austrian Government, Sebastian Kurz, announced that on the weekend of January 15 to 17, free covid-19 tests will be offered to the entire population.

Kurz insisted that the generalized and regular tests will be the key to be able to open and keep the economic activity running, from trade to tourism and cultural shows, while the vaccination begins to take effect and a situation of normality is reached, he said, in summer.

Sweden changes positions before the possible arrival of a second wave

Sweden on Friday introduced tougher measures to curb its second wave of the pandemic, including recommending the use of the mask on public transport, closing non-essential workplaces and extending the closure of institutes until the end of January.

In Swedish restaurants there can only be four people per table from the 24th, and the sale of alcohol will be allowed until 8:00 p.m. (two hours before the current restriction), while in stores, shopping centers and gyms they will set maximum limits for clients.

All non-essential public employees must work from home until January 24, a recommendation that also extends to private companies.

Sweden stood out from the beginning of the pandemic for a more lax strategy regarding the coronavirus, with some prohibition and many recommendations, appealing to individual responsibility. In the second wave, infections and pressure on Health have increased and the Government has adopted a more active role in the last month and a half.

Macron continues his recovery after testing positive for COVID-19

For his part, President Emmanuel Macron, who tested positive for COVID-19 this Thursday, has assured through Twitter that he feels better but that his work rate is now slower.

France on Friday exceeded 60,000 deaths from coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. And the contagions only go up on Christmas Eve.

The country recently ended its lockdown, but this has been replaced by a strict curfew between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. that will continue until January 20. But it will not apply on Christmas Eve, although it will on New Year’s Eve.

Even so, the government insists that family gatherings bring together a maximum of six adults, not counting minors.

‘Misa del Gallo’, an exception in the Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, new measures were decreed to go from the third to the fourth level of coronavirus risk after a worsening of the pandemic.

These include a curfew from 11:00 pm and the closure of bars, restaurants and gyms. But there will be an exception for those who attend the midnight mass.

Although the latest measures include a curfew of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., the closure of bars, restaurants, gyms and swimming pools, the Government has granted a series of exemptions.

Those exemptions include an exemption from the curfew for those who attend midnight mass (only one-fifth of the church seats can be occupied), as well as the decision to allow stores to remain open despite the fact that the Non-essential stores usually close on the fourth level, according to the portal