Countries across Europe have resorted to re-introducing strict Covid restrictions as the continent languishes in rising case counts. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte spearheaded the push for lockdowns by announcing one on Friday that is set to start Saturday night.
The Netherlands’ lockdown will require restaurants, bars and grocery stores to close at 8pm, and audiences will not be allowed to attend sports matches in person. The government is also strongly suggesting people work from home but has not introduced official rules enforcing remote work.
Germany and Austria are also introducing their own measures to combat the surge. Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg believes that the most effective restrictions will be those that apply solely to the unvaccinated, hopefully protecting people most unprotected from the virus and convincing them to get the vaccine:
“The aim is clear: We want on Sunday to give the green light for a nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated,” Schallenberg said to the press on Friday.
“A lockdown for the unvaccinated means one cannot leave one’s home unless one is going to work, shopping (for essentials), stretching one’s legs – namely exactly what we all had to suffer through in 2020,” he added, referencing the initial lockdowns that took place in the country at the start of the pandemic.
The lockdowns for unvaccinated people are queued to start on Monday. Austria currently has the lowest amount of fully vaccinated citizens of any wetern European country, with 64% of Austrians fully vaccinated.
Germany has not introduced a new lockdown just yet, but strengthened its rules for unvaccinated people in the state of Saxony. The new rules, called 2G, only permit those who are fully vaccinated or have previously had Covid to participate in indoor dining and have access to clubs and bars. An unvaccinated person can not test out of the restrictions in order to get inside such spaces, as was previously allowed.
Berlin will enforce the new 2G guidlines beginning November 15. Other cities and states across Germany struggling with high cases and hospitalizations are also expected to adopt the rules, with nationwide wide restrictions also being considered.
No new lockdowns in Greece despite rising cases
Despite a surge in cases in Greece last week, which saw the highest number of cases recorded in the country since the beginning of the pandemic, PM Mitsotakis has announced that the country will not be under a new lockdown any time soon.
Speaking to the Parliament last Wednesday, Mitsotakis stated that the Greek “society and economy are not likely to close down.”
He also stressed that the pandemic is the most dangerous for the unvaccinated, and urged those who have not yet received their shot to do so.
Mitsotakis stated that “if we had a higher vaccination rate, the pressure on the hospitals would have reduced and we could have finally avoided this adventure.”