A number of European countries have recently toughened their restrictions as the holidays approaches. These measures vary from strict lockdowns to night-time curfews as the countries plan a strategy that allows some extent of freedom for the Christmas period.
Germany has reintroduced a strict lockdown as COVID-19 related deaths hit a new record high. As of earlier this week, the nation recorded 179.8 deaths per 100,000 residents over the last seven days.
France rolls out night time curfews from 20:00 – 06:00 since the 15th of December. French Prime Minister Jean Castex revealed that the COVID-19 infection rates were not dropping as fast as the government had hoped for after a lockdown had already been put in place in late October.
Italy announced that it would be ordering a nationwide lockdown over the Christmas and New Year days to try and curb the sudden rise in cases. Italy will be put under “red-zone” restrictions over the holidays as non-essential shops, restaurants and bars close. A curfew has also been in place from 22:00 – 05:00.
The Dutch government has recently announced that they will follow Germany’s decision into a lockdown over the holidays. Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte stated that non-essential shops and businesses, gyms, museums, cinemas and theatres will remain closed for five weeks. This comes after the Netherland’s seven-day new cases average had risen by more than 40% in the past week.
A New Strain
Over in the United Kingdom, London enters an emergency lockdown as the country fights what is recently found as a new strain of the Coronavirus. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had originally planned to ease the restrictions for the five days during the festive period. However, emergency talks between officials had been called for over concerns of the new virus mutation. Scientific evidence suggests that the new strain (which at the moment appears uniquely in the UK) can spread much quicker than previous known strains.
As of today, The Netherlands and Belgium have issued bans for flights from the UK, over fears of the new strain of virus.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that they are in contact with officials in the UK over the sudden emergence of the new strain of Coronavirus. Despite the strain being more rapid in spreading, it’s not believed to be more deadly. According to the WHO, as of today the mutation has also been detected in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Australia.
Art by: Yuu Uchida
20th December 2020