Covid-19: the noose is tightening in Europe, new restrictions in several countries

We are obviously not done with the virus yet. Despite the hopes raised by the vaccination, the virus continues to rebound from one end of the globe to the other and concern is growing among tourism professionals. Because at the moment, it is Europe which again seems to be the epicentre of the epidemic. So much so that the WHO fears another massacre by February. “The current rate of transmission in the 53 countries of the European region is very worrying (…), lamented Hans Kluge, WHO's European director. If we stay on this trajectory, we could see another half a million deaths from Covid-19 in the region by February, ”he warned.

This situation is all the more worrying for the sector as Europe is the playground to which many TOs have had to restrict themselves, who hope in particular to sell city-breaks for the end-of-year celebrations.

"The epidemiological situation in the EU is currently characterised by a rapid and significant increase in cases and a low but slowly rising death rate", summarises the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC). "Cases, hospitalisations and the number of deaths are all expected to increase over the next two weeks," the European agency stressed on Friday.

Among the 27, Belgium, Poland, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary and Slovenia are in the highest concern category.

Countries in the “worrying” category include Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovakia.

New restrictions since Friday

Since last Friday, the race against the virus has accelerated. Austria has thus become the first country to decide to re-limit only people who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from Covid. The country had already decided to deploy the rule of "2G", "vaccinated" or "cured" in German, for access to many tourist facilities, including hotels or cable cars, in ski resorts. The Austrian government has indicated that it will reassess the effectiveness of this measure in ten days.

In Germany, the epidemic is also racing. Last Thursday, the country crossed the threshold of 50,000 contaminations in a single day, a first since the start of the pandemic. From this Monday, Berlin prohibits access to bars, restaurants without terraces, theatres and other leisure places to unvaccinated people, de facto transforming its health pass into a vaccination pass. New restrictions are expected across the country in the coming days. The country is preparing for a massive return to teleworking.

The Netherlands also announced on Friday a partial confinement including a curfew and the use of telework for three weeks. At the end of this three-week period, access to dining and leisure facilities should also be reserved for people vaccinated or cured of Covid-19.

On the same day, Iceland also announced a strengthening of its measures to fight Covid-19, limiting public gatherings to 50 people, and restricting the opening hours of certain places. Bars, restaurants and nightclubs must therefore close at 10 p.m. The wearing of the mask had already been made compulsory again a few days before in certain places, and the gauges lowered.

Denmark has reintroduced the health pass, while Norway has also announced new restrictions at national level.

France, for its part, has implemented the strengthening of border controls with eight European countries since November 13. Unvaccinated travellers from eight European countries must now present a negative PCR or antigen test of less than 24 hours to enter French territory. " Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia and Slovakia are placed under surveillance within the European area, with, for entry into France from this country, the requirement of a test of less than 24 hours for unvaccinated people ”, details the site of the government. Some exceptions remain, however, depending on the duration, distance or reason for the trip.

Source: L'Echo Touristique - France (Google Translation)