From tips for family reunions to travel, what these holidays will be like
The Omicron variant is spreading throughout Europe, as we prepare for Christmas 2021 with new measures, rules for the holidays and the appeal to vaccines and, above all, the third dose. Words like curfew and lockdown are making a comeback. In the Old Continent the wave does not stop: the numbers are impressive, the tightness of the hospitals is worrying and the governments launch measures to stem the wave.
In Italy, there is expectation for the control room with Prime Minister Mario Draghi at Palazzo Chigi on 23 December 2021. Among the hypotheses on the table there is the request for tampons also for the vaccinated to access the indoor premises or the large events, the mandatory outdoor mask and a reduction in the duration of the green pass reduced.
Paris has decided to cancel the events scheduled for the New Year, in the face of the growing wave of infections. According to a tweet announced, on the evening of December 31 there will no longer be the concert and the fireworks on the Champs-Elysees. On Friday, Prime Minister Jean Castex had had an interview with the leaders of the various municipalities, asking that the events scheduled for New Year’s Eve be canceled and ordinances adopted to prohibit the consumption of alcohol outdoors.
The Omicron variant “is spreading at the speed of light” in Europe and could become “dominant” in France earlier this year. The alarm was raised by French Prime Minister Jean Castex.
About 10 percent of new Coronavirus cases in France are suspected to be attributable to the Omicron variant, Health Minister Olivier Veran said, calling Omicron “ much, much, much more contagious than the Delta variant. It reproduces extremely fast. ” “We have several hospital clusters of the Omicron variant, particularly in the Paris region,” he explains.
The appeal is to pay close attention to when you gather among family members and in closed places. In particular, the president of the Community of Madrid asked to limit the attendance of the participants to the dinners to ten participants. Also of concern are the infections in Navarre and the Basque Country, where the request is always the same: to limit the number of presences indoors.
The Austrian Parliament is finalizing a new law, in force for two years starting on February 10, which will impose the obligation of vaccination against Covid to those over 14 years of age. Violators will be punished with fines between 600 and 3600 euros. To participate in the dinner you must be immunized and no more than ten. Instead, there is a buffer for events with several people.
Denmark prepares for the squeeze: Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s plan provides for the closure of museums, cinemas, theaters, bio parks, amusement parks and venues for events. The measures also provide for the acceleration of the tracking programs and the vaccination campaign. New rules are also emerging for restaurants: they will have to close at 11pm, but from 10pm they will no longer be able to serve alcohol. Last week, moreover, the decision was announced to bring the end-of-year holidays forward for schools by one week.
“A massive fifth wave” of Coronavirus “like we have never seen before” is coming to Germany due to the Omicron variant. The prediction is by the German Minister of Health, according to which “we must assume that the Omicron wave we are facing now, and which I believe we cannot prevent, will pose a huge challenge to our hospitals, our intensive care units and society in its complex”. A greater challenge than we have seen so far, the minister warned, citing what is happening in the UK.
Ireland dusts off the curfew that closes at 8pm for pubs, restaurants, clubs inside hotels. Same measure also for cultural and sporting events.
TRAVEL AT CHRISTMAS
Italy is not the first European country to introduce the obligation to test for EU vaccinated people: before us, Ireland and Portugal introduced it, without anyone protesting.
Greece has also decided that all travelers arriving in the country, whether vaccinated or not, will have to present a molecular swab with a negative result from next Sunday. Under the new provisions, people in transit in Greece for less than 48 hours will be exempted from the test. To be valid, the negative swab must be carried out within 48 hours prior to the trip. While in France the government plans to impose a molecular test for passengers arriving from the UK.
Even in Austria and until further notice, only those who can prove that they have had the triple vaccination or have been cured of Covid-19 will be able to enter the country. Those who do not have the vaccination certificate will have to present a negative PCR test or will have to quarantine immediately upon arrival. The quarantine will be completed only after a test carried out after arrival is negative. The new rules will take effect on Monday.
France – which will not impose tampons on travelers from other EU countries – takes action against the variant compared to lightning by Prime Minister Jean Castex. The country’s intensive care units host about 3,000 patients and the situation seems destined to worsen. The government is working on a bill that will be presented in parliament at the beginning of January and which will serve to transform the current health pass into a vaccination certificate. “Only the vaccine will count towards the pass, not the swabs anymore,” Castex says. There are about six million French people still not vaccinated against the coronavirus and the picture risks becoming unsustainable.
Meanwhile, Germany looks at the bulletins and decides to classify France and Denmark as high-risk areas starting Sunday due to the high number of infections. The same goes for Norway, Lebanon and Andorra, announces the Robert Koch Institut. Anyone coming from a high-risk area and not fully vaccinated or cured must be quarantined for 10 days: the process is suspended with a negative test 5 days after entry.