Corona Strategies: How Europe is Dealing with Omicron


As of: 01/27/2022 4:02 p.m

The omicron wave is sweeping across Europe. But this does not mean strict measures and restrictions everywhere. Countries deal with the virus variant very differently. An overview.

Great Britain: Masks are no longer compulsory

In Great Britain, the number of infections has roughly halved in the past two weeks, but is still at a very high level. About half the population is boosted.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson took this as an opportunity to announce that all corona rules that were still in force would be abolished. There should soon be no more quarantine for people infected with corona. In England, there is no longer a requirement to wear a mask in class, and employees no longer need to work from home. From January 27, people no longer have to show proof of vaccination when visiting museums or concerts. The mask requirement at events is no longer applicable.

Those entering the UK no longer have to be in quarantine. More and more politicians and scientists are now calling for Corona to be treated like the flu. More than 95 percent of Britons now have antibodies against the corona virus. The disease is endemic.

Spain: Treat omicron like flu

Spain is also planning to rethink its corona strategy. The announcement by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez that he would treat Covid-19 like flu caused a stir. Instead of testing everyone, samples should be taken and extrapolated for an early warning system.

Sánchez also cited the successful vaccination campaign as a reason for the change of course. More than 80 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. However, the booster campaign has come to a standstill, and the country is only in the middle of the European range here. You no longer need a health certificate in cafés, pubs, restaurants or theaters. Schools no longer require students and teachers to take tests.

However, the numbers are increasing. The official seven-day incidence is currently 1500. Experts therefore warn against playing with fire.

Restrictions in Sweden

Sweden is known for its special way. The numbers have been increasing since the turn of the year. Sweden is extending the current restrictions by two weeks. Bars and restaurants must therefore continue to close at 11 p.m. A maximum of 500 people may come together in larger event rooms. In Sweden, tests are only carried out if there are symptoms.

Vaccination compulsory in Austria

With the spread of the omicron variant, Austria is experiencing new infections at a record level. That is why the federal government in Berlin has again classified Austria as a corona high-risk area, with a few exceptions.

Austria was the first EU country to make vaccination mandatory. Vaccination will be mandatory for everyone over the age of 18 from the beginning of February, otherwise fines of up to 3,600 euros may be imposed.

The lockdown for unvaccinated people should end on Monday, the reason for this is the relaxed situation in the intensive care units. All other applicable Covid measures remain in place for the time being. The 2G rule will remain in place in many public areas such as leisure facilities, at events and in so-called non-essential retail. The curfew in the gastronomy at 10 p.m. also remains in place.

Netherlands: Relax despite high numbers

The Netherlands are struggling with a violent omicron wave. Nevertheless, the country is taking a step towards normality. After more than five weeks, restaurants, pubs, theatres, museums and cinemas are allowed to open again – daily until 10 p.m. A limited number of spectators is also allowed in football stadiums.

The renewed lockdown, which has been in effect since December 19, has led to much dissatisfaction in the country. In some Dutch cities, cafes opened despite the ban. Restrictions in public life such as the obligation to wear masks or the Corona passport, with which visitors have to prove that they have been tested, vaccinated or recovered, remain in place.

Record levels in Poland

In Poland, the number of new corona infections has reached new records. More than 50,000 new cases were added within 24 hours, the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday. This is the highest since the pandemic began. Poland has around 38 million inhabitants, almost half as many as Germany.

So far there are no regulations in Poland that would allow operators of restaurants, hotels and shops to check the vaccination status of their customers. There are no 2G or 3G regulations in Poland either. The ruling PiS is finding it difficult to implement these measures because they also depend on the votes of MPs in Parliament who are opposed to vaccination.

Due to the increasing number of infections, Poland is switching back to online teaching in schools for the most part. Poland has a vaccination rate of about 57 percent. This puts the country well below the average for the EU countries.

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