Europe tightens COVID-19 restrictions to control the Omicron wave

Europe tightens COVID-19 restrictions to control the Omicron wave. 

Just days before New Year’s Eve, a few European nations have been ordered to adopt stricter steps to combat the rising cases of Covid-19, this Omicron variant.

In France, the daily number of cases of Covid-19 reached 208,099 on Wednesday, surpassing the record set on Tuesday and reaching a record since the pandemic outbreak across France, Xinhua news agency reported.

“This means that all day every second, two French patients are diagnosed as positive for the disease,” the health minister of the country, Olivier Veran, told the National Assembly while presenting a draft bill for the vaccination card.

READ MORE: Overall risk related to Omicron are very high: WHO.

Tuesday, the French government approved the sale of antigenic test kits in supermarkets until January. It also announced a month-long incentive of 100 euros ($113) for all medical personnel in intensive care.

It is the World Health Organization Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned on Wednesday that he’s “apprehensive about the possibility that Omicron being more transmittable and in the same way as Delta and causing the spread of several cases.”

“This will continue to put tremendous pressure on exhausted health professionals and health systems that are on the edge of collapse and disrupt lives and livelihoods of the people,” he added.

This is due not just to the new Covid-19 patients who require hospitalization but also to many health professionals who are sick.

To ease the pressure on medical personnel to alleviate stress on medical staff in Spain, Health officials decided on Wednesday to cut down the time for patients suffering from asymptomatic Covid-19 infection from 10 days to 7 days.

It is anticipated that the new rules will relieve some strain on health services. The Health Ministry reported that over five thousand health workers had been affected by Covid-19 during the 14 days leading up to 23rd December.

Alongside health services, catering services have been impacted by the pandemic.

“From the time of the covid-19 epidemic, catering has been among the first industries to be affected each when measures are declared,” said Christos Kapetanakis, the proprietor of the old Ithaki restaurant located in central Athens.

On Wednesday, the Greek government decided to introduce additional protection measures against Covid-19 after the number of cases doubled in just 48 hours throughout the country.

“The Omicron variant is now predominant. Our national health system is under strain from Delta and Omicron. We need to evaluate the various factors to ensure that it can continue to function,” said Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris.

In response to this increase and the government’s decision to delay a number of measures originally set to take effect on 3rd January and put in additional restrictions.

In Cyprus, another country heavily dependent on tourism, emergency measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is in the works, as per Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas.

From 30th December to 30th December, all individuals, except those who have taken the third dose of the vaccine, must pass a negative 24-hour test before going into reception halls and dance clubs for wedding receptions.

The Portuguese government has also extended the Covid-19 ban up to 5th January. To gain entry into events, restaurants, and parties, the public must provide proof of vaccination or show the negative test for Covid-19.

Portugal has recorded 26,867 new cases of Covid-19 over the last 24 hours, creating a record for daily numbers since the start of the epidemic.

The Omicron variant is one of the significant factors in the deterioration of the Covid-19 epidemic in Germany and the United States. 

The number of instances of the latest variant is growing by almost 26 percent in a single day, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases announced on Wednesday.

“We should do everything we can to stop the pandemic as fast as we can,” said Svenja Schulze, Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development.

One year after Germany’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign was launched at the beginning of this year, 71 percent of German citizens had been completely vaccination-free by Tuesday, as per the official statistics.

In the neighboring country of Belgium in Belgium, the Omicron variant is responsible for 60% of the new infections microbiologist Emmanuel Andre at Catholic University (KU) Leuven said on Twitter on Monday.

However, it is estimated that 77 percent of the Belgian population is fully vaccine-free since the vaccination campaign on the 28th of December, 2020.

Denmark’s health authorities had asked residents to “see as little as they can” during the festive season when Denmark reported record-breaking daily numbers of 23,228 cases of Covid-19.

In Britain, health authorities in Britain reported a record number of coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours. Recent data indicates that over 90 percent of the community Covid instances in England are today Omicron.