Following a dramatic increase in COVID-19 infections, European governments are preparing to enforce new COVID controls

Following a dramatic increase in COVID infections, European governments are preparing to enforce new COVID controls

Europe has become the epicenter in the run-up to Christmas, causing some governments to consider reinstating unpopular lockdowns and igniting discussion over whether immunizations alone will be sufficient to contain COVID-19.

According to a Reuters calculation, Europe accounted for more than half of global average 7-day infections and around half of the most recent deaths, the highest levels since April last year, when the virus was at its severe in Italy.

Governments and businesses are concerned that a prolonged epidemic will disrupt the fragile economic recovery that has been underway. Measures to slow the spread of the disease are being implemented or planned in several countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

The Netherlands’ caretaker prime minister, Mark Rutte, declared a three-week partial lockdown starting on Saturday (November 13), the first such measure in Western Europe since the summer. On Friday evening, Rutte delivered a speech in which he stated that “the infection is omnipresent and must be combated everywhere.”


In the midst of a stalemate in practical immunization efforts ahead of the winter months and flu season, new concerns have been raised about what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described on Friday as “storm clouds” looming over Europe.

A total of two doses have been given to about 65% of the people in the European Economic Area (EEA), which is made up of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. However, the rate of delivery has slowed in recent months.

Take-up is approximately 80% in southern European countries, but hesitation has slowed the spread in central and eastern Europe and Russia, potentially leading to outbreaks that overwhelm the healthcare system.

Germany, France, and the Netherlands are also experiencing an increase in infections, demonstrating that even countries with high acceptance rates face a difficult task ahead of them.

To be sure, hospitalizations and deaths are far lower than they were a year ago. Still, significant differences between countries in the use of vaccines and boosters and measures such as social distance make it difficult to draw broad generalizations about the region as a whole.


According to virologists and public health experts interviewed by Reuters, a combination of low vaccine take-up in some areas, waning immunity among those immunized early in life, complacency about masks, and distancing as governments eased restrictions over the summer are likely to be to blame for the outbreak.

When it comes to learning from this experience, Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick Medical School in the United Kingdom, said, “The most important thing to remember is to stay focused on the task at hand.”


According to the Globe Health Organization’s report for the week ending November 7, Europe, which includes Russia, was the only region to have an increase in cases, with a 7% increase, while the rest of the world saw declines or stable trends in cases during the same period.

Additionally, it reported a 10% increase in mortality, whilst other regions reported declines in deaths. Some of the rules that will go into effect in the Netherlands include ordering restaurants and shops to close early and prohibiting spectators from attending athletic events.

Germany’s interim health minister, Jens Spahn, announced that free COVID-19 testing would be available again starting on Saturday. Until next March, according to a draught law in Germany, measures such as mandatory face masks and social distance in public places could continue to be imposed until then.

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said on Friday that the country’s cabinet is likely to decide on Sunday to impose a lockdown on those who have not been vaccinated against the flu.


Scientists say that while most EU countries are providing additional vaccinations to the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, spreading vaccination to a more significant portion of the population should be a priority to preventive measures such as a lockdown.

“The most pressing need is to increase the number of patients who have had vaccinations as much as possible,” said Carlo Federico Perno, Rome’s Bambino Gesù Hospital.

The European Medicines Agency is also evaluating the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for children aged 5 to 11 years. On Friday, the Norwegian government announced that it would provide a third dosage of the COVID-19 vaccination to everyone over the age of 18 and that we would give towns the option of adopting digital “corona passes.” Norway has only administered a third dose to persons who are 65 years old or older. People over the age of 40 will be able to receive the third dose starting on December 1.

People at the University of Southampton’s Center for Global Health said that Michael Head’s prediction that the EU would reconsider booster doses and say “we need them now” was correct (pronto means immediately).


Central and Eastern European governments have been forced to take severe measures due to the ongoing struggle to increase the number of shots. In mid-October, Latvia, one of the EU countries with the lowest vaccination rates, enforced a four-week lockdown. Its parliament agreed on Friday to prohibit MPs who refuse immunization from voting in legislative sessions or engaging in debates with their colleagues.

Restrictions have been strengthened in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Russia as well. The use of vaccines alone will not be sufficient to defeat the pandemic over a lengthy period, say, virologists.

Several others cited Israel as an example of best practice. In addition to immunizations, the country has increased masks and offered vaccine passports following an outbreak that occurred a few months ago.

It is critical to take precautions such as providing adequate spacing, wearing masks, and requiring vaccinations for indoor events. It is according to Antonella Viola, an immunology expert at the University of Padua in Italy.

edited and proofread by nikita sharma

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