Restrictions tighten across Europe days prior to vaccine approval

Lockdowns and strict measures in Italy, Netherlands, France

Local business closed during the coronavirus covid-19 quarantine madrid spain
Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

New Covid-19 restrictions are being imposed by governments across Europe as measures introduced weeks before Christmas failed to provide the desired results, while new cases continued to rise. France has imposed a curfew restricting movement 8.00 pm. to 6.00am, while in Czech Republic borders will be closed for tourists.

These new measures come just days before the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to approve the anti-Covid-19 jab.

Watch: Vaccine effective against all strains of Covid-19 – Fearne
Watch: Vaccine effective against all strains of COVID-19 – Fearne

New restrictions were introduced in Germany this week. This followed the alarming increase in the number of deaths faced by Europe’s largest economy.

To date, Germany registered 1,469,991 Covid-19 cases with 26,003 deaths. To stop the spread, schools and non-essential shops have been closed, while public gatherings and sale of fireworks have been banned.

The latest restrictions will apply at least till 10 January.

Five week-long lockdown in Netherlands

A new five-week lockdown is being imposed across the border, in the Netherlands. All shops, apart from essential outlets like supermarkets, food stores and pharmacists were closed yesterday until 19 January. Schools have been closed as well.

Museums, zoos, cinemas, and gyms are also closed. However, cannabis “coffeeshops” and restaurants can remain open for takeaway service.

Curfew in France

A curfew has been imposed in France, from 8.00 pm. to 6.00am. The curfew will be lifted on 24 December, when families are invited to celebrate Christmas, but no more than six adults per household are allowed around a table. 

Bars, restaurants and cultural venues have been closed since the end of October.

President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for the virus earlier this week.

French President Emmanuel Macron tests positive for coronavirus
French President Emmanuel Macron tests positive for coronavirus

In Czech Republic, since 18 December, access to the country is only  allowed essential the purposes of work, getting treatment or business purposes. Entering Czech Republic for tourism purposes is restricted. However, Czech’s will still be allowed to travel outside of the country.

Italy will be under “red-zone” restrictions over the festive season, with non-essential shops, restaurants and bars closed, and Italians only allowed to travel for work, health and emergency reasons.

Stay at home this Christmas – Italian Regional Minister
Stay at home this Christmas – Italian Regional Minister

In the UK theatres, pubs and restaurants have been closed.  People can socialise only with other members from the same household. The only exception is when socialising outside in groups of no more than six.

The new restrictions come into force just days before the expected approval of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine by European Medicines Agency (EMA)

According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the vaccine will be available across the EU from 27 December.