From March 17, 2020, there was a strict curfew in France, the so-called confinement lasted 55 days. At the time, this was seen as an emergency solution because the rapid spread of the virus left no time to enable efficient test strategies and consistent tracking of the chains of infection.
The rules were stricter than all previous lockdown measures in Germany for both private individuals and businesses. In order to go outside, citizens had to issue a certificate, even for going to the supermarket. Walks were only allowed once a day for an hour and then only within a radius of one kilometer from the residence.
The success was quickly palpable; Hospitals were relieved. But the numbers rose, and four months after the end of the first curfew, in mid-September, the French test system was completely overloaded and chains of infection could no longer be traced. At the end of October, another curfew began, which lasted until mid-December.
There is currently a night curfew from 6 p.m. throughout France. The schools are open and employers are obliged, wherever possible, to enable their employees to work from home. President Emmanuel Macron will decide whether a third, tough attempt will be made.
Shopping and taking away rubbish – more was not allowed in Spain
In Spain, too, the lockdown in the spring initially had the desired effect, but it also had an unexpected side effect: since then, no member of the Spanish government has wanted to use the word “lockdown”.
Instead, avoidance strategies have been used for months now, although the number of infections is not very impressed. Health Minister Salvador Illa was initially proud that the people had “exemplary” adhered to the rules. The Spaniards were not allowed outside for almost seven weeks; only shopping and taking away the garbage was allowed.
The numbers actually remained at a low level until the beginning of the summer holidays. But when the schools reopened in September, they went up again. And they continued to rise, even though politicians gradually tightened the measures. A new lockdown is still not imminent. The consequences of the first were too devastating: Spain’s economy plummeted by twelve percent in 2020. This is also due to the fact that foreign tourists stayed away. But the lockdown has left its mark. It seems as if one does not want to be “exemplary” again in Europe.
There are exceptions in Austria for winter sports
In Austria, too, there is now the third lockdown. It should have ended on January 24th; with a decision by the government and the opposition, from which only the FPÖ withdrew, it was extended until February 7; Any subsequent easing should only take place if the incidence, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, has fallen below 50. Although the rules, with controversial exceptions for winter sports, have already been relatively strict, the number of infections has not dropped noticeably, it is still more than 1,500 per day.
A certain perplexity has therefore recently spread; at the same time, resistance to the rigid measures in the population is growing. On Saturday, more than 10,000 people, including neo-Nazis, identitarians and liberals, demonstrated against the “Corona dictatorship” in Vienna.
Instead, the measures are being tightened again. FFP2 masks are compulsory in transport and shops, and there is a minimum distance of two meters to other people. Whether and how much that will help remains to be seen. In Vienna alone, ten percent of all samples checked recently came from the mutated, rapidly spreading Covid variant.
24-hour vaccination centers open in London
The situation in Great Britain is particularly catastrophic because of this mutation; the government is therefore under massive pressure. The number of infections is almost 40,000 per day. About six percent of the population had been vaccinated with a first dose by Monday; in London, to speed up the process, 24-hour vaccination centers are now to open. Because the virus continues to spread in parts of the country despite the strict lockdown, the government has massively tightened entry and exit rules.
For trips to the UK, a negative test is now required before entry. Nevertheless, those arriving have to go into a ten-day quarantine after their arrival – regardless of where they come from. This self-isolation can be ended with another negative test on the fifth day at the earliest.
The regulation should apply until at least mid-February. Great Britain also wants to protect itself against the introduction of new Corona variants from other countries. Brazil, where new variants have been discovered, and several other South American countries as well as Portugal are now completely banned from entering the country.