Despite talk earlier in the month of easing restrictions over the holiday period, most European countries are now embracing a stricter approach.
Europe Attempts to Stop a Covid Christmas
As the Christmas season approached in Europe, authorities are already taking steps to make it a quiet affair for residents as an increase in COVID-19 cases shows no sign of halting.
Germany, once considered an exemplar of success in tackling the virus, will enter a strict lockdown on Wednesday that will last until Jan. 10. During this period, schools, daycare facilities and most shops will be closed after Chancellor Angela Merkel blamed Christmas shopping for a “considerable” increase in social gatherings.
Amid noisy protests outside his office, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced his country “will close for five weeks.”
“We’re not dealing with a simple flu like the people behind us think,” Rutte said, in reference to those shouting outside.
France is bucking the trend by relaxing some of its strict lockdown measures—barely. Although an 8 p.m. curfew will remain in place, residents will no longer need to have an essential reason to leave their homes as before.
Rising numbers. The new moves come as the continent has struggled to contain a second wave of infections. Despite some progress in reducing the number of infections since a peak in November, recorded daily cases are still more than three times higher today than they were on October 1.