Europe closes the year in a general situation of high risk due to the high contagion of coronavirus driven by the omicron variant , while governments tighten restrictions and urge caution in celebrations.

With the exception of Romania , which was hit hard in the autumn by the previous wave of covid-19, the rest of Europe is at high or very high risk , according to the latest data updated by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). .

Eighteen of the thirty countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), including Spain, have a cumulative incidence of more than 500 new casesper 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, which is equivalent to the highest level, represented by the dark red color, in the ECDC weekly maps.

Another eight – Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Greece, and Poland – have regions at very high level and others at high level (red) , which means that the incidence is between 200 and 499 cases per 100,000 inhabitants or between 75 and 200 but with a test positivity rate greater than 4%.
Bulgaria and Latvia appear entirely in red on the ECDC map, which collects data collected until last Tuesday, while Romania, which was hit hard by covid-19 in autumn, is almost entirely in orange with two exceptions: Bucharest, in red; and the southern region of Oltenia, in green (low contagion).
The map reflects the reality of a continent in which many countries have reported daily contagion records in recent weeks, although the effect of the vaccines has caused hospital pressure to be contained and mortality to remain at lower rates than a year ago. .

Covid masks and passport

Fear of the omicron variant, more contagious but apparently less severe, has led most governments to increase restrictionsexpanding the use of the covid passport and masks and limiting meetings , especially with a view to New Year’s Eve.
Thus, Germany , which keeps the incidence of new cases contained, will not allow private gatherings of more than ten people (not counting children under 14 years of age) in the case of the vaccinated, while for the unimmunized the limit remains at two.
In Spain , where on Wednesday the 100,000 new positives were exceeded for the first time in one day, regional policies have been promoted to limit or prohibit large celebrations, while the capacity in professional outdoor sports competitions will be reduced to 75% and, to 50% , in interior enclosures.

PortugalI decree already from Christmas day the closure of nightlife and nurseries, as well as mandatory teleworking, and in hotels, weddings and baptisms, cultural shows and sports venues it is required to present a negative test even for vaccinated people.
The test will also be necessary to enter restaurants on New Year’s Eve, and both that day and the next, gatherings of more than 10 people on public roads will be prohibited.
In France , where the barrier of 200,000 daily cases has been broken, the Government today announced fines of up to 1,000 euros per employee against companies that fail to comply with the imposition of teleworking at least 3 days a week and wants to impose the compulsory vaccination pass for the restoration, transport and sports facilities.
In Paris, with the incidence soaring above 2,000 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, it will be mandatory from tomorrow to wear a mask outdoors, with a fine of 135 euros for those who do not comply with that order.

Reduced quarantines

In Italy , where infections rose 80.7% at Christmas, urgent measures have been approved in fear of the paralysis of some activities: as of January 10, the quarantine will disappear for those vaccinated for less than four months or with the booster dose by close contact with a positive.
And the use of the reinforced health certificate will be expanded (which is obtained if you are vaccinated or have passed the coronavirus), which will be necessary, apart from in restaurants and leisure activities, in public transport, hotels, ceremonies or festivals. .
With the intention of combining control of the pandemic and economic balance, several countries, such as the United Kingdom or Spain , have reduced quarantines to positives from ten to seven days.
in the UK, also in record numbers of contagion, the mask in transport and closed places was imposed days ago in England and it is mandatory to present a covid certificate for large events, while the autonomous governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have limited meetings and capacity in shows.
“We are not close to the end of the pandemic at the moment,” said Catherine Smallwood, the European office of the World Health Organization (WHO), its head of Emergencies, in a message posted on social networks.
WHO-Europe has reiterated these days the need to receive the booster dose of the vaccine and measures such as avoiding crowds, ensuring ventilation, maintaining a safe distance, wearing masks when necessary, hand hygiene and staying home if necessary. they have symptoms.

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