January 26, 2022

Catalonia introduces curfew, restrictions multiply in Europe

While a new wave of Covid-19, reinforced by the arrival of the Omicron variant, threatens the end of the year celebrations all over the world, a large part of Catalonia, in Spain, will resume a curfew nocturnal. Elsewhere in Europe, restrictions are also increasing.

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  • In Spain, a curfew imposed in Catalonia

Demonstrators demanded the resumption of nightlife in Barcelona on November 21, 2020. A little over a year later, Catalan nightclubs are closing again.

Spanish justice on Thursday authorized the establishment of a night curfew in much of the region of Catalonia (northeast) to slow the explosion of cases of Covid-19. The Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) has announced that it allows “The measures requested” by the Catalan executive, which also include the closure of discos and the limitation of private meetings to a maximum of ten people.

The measure affecting fundamental freedoms, the autonomous government had to seek authorization from the courts to be able to establish this curfew between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., in all towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants where the incidence exceeds 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, ie all of these large cities currently.

These restrictions will apply from the night of Thursday to Friday for an initial period of two weeks in one of the most populated regions of Spain and the most touristic in Europe. Of the seventeen autonomous regions, Catalonia is the one that pleads for the most restrictive measures and restrictions to cope with the explosion in Covid-19 cases caused by the appearance of the Omicron variant.

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In Spain, the incidence was 784 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in fourteen days Wednesday evening, a figure about four times higher than that of 1is December. This new wave remains less serious than the previous ones, however, since 15.7% of intensive care units are occupied by patients sick with Covid-19, against 30% in mid-January, according to figures from the Ministry of health.

  • In Greece, wearing a mask is compulsory inside and outside

The mask is mandatory indoors and outdoors in Greece for the duration of the holiday season here in Athens on December 23, 2021.

Greece, for its part, announced that wearing a mask would be compulsory, inside and out, during the end of the year celebrations. “There is a lot of movement during the holidays, and large crowds gather outside”Health Minister Thanos Plevris told reporters. He specified that wearing a mask would be compulsory “From 5 am Friday”, and until at least January 2.

All public Christmas and New Years festivities are also canceled, and travelers entering the country are urged to be tested on the second and fourth day after arrival, the minister added. He also indicated that additional restrictions on entertainment, sports and telecommuting would be announced in the coming days for the period following January 3.

The Covid-19 has killed more than 20,000 people in Greece, and more than 600 infected people are currently in intensive care. The government has not followed up on calls from health experts to take additional protective measures and impose movement restrictions, even among those vaccinated.

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  • Scotland is closing its nightclubs

Scots wait to be tested for Covid-19 on December 20 in Edinburgh.

Following the European movement, the Scottish government ordered Thursday the closure of its nightclubs on Monday. This measure, which will apply to around 150 nightclubs – which may however remain open for table service – will be reviewed after three weeks, the government said in a statement. The latter had already announced restrictions on gatherings from next week and canceled the New Year’s festivities.

Faced with a spectacular resurgence of Covid-19 cases, the United Kingdom – which already has more than 147,000 dead – on Wednesday for the first time since the start of the pandemic exceeded the threshold of 100,000 cases identified in twenty-four time. The number of hospitalizations begins to increase, especially in London.

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Each nation in the country is responsible for health matters. So far, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have announced tougher restrictions. For England, Boris Johnson’s government is temporizing, relying in particular on two studies, published Wednesday, showing that the risk of hospitalization due to the Omicron variant is lower than with the Delta variant.

  • AstraZeneca Says Booster Dose Of Vaccine Shows Encouraging Results Against Omicron

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said on Thursday that a third dose of its Covid-19 vaccine would increase “Significantly” the level of antibodies against the Omicron variant. “Omicron neutralizing antibody levels after a third dose of [son vaccin] Vaxzevria were broadly similar to the levels achieved after two doses against the Delta variant ”, details the Anglo-Swedish giant in a press release.

“The levels seen after a third dose were higher than the antibodies found in individuals who had previously been infected and recovered naturally.” other variants of Covid-19, specifies AstraZeneca. The third dose study was conducted ” independently “ by researchers at the University of Oxford, with whom AstraZeneca designed its vaccine.

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Vaxzevria was not selected for booster doses in the United Kingdom, although it had been the main vaccine used in the country, along with that of Pfizer-BioNTech, for the first two doses. Pfizer, along with Moderna, also recently announced that a booster of their vaccine markedly increases protection against the virus. However, data is lacking to know how long this protection lasts.

The World with AFP