COVID SITUATION IN EUROPE

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Italy to become red zone from Dec. 24, media say
The Italian government is planning further CoV restrictions for the Christmas holidays. For example, the whole of Italy is to be declared a red zone on holidays and weekends from December 24 to January 6. This will mean that stores and restaurants will remain closed and freedom of travel will be severely restricted. The Council of Ministers will adopt a decree to this effect this evening, Italian media reported.

On the other days, Italy will be classified as an orange zone until January 6. In the orange zones, people are allowed to leave their homes, but it is forbidden to travel to other places or regions. Exceptions apply, for example, for the way to work. The plan is to close the premises for the entire week.

The Italian government had already issued a decree at the beginning of December that, among other things, provides for strict travel restrictions from December 21 to January 6. It is expected that three million Italians will travel this coming weekend to celebrate with relatives in other regions before strict travel restrictions take effect.

Sweden imposes strict measures
Sweden is implementing the strictest measures yet in the pandemic. These include a recommendation to wear a mask on public transportation and closures in public services.

“We cannot return to normal everyday life,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said today. “A pandemic is a matter of life or death.” The imposition of a lockdown, on the other hand, will be waived.
Switzerland tightens measures further
Switzerland is tightening measures again as CoV infection numbers continue to rise. Starting Tuesday, restaurants, cinemas, museums and sports clubs will have to close, but stores and ski resorts will be allowed to stay open despite criticism from abroad. This was decided by the government today.

If the situation does not improve, there will be even stricter rules next year, President Simonetta Sommaruga said. The cantons could close ski resorts. The canton of Valais, where Zermatt and Saas Fee, for example, are located, has already issued a permit to operate almost all lifts and mountain railroads.

Swiss government reluctant for a long time
The infection figures in Switzerland – in relation to the number of inhabitants – are among the highest in Europe. Nevertheless, the federal government and cantons have been cautious so far. Just last week, public events were banned, and a 7 p.m. closing time for restaurants was introduced – though there were exceptions to this.

Doctors and scientists have been sounding the alarm for weeks that the measures are too lax. Hospitals say they are operating at capacity. The Federal Office of Public Health recently reported nearly 4,500 new infections. Over 14 days, that corresponded to 664 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Slovakian prime minister infected
Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic has tested positive for coronavirus. He announced this today via Facebook. Even before his confirmation, the speaker of parliament and several members of the government had announced their immediate quarantine because they had been in contact with the head of government.

Matovic had chaired a government meeting on Wednesday and answered journalists’ questions afterward. TV images clearly showed that he did not keep his distance from either individual government members or the journalists crowding closely around him afterward. However, all those present wore the mandatory mouth-nose protection.

Macron also infected
Yesterday evening, he met again with the heads of two coalition parties, vice-government leader Veronika Remisova of the conservative For the People party and Parliament Speaker Boris Kollar of the right-wing populist We Are One Family. Both announced their immediate voluntary quarantine before Matovic himself spoke.

hp, source: orf.at, picture: pixabay.com

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