Europe closes for Covid: restrictions from London to Berlin for the holidays.
Half of Europe will stop on Wednesday, 16 December, with restrictions ready to continue throughout the Christmas vacation period. From London to Berlin, bars and stores will be closed to keep infection under control.
London returns to near lockdown as contagions are on the rise again, just ten days after the month-long national confinement ended on 2 December. Restaurants, pubs and some stores are closing in the capital.
Restrictions are in place until 23 December, then a five-day easing of restrictions for Christmas. From 23- 27 December, gatherings of up to three families will be allowed in homes, churches or public places, not in restaurants or indoor hotels.
The German parliament and local governments have decided on a lockdown starting 16 December. Retail sales, excluding essential goods, will be halted until 10 January. Restaurants, sports centers, clubs and cultural institutions are also closed. A ban on gatherings, street drinking and fireworks is in effect on New Year's Eve. Celebrations can be made in a maximum of five people. No mulled wine in the street. The celebration of religious masses is possible without singing and with a distance in the church of 1.5 meters between people.
The system of restrictions have been too light thus far. "We know that the health system is already very strained. Urgent action is needed: the goal remains that we return to the possibility of rebuilding contact chains," said Angela Merkel. A maximum of 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days is the goal.
In some cities mass testing has started. Bars and restaurants will remain closed to the public. "I can't tell you for sure that we will reopen bars and restaurants on 20 January. To say so would be to take too great a risk," explained the French Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire. Curfew will be from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., except on Christmas Eve. Museums, theaters and cinemas are closed.
Prime Minister Rutte has announced a lockdown for 5 weeks, until 19 January. Schools will be closed from Wednesday 16 December, and also non- essential activities. Banks and medical services are open.
Bars and restaurants will remain closed and you can only do your own food shopping. Curfew will be relaxed only on Christmas Eve: from midnight until 5am. You will only be able to invite one person home, two if you live alone.
On holidays commercial establishments will be blocked, excluding bars and restaurants. These measures are valid until 22 January 2021. At Christmas and New Year's a curfew from one in the morning will be in place. A maximum of ten people for private gatherings and 50 for religious celebrations. All other public events are banned.
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It is the only country with partial relaxation of restrictions, although the curfew between 1.30am and 6am on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and 31 December remains. At the table, the limit is 10 people. As in Italy there is a ban on travel between regions between 23 December and 6 January.
The rest of the world
New York is preparing for the possibility of total closure. It is already forbidden to eat inside restaurants. New restrictions are coming to Israel. The Ministry of Health is thinking of a sort of passport that would allow those who are vaccinated to be exempt from the restrictions. In South Korea until 3 January, the government has decided to provide free covid- 19 testing in emergency clinics in Seoul and the metropolitan area to track asymptomatic people.
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