More restrictions and mass testing in Europe
Vienna aims at mass testing after hard lockdown. In Berlin and Paris the restrictions will last for months
Mass testing and restrictions that will last for months, are projected plans of European governments to counter the covid-19 pandemic. Following the example of what happened in Slovakia, Austria is planning extensive screening at the end of the second lockdown, which will come into effect next week. The announcement came from Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who spoke of the intention to take "a similar step" to what happened in Slovakia, where two weeks ago two- thirds of the population were tested, with just over 1% positive results.
From Tuesday, the country will return to March’s restrictions with a total lockdown: 24 hour curfew, schools and stores closed, in an attempt to keep under control a contagion curve described as exponential in different regions. The lockdown will remain in force until 6 December.
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Then the sweep of tests should arrive, "to ensure the reopening of schools and the Christmas holidays," explained Kurz. And if, for now, Vienna is the only one to have surrendered to the most drastic option, a hard lockdown along the lines of the spring one, other European governments are not hiding the fact that restrictions to deal with the covid-19 pandemic could go on for much longer.
"Four or five months of severe measures in Germany”
The Germans should prepare for another "four or five months of strict measures" to stop the increase in infections, and should not expect the current rules to be loosened quickly, warned Berlin's Minister of Economy Peter Altmaier from the columns of the Bild am Sonntag. These are words that come on the eve of a government meeting to assess the progress of the restrictions taken at the beginning of the month, for a range of activities, from catering to leisure, sports and culture.
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Even in France in recent days, Prime Minister Jean Castex warned that the country would have to "live with the virus for a long time" and that the government in Paris is working on "rules" to keep the situation safe until the arrival of a vaccine.
Schools closed in Greece, 80% of Portuguese under curfew
And also elsewhere, in Europe, the idea of loosening restrictions has been excluded. On the contrary, new ones are being introduced. In Portugal, next week, 80% of the population will be subject to a curfew. Greece has also decided to close its elementary schools and kindergartens. Romania, the Balkan country most affected by the epidemic and which for days has been hovering around 10,000 new covid-19 infections every day, had to deal with a tragedy within a tragedy on Saturday night: a fire broke out in an intensive care unit of a hospital in the city of Piatra Neamt, in the northeast of the country, and killed ten patients with covid-19.
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