Von because of holding out until Easter and then everything will be better: In view of the increasing number of corona infections, the nervousness in the Chancellery and among the Prime Ministers is as great as it was shortly before Christmas. Instead of the hoped-for next opening steps, there will be further restrictions on the citizens after the recent crisis summit. Dissatisfaction is growing, many are asking the question: can other countries in Europe deal better with the pandemic?
Austria keeps the shops open
In Germany’s southern neighbor, the seven-day incidence has risen significantly since stores reopened in early February. There are currently 236 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week, more than twice as many as in Germany. There are currently no plans to close the shops. However, further easing, such as the opening of outdoor restaurants, has become questionable again. The schools have been open again for several weeks in shifts and with regular rapid tests. Since the number of Covid patients in hospitals is increasing again, the Easter holidays could possibly be extended. Hotels and restaurants are closed. If you travel abroad, you have to present a negative corona test when you return. A ten-day home quarantine is mandatory, from which you can test yourself after 5 days at the earliest. Almost a million people or 13 percent of the population have already received their first vaccination, 4 percent of the residents have full vaccination protection.
Switzerland even allows skiing holidays
In Switzerland, the seven-day incidence is currently 115, which is above the government’s benchmark for any easing measures. The proportion of positive tests, the number of reproductions and the workload in the intensive care units are also taken into account. Only the latter is currently still in the green area. Overall, Switzerland is less restrictive than its neighboring countries. The restaurants are still closed, but hotels are allowed to cater to their guests. Shops, shopping centers, museums and zoos have reopened since March 1st, although there are capacity restrictions. The ski areas never had to close. If the situation deteriorates drastically, the government wants to tighten the measures again. As soon as all people from risk groups have been vaccinated, less strict guidelines should apply. Currently, 5 percent of the population are fully vaccinated and 3.6 percent are simply vaccinated.
Course swing in France
Since the weekend, all “non-essential” retailers in 16 mainly northern French departments including the Paris area have been closed again. Travel to other regions from there is prohibited. The seven-day incidence nationwide is around 270, although more is tested in France than in Germany. The positive rate of the tests is 7.8 percent, one percentage point higher than in Germany. Many intensive care units are now back to capacity, but the number of deaths is decreasing. The new partial lockdown, however, is less strict than before: A long list of exceptions allows hotels, bookstores, hairdressers and car dealers to continue opening. The evening curfew, which has been in effect for months (with a number of exceptions), has been postponed from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Schools and daycare centers remain open, bars and restaurants are still closed. 5.6 million French people, or 8.4 percent of the population, received at least one dose.
Belgium’s model is shaking
Belgium set itself the target of fewer than 100 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants within two weeks in the autumn. But this was not achieved, nor was the maximum of 75 hospital admissions per day over a period of one week and a maximum of 3 percent positive tests. But the situation seemed stable despite weekly incidences of around 150. If anything, openings were debated. The preschools and primary schools in Belgium were never closed anyway. From the eighth grade onwards there is alternating instruction. The retail trade is open, the catering trade is not. Vacation trips abroad are also banned until April 18th. Holidays are only possible in Belgium, but there is no ban on accommodation there. From 10 p.m. there has been a curfew in Brussels since October. The calculation was that the situation would stabilize with increasing vaccinations. Around 8.5 percent of the population received at least one dose. Because the number of cases has risen drastically recently, Belgium is again talking about tightening. The incidence is again at more than 400 cases within two weeks, 7.5 percent of the tests are positive.