Several European countries have entered the dreaded second corona wave. In the Netherlands, the government is waiting for a while to see whether measures taken earlier are sufficient. How are our neighbours dealing with it? An overview.
Corona chaos in Belgium
“ In Belgium there is actually a bit of corona-chaos,” explains correspondent Bert van Slooten. “That‘s because the board is federal here. Which measures you have to adhere to depends on where you live”.
However, some measures apply to all Belgians. “Theatres, gyms and restaurants are close and everyone should – wherever possible – work at home. You also have to keep a distance of 1.5 meters and, if that is not possible, put on a mouthcap”, says Van Slooten. Contact is limited. “You can invite a maximum of four people to your home and, as a Belgian, you can also have a so-called ‘cuddly contact‘.”
But there are also measures which differ from region to region. “Take, for example, curfew. A curfew applies nationwide from midnight to 6:00 a.m. But in Wallonia they decided to bring it forward to a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. A few days later they decided to follow the Walloons in Brussels. Until now, the ‘old‘ curfew applies in Flanders. But several Flemish mayors want the rules that apply in the rest of the country to apply also in Flanders.”
‘Lockdown light‘ in France
In France a so-called ‘lockdown light‘ is set in the night of Thursday to Friday. From then on, French people are no longer allowed to enter the street. “If you do, you need to have a special document in your pocket,” says correspondent Frank Renout. Travel through the country is limited. You can only stay in your own region, receiving family at home is prohibited and shops need to close. In addition, the French are called upon to work at home where possible, keep 1 meter away and street street mudcaps are mandatory in many cities.
However, there are more exceptions than in the spring measures. “Schools remain open and some professions are allowed to go to work, for example in factories or farms,” says Renout. Visits to nursing and elderly homes are also allowed.
“ Until now, the French have followed fairly meekly what the French government asked them to do,” says Renout. “Polls show that a large proportion of the French have so far supported the government’s actions”.
Semi-lockdown in Italy
In Italy, all swimming pools, gyms, theatres and cinemas will be closed for the next month. Restaurants and bars must close the doors at 18:00. It is also not recommended to travel between different municipalities. In addition, the duty of dressing still applies, also on the streets.
Correspondent Mustafa Marghadi says that local authorities are allowed to take additional measures. “For example, in the Campania region the schools are closed and in Rome you can be fined if you are seen in the squares of the city after 21:00”
Resistance to the new measures is growing. “Many gym owners are angry because last week the Prime Minister said that they were given seven days to provide additional security measures,” says Marghadi. “Now they suddenly hear that they have to close anyway. So the costs that they have incurred for these extra security measures were not necessary for anything and that bothers them.” Also, catering entrepreneurs are protesting because they are afraid that these measures will result in the financial blow.
In addition to peaceful demonstrations, there have been violent protests in several cities in recent days. “It is remarkable that these riots are partly caused by the Mafia in the south, as in Naples,” says Marghadi. “They also lose a lot of revenue because of these measures.”
State of emergency in Spain
In Spain, a state of emergency is in force. A curfew applies nationwide between 23:00 and 6:00 and meetings must be limited to six people. “Länder can decide whether to start or end the curfew an hour earlier or later,” says correspondent Rop Zoutberg. “The Länder may also take additional measures.”
The state of emergency also gives the Länder the opportunity to lock down regions. That means you can only get in and out with good reason, such as hospital visit or work. “Some Länder have already decided to shut things down and more are likely to follow,” says Zoutberg.
The Spanish Government wants to extend the state of emergency in two weeks‘ time until 9 May next year. This requires the consent of parliament. The Spanish generally adhere well to the rules, says Zoutberg. “There is little protesting here. There are some small protests, but no Italian conditions.”
Strict lockdown in Germany
In Germany, from November 2, additionalmeasures in force. “This means that the hospitality industry, cinemas, theatres and gyms must close,” says correspondent Judith van de Hulsbeek. “Supermarkets and shops may still remain open, but they must follow the hygiene rules and ensure sufficient distance between customers.”
Also, Germans are only allowed to meet with up to two households, both in public and private spaces. Chancellor Merkel’s new package of measures will be in force until at least the end of November. “They call it the breakwater here, a short but heavy lockdown. The idea behind this package is that Christmas can normally be celebrated.”
Many Germans agree with the measures and adhere well to them. However, around 12% of the population consider the measures to be too strict. “But that is a loud minority,” says Van de Hulsbeek. “These are the inhabitants who regularly go out to the streets to protest.”
Slight in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, the various countries define their own policies. “This is different from last spring, when all the countries followed Johnson,” says correspondent Tim de Wit. “Wales has now declared a full lockdown until early November, just like Northern Ireland. In Scotland, they have a five-level roadmap and here in England we have three levels. So a kind of traffic light system.”
Measures vary by region in England. “In practice, the more stringent the measures apply,” explains De Wit. “The North has been hit very hard, where the most severe measures have been announced in almost all regions. Pubs, various shops and businesses and gyms are close and everyone has to work from home.” Those regions are in the third level. “It‘s also called the highest alarm phase, you can compare it to some kind of partial lockdown, but they don’t want to call it that way.”
In London, they are in the second level of action. “You can‘t get together on the floor here anymore. Pubs and restaurants are still open, but there too you are not allowed to meet with other households.” Furthermore, the English are called upon to keep their distance and a mouth cap duty applies.
The misfit Sweden
In Sweden, there are fewer measures than in other European countries. Since the beginning of the coronacrisis, the country has opted for a relatively flexible approach. At present, there is a maximum of 300 people at meetings, which must be kept a metre away. Nightclubs with more than 50 people must close as of 1 November. But, for example, the country does not have a cap obligation and there is no earlier closing times for shops.
However, for the first time there is a local tightening in the city of Uppsala. “There everyone is now called on to stay home as much as possible,” says correspondent Rolien Créton. In the southern Swedish city of Malmö, many autumn holiday activities in museums, for example, have been cancelled due to the increasing number of infections. Residents are called upon to avoid public transport and public places.
More measures are being taken in Denmark and Norway. For example, in these countries there is a mudcap obligation in some places and the maximum numbers at group meetings are more limited. In general, the inhabitants of Scandinavia adhere well to the measures. There’s little protest. Créton: “People here have a lot of faith in the government.”