: Europeans Reimpose Restrictions as Omicron Sweeps Continent #WorldNEWS LONDON — Nations across Europe are moving to reimpose tougher measures to stem a new wave of COVID-19 infections spurred
Europeans Reimpose Restrictions as Omicron Sweeps Continent #WorldNEWS
LONDON — Nations across Europe are moving to reimpose tougher measures to stem a new wave of COVID-19 infections spurred by the highly transmissible omicron variant, triggering calls for protests from Paris to Barcelona.
As case numbers escalated, alarmed ministers in France, Cyprus and Austria tightened travel restrictions. Paris canceled its New Years Eve fireworks. Denmark closed theaters, concert halls, amusement parks and museums. Ireland imposed an 8 p. m. curfew on pubs and bars and limited attendance at indoor and outdoor events.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan underscored the official concern about the climbing cases and their potential to overwhelm the health care system by declaring a major incident Saturday, a move that allows local councils in Britains capital to coordinate work more closely with emergency services.
Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin captured the sense of the continent in an address to the nation, saying the new restrictions were needed to protect lives and livelihoods from the resurgent virus.
“None of this is easy,” Martin said Friday night. “We are all exhausted with COVID and the restrictions it requires. The twists and turns, the disappointments and the frustrations take a heavy toll on everyone. But it is the reality that we are dealing with. ”
The World Health Organization reported Saturday that the omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in 89 countries, and COVID-19 cases involving the variant are doubling every 1. 5 to 3 days in places with community transmission and not just infections acquired abroad.
Major questions about omicron remain unanswered, including how effective existing COVID-19 vaccines are against it and whether the variant produces severe illness in many infected individuals, WHO noted.
Yet omicron’s “substantial growth advantage” over the delta variant means it is likely to soon overtake delta as the dominant form of the virus in countries where the new variant is spreading locally, the U. N. health agency said.
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Government ministers in the Netherlands met Saturday to discuss advice from a panel of experts that recommended expanding an existing partial lockdown, which officials said had led to a recent decline in infections.
Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge didnt say what measures the government might impose as he headed into the meeting. “There are very serious concerns,” he told reporters in The Hague. ”That’s why we’re meeting on Saturday to see what we need to do. ”
Fearing it could be their last chance to shop before Christmas, shoppers flocked into the shopping areas of Dutch cities.
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