From Saturday, Paris and several other cities in France will introduce a curfew between 21 and 06. At the same time, the country has declared a national health crisis that will take effect at the same time as the curfew.
The decision comes after the country is now experiencing a widespread wave of infections.
But France is not alone. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium also see a similar infection situation.
Assistant Director of Health Espen Nakstad believes that the corona wave we are now seeing in Europe may be more prolonged than the one we had this spring.
Great demand in the hospitals
– It is the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and Belgium that have had the strongest increase in infection compared to March, with two to three times as many infected, Nakstad tells Dagbladet.
– Here it is worth noting that the real infection rate is still lower than in March, as testing is higher now, but these countries notice a large influx of Covid-19 patients in hospitals, he continues.
Saturday’s curfew will be introduced in Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Saint Etienne and Toulouse, among others.
The restrictions mean that you can not go out or to a restaurant, but there is no ban on traveling between regions or traveling by public transport, writes Sky News.
The decision does not come without reason.
Several days in the last week, the number of new infections is well over 20,000 and on Thursday the country set a new infection record with 30,621 new cases. 88 new corona deaths were also registered, while 77 new people were admitted to hospital with corona disease.
One third of the country’s intensive care units are now occupied by Covid-19 patients.
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also presented a new plan for local shutdowns in Britain, as the authorities now consider the country to be in a “critical place” in the pandemic.
In the last two weeks, the infection pressure in the country has been 242 infected per 100,000 inhabitants. Friday, the number is 302, according to the European Agency for Disease Control (ECDC).
The local closure rules in the UK will in future depend on whether areas are considered to be in medium danger, high danger or very high danger.
In large parts of England, the danger is now considered to be medium-sized, which among other things means a curfew after kl. 22.
Similar to when the first wave of infections hit the UK, several of the country’s politicians believe that Johnson is reacting too late.
The leader of the Labor Party, Sir Keir Starmer, believes the government is no longer listening to the researchers, and refers to how the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, an advisory body, recommended a closure already three weeks ago.
In Spain, Catalonia has this week decided to close all bars and restaurants for two weeks, writes El Pais.
Also in the Madrid region, albeit reluctantly, new restrictions were introduced last Friday, even after several of the state’s residents have been banned from moving outside their municipalities for several weeks.
On Wednesday, Spain also became the first EU country to register more than 900,000 cases of infection during the pandemic.
Nakstad believes that the restrictions that are now being introduced in several European countries are precisely because the countries want to avoid a similar situation as in March.
– They do not want to be in the same situation, with a critically large influx in the hospitals. They probably feel that they now have to take action to reverse the infection trend, he tells Dagbladet.
Infection rates are also rising in Italy, which on Wednesday registered more than 7,300 cases, according to Sky News.
The number of infected per 100,000 inhabitants has doubled in two weeks and is now 96, figures from ECDC show.
The Italian government has stated that it will avoid a new lockdown in the country, but has not wanted to rule out the possibility of shutting down cities and provinces.
– Will not end well
In Belgium, a curfew has been imposed and bars have been closed for at least a month.
During the last 14 days, as many as 429 cases of infection have been registered per 100,000 inhabitants, and the authorities have warned that the hospitals’ intensive care units may be full by November, if the infection is not reduced.
Germany has also introduced stricter measures in severely corona-affected areas, after the country has set new infection records for several days in a row.
In areas where the number of virus cases exceeds 35 per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, it is now recommended that bandages be ordered in public places, and that nightclubs must close earlier. Mouthpieces have already been mandated on public transport and in shops since April.
At the same time, Merkel warned that if nothing is done now, “it will not end well.”
“We must ask everyone, and especially the young, to manage without a couple of parties now, so that we can have a good life tomorrow or the day after,” Merkel said according to Sky News.
More favorable situation in Norway
Nakstad believes that the wave of infections we are now seeing in Europe may be more prolonged than the one we saw in March.
He explains that the infection does not increase as fast as in March, because most countries have introduced many infection control measures.
At the same time, it is a long way to go to introduce as comprehensive measures as in March, and therefore it takes longer to reduce the wave of infections with less intrusive measures.
He also believes that more countries may introduce new and stricter restrictions if they end up in the same situation as France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium. He also does not rule out that such restrictions will possibly last until we get a vaccine.
– It also includes Eastern Europe, which is now seeing its first wave. They were more gentle this spring, as the population here did not go to the Alps.
In the Czech Republic, schools have now been closed for a period, in the hope of overcoming the infection. The total number of infected in the country has doubled only during October, writes the newspaper Praguemorning.
However, Nakstad believes that Norway has good opportunities to avoid restrictions that are now being introduced in several parts of Europe, if we are careful to comply with the infection control rules.
– In Norway, we now have a much more favorable starting point. We now have lower infection rates than most European countries and still control most outbreaks. This means that we have the opportunity to avoid a similar situation that we see in some of the hardest hit countries in Europe now, says Nakstad.