Posted on 23/07/2021

#Formalities #France

Some European Countries Are Tightening COVID-19 Restrictions Again

As many European countries are heading into another wave of the pandemic due to the Delta variant, numerous countries are reintroducing COVID measures to try and keep the infection rate at bay. So here's the latest COVID-19 updates in Europe.

As many European countries are heading into another wave of the pandemic due to the Delta variant, numerous countries are reintroducing COVID measures to try and keep the infection rate at bay. So here's the latest COVID-19 updates in Europe.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 has proven to be very infectious - especially amongst the unvaccinated - and has led to an increase in coronavirus cases in Europe. Indeed Spain has entered its fifth wave ov COVID-19. This new wave is threatening the effort put in by countries in an attempt to overcome the virus.

France

To try and control the spread of the Delta variant, France has introduced the health pass, which will be required to enter any cultural or leisure venues with a capacity of 50 people. The health pass will show whether or not the holder has been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative for the virus. From today, August 1, the health pass will also be required for places like bars, cafes, restaurants, shopping centres as well as for domestic flights and long distance trains. The French government has also reinforced border restrictions for unvaccinated travelers and those coming from high risk countries, which includes the UK.

The minister for European affairs, Clément Beaune announced on Twitter that those traveling from the UK who aren't fully vaccinated can only enter the country for essential reasons and must provide a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of travel. Those coming from Spain and Portugal who are unvaccinated or only partially, must also provide a negative COVID-19 test that was taken within 24 hours of departure - it was 72 hours before. They can still travel to France for non-essential reasons as both countries are still on France's green list. - © LiliGraphie / Shutterstock

Spain

In Spain, the virus is quickly spreading, especially amongst young and unvaccinated people, and has led the country to its fifth wave of COVID-19. To try and keep the virus at bay, Catalonia has ordered all businesses and activities to close at 12.30 am and the local government is only allowing social gatherings of ten people. Valencia has also limited social gatherings to ten people and over 30 towns in the region are under a nighttime curfew. Spanish newspaper, El País reports that the Canary Islands could also impose a night curfew, just as tourists have returned to the vacation hotspot.

Greece

Greece has introduced a similar system as France. Only people who are fully vaccinated or have recently tested negative for COVID-19 can enter bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and other closed spaces. This rule was brought in on July 15 and has been applied to the whole nation, including the Greek islands. On the island of Mykonos, the government has banned music in cafes, bars, restaurants and beach clubs and has introduced a nighttime curfew.

Portugal and the Netherlands

Lisbon and Porto in Portugal have also introduced a nighttime curfew as well as limiting restaurants' seating capacity and opening hours in a bid to control the new spike of cases. In the Netherlands, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said his government had made a mistake in lifting so many measures so soon, as infections soared again. "A judgement error was made. What we thought we could allow, we could actually not," Mr Rutte said in The Hague.

"We are upset about it and we apologise," he told reporters. - © ESB Professional / Shutterstock

In a statement, the government said "the coronavirus infection rate in the Netherlands has increased much faster than expected since society reopened almost completely on June 26. Most infections have occurred in nightlife settings and parties with high numbers of people."

This has led to restaurants and bars to reintroduce assigned social seating and they will have to close from midnight to 6 am; the country's discos and nightclubs are once again closed. The Dutch government has also updated the country's coronavirus entry pass scheme, which will now require holders to have a negative COVID-19 24 hours before entering an event, sporting game or cultural venue.

England

Unlike the rest of Europe, England has lifted all of its COVID-19 restrictions since July 19. This means that masks are no longer required, despite the British Medical Association's (BMA) call for continued face mask use, and the requirement for people to socially distance themselves.

So if you plan to travel to any European country, it is best to regularly check the restrictions of your destination so you know what to expect.