As the epidemiological situation worsens, countries are establishing measures to limit the freedom of movement of their citizens. These are the measures taken in France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and Italy:
Confinement measures in EU countries
EU Digital COVID Certificate enters into application in the EU
The aim of the EU Digital COVID Certificate is to facilitate safe and free movement in the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic. All Europeans have the right to free movement, also without the certificate, but the certificate will facilitate travel, helping to exempt holders from restrictions such as quarantine.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate will be accessible for everyone and it:
- covers COVID-19 vaccination, test and recovery;
- is free of charge and available in all EU languages;
- is available in a digital and paper-based format;
- is secure and include a digitally signed QR code;
- Under the new rules, Member States must refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on holders of an EU Digital COVID Certificate, unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health.
In addition, the Commission committed to mobilising €100 million under the Emergency Support Instrument to support Member States in providing affordable tests.
(last updated 26/11/2021)
Given the evolution of the pandemic in Portugal, the Government decided, after hearing experts and parties, to define a set of preventive measures aimed at containing the growth of the pandemic in the coming weeks.
Despite the fact that Portugal is one of the countries with the highest vaccination rate in the world, and that the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths reflect precisely the effect of vaccination, the country must prepare for a pandemic growth phase in the coming weeks. The arrival of winter, the wave that is spreading with intensity in several European countries, and the approach of a festive season have led the government to act to prevent the number of Covid-19 infections, which has been growing in recent weeks, from increasing substantially.
Thus, as of December 1, a State of Calamity will be declared for the entire continental national territory and the following measures will be adopted:
- Teleworking, whenever the functions allow it.
- Mandatory use of mask in all enclosed spaces and in all enclosures not excepted by the DGS;
Presentation of the digital certificate will be mandatory in access to:
- Tourist establishments and local accommodation;
- Events with marked seats;
Requirement for mandatory negative test (even for vaccinated persons) in access to:
- Visits to nursing homes;
- Visits to patients hospitalized in health care facilities;
- Large events without marked seats (or in improvised venues) and sports venues;
- Discotheques and bars.
- Mandatory negative test for all flights arriving in Portugal;
- Strongly aggravated sanctions for airlines.
Specific rules will be adopted for the week of January 2 to 9, which will be to contain existing contacts during the festive season:
- Mandatory telework, whenever the duties allow it.
- Classes will resume on January 10.
- Nightclubs and bars will be closed.
(last updated 25/11/2021)
However, he has qualified the reflection of this incidence in the level of hospitalization does not resemble that of previous waves, with a lower overload of the care system in general, with a rate of 2.4% of hospitalizations and 5.97% in the case of ICUs.
Additional doses for people between 60 and 69 years of age
On the other hand, the Minister of Health has valued the inclusion, approved by the Public Health Commission, of people between 60 and 69 years of age and of healthcare and socio-healthcare personnel among the groups to whom an additional dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 will be administered.
“It seems to us a very important step, to protect these people individually, but also collectively, because by protecting health workers we are not only protecting them, but we are also protecting the collective environment where they work”, Darias defended.
At this point, she acknowledged the “great effort” being made by the autonomous communities in promoting vaccination with booster doses, which currently exceeds 50% of people over 70 years of age with this additional dose.
(last updated 19/11/2021)
As of Monday, 11/22/2021, a general lockdown will come into effect for the whole of Austria. It is expected to last for 20 days (i.e. up to and including December 12). For unvaccinated persons, restrictions will continue to apply after the general containment. During general confinement, restrictions on leaving the home will apply from 00:00 to 24:00 hours. The only time to leave the house is for certain essential activities (e.g. work, studies, medical appointments, legal or bureaucratic procedures that cannot be postponed, purchase of basic supplies). The hotel and catering industry, the cultural and events sector and stores (except for basic necessities) will be closed throughout Austria.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg on new restrictions: We have to face reality
Compulsory vaccination from Feb. 1, 2022 and Austria-wide lockdown from Nov. 22 resolved
“In recent weeks, I have repeatedly emphasized: our common goal must be to get the unvaccinated to vaccinate instead of restricting the vaccinated. Despite months of persuasion, despite intensive campaigns, including in the media, we have not succeeded in convincing enough people to get vaccinated,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg noted at a press conference he held in Pertisau, Tyrol, together with Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein, Tyrolean Governor Günther Platter and Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig.
He said that the measures taken together at the federal government level in recent weeks, especially 2G and lockdown for the unvaccinated, had increased vaccination readiness, but not to a sufficient degree. For a long time, he said, the political consensus in Austria was not to introduce mandatory vaccination. “For a long time, perhaps too long, I and others assumed that it must be possible to convince people in Austria to get vaccinated voluntarily, for their own protection and for the protection of their fellow human beings. But we have to face reality,” the chancellor said.
Unfortunately, he said, there were too many political forces that would massively and publicly fight against the measures taken, “that is irresponsible, that is an attack on our health care system.” In addition, he said, people were being incited by radical opponents of vaccination or were being dissuaded from getting vaccinated by specious fake news.
According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 561,400 persons are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Germany. Since the beginning of the pandemic and to date (data as of November 19), a total of 5,248,291 persons have been infected with the coronavirus. According to the RKI, a total of 58,507,255 persons have been vaccinated (data as of 19 November).
The federal and state governments agreed on new measures to contain the Corona pandemic. The Acting Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with the Minister Presidents of the Länder on a series of new regulations to slow down the sharp rise in the number of infections. Merkel described the situation in Germany as “worrying”. The federal and state governments agreed on the following countermeasures, among others:
According to the will of the federal states, it should be possible to oblige employees with contact to particularly endangered persons, among others in hospitals and nursing homes, to be vaccinated against Corona. The federal states ask the federal government to implement this. They considered it necessary that, depending on the institution, all employees in hospitals as well as in old people’s and nursing homes and in mobile care services “be obliged to be vaccinated against the corona virus in case of contact with vulnerable persons”, the resolution states.
In addition, stricter uniform corona measures are to take effect if certain exposure thresholds are exceeded in the clinics. The conference agreed on three levels, each with further restrictions. The hospitalisation rate reported for the respective federal state is to be the benchmark. This can mean, among other things, that only vaccinated or recovered persons have access to facilities or events. In the event of a particularly high incidence of infection, more extensive measures should also be possible.
In the workplace, the rule should be that only vaccinated, recovered and negatively tested persons have access. This rule should also apply in local public transport and on regional and long-distance trains.
The federal and state governments also call on all people who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated. Vaccination services are to be expanded. Six months after their second vaccination, everyone who has been vaccinated should be offered a booster vaccination.
+++ Thursday, 18.11.2021 +++
Booster vaccinations not only for people at particular risk, but for everyone over 18 – this is now also recommended by the Standing Commission on Vaccination. The third vaccination should usually be given six months after the second vaccination.
The Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) has updated and expanded its recommendation for the booster of the Corona vaccination. Now it recommends the so-called booster vaccination not only for people at risk, but generally for all people over the age of 18.
Already on 5 November, the federal and state health ministers had agreed to offer the third vaccination to all who want it.
(last updated 19/11/2021)
Locations open under certain conditions
All indoor and outdoor locations accessible to the public may remain open, however with certain restrictions. The basic rules against the spread of the coronavirus apply everywhere in the Netherlands. Managers of each location must take hygiene precautions. For example, providing patrons with disinfectant hand gel and handwashing facilities.
- All food and drink venues may open between 06.00 and 20.00. Assigned seating seat is required. Take-away is still possible.
- Essential shops (for example, supermarkets or pet shops), shops selling healthcare equipment and business-to-business wholesalers may remain open until 20.00.
- Non-essential shops may open from 06.00 to 18.00.
- Contact professions, except for paramedical contact professions, may open from 06.00 to 18.00.
- Recreational activities, such as amusement parks and zoos, casinos, arcades and bowling alleys, saunas, wellness and tanning salons may open from 06.00 to 18.00.
- Recreational transport, such as tour boats, balloon trips and touring cars, may operate from 06.00 to 18.00.
- Room hire is possible from 06.00 to 18.00.
- Events can take place from 06.00 to 18.00. Professional sports matches without spectators and funerals may take place in the evening. Assigned seating is required for events with no continuous flow of visitors. For events there is a maximum number of 1 250 visitors per room.
- Regular art and culture exhibitions and activities can also take place in the evening. For example, this means that there are no restricted opening hours for cinemas, theatres and concert halls.
Coronavirus entry pass for food and drink venues, events and other activities
You need to show your valid coronavirus entry pass when visiting:
- Venues serving food and drinks. Both inside and at outside terraces. This also applies, for example, venues serving food and drinks in department stores, hotels or sports canteens. Both indoors and for outdoor terraces of these venues. From the age of 18, you also need a coronavirus entry pass for sports canteens and their outdoor terraces.
- The food and drink facilities of a location may be combined with an activity for which a coronavirus entry pass is not required. If this activity takes place in a separate area, no coronavirus entry pass is required.
- Locations with a continuous flow of visitors in sectors where the coronavirus entry pass is already mandatory. These are therefore locations where there is a continuous flow of visitors, such as museums and monuments.
- Events with a continuous flow of visitors. These are events where the public does not have a fixed location and where there is a continuous flow of people. For example, fairs.
- Assigned seat events, such as festivals and venues where celebrations, performances, shows and screenings take place.
- For multi-day events with overnight stay, the coronavirus entry passes must be checked every 24 hours.
- Business events, such as fairs and congresses.
- Indoor sports locations for patrons from the age of 18, such as: gyms, sports halls and swimming pools. This applies to lessons, training, recreational sports and competitions. This applies to patrons in all indoor sports locations, including sports canteens, changing rooms and other indoor facilities in the entire sports location.
- Cultural venues, such as theatres, concert halls and cinemas.
- Art and culture sessions for attendees from the age of 18, such as: music lessons and painting lessons. Or for example rehearsals for singing, dancing and theatre groups.
During his address on November 9, 2021, President Emmanuel Macron called on French people who have not yet been vaccinated to do so and made several announcements regarding the health situation:
as of December 15, people over 65 years old and people who have been vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine will have to have their booster shot in order for their health pass to remain valid;
the booster campaign will be extended in early December to French people aged 50 to 64;
the wearing of a mask is once again mandatory in elementary schools throughout France since Monday, November 15.
Since Monday, November 15, all departments are at level 2/yellow of the health protocol, with the wearing of masks again mandatory for all elementary school students.
The “health pass” is mandatory in all departments for access to certain places, establishments or events, indoors or outdoors, without any notion of capacity, such as cinemas, museums, cafés, restaurants, hospitals, retirement homes, medico-social establishments (except in case of emergency);
As of December 15, people over 65 years of age and people who have been vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine will need to have their booster shot in order to keep their health pass valid.
Slovakia will be in a state of emergency for 90 days starting Thursday, November 25. A curfew has also been approved.
The curfew will be in effect from Thursday, with the exception of 1.00 to 5.00. The government also approved a number of exceptions to the curfew. For example, the purchase of basic necessities at the nearest store (food, medicines, drugstore, footwear, animal feed, fuel, newspapers), essential services (over-the-counter sales in catering establishments, banks, insurance companies, car repair and MOT shops, dry cleaners, electronic store dispensaries, key service, opticians, cell phone service, spas for health reasons). Also, travel to and from work with a receipt from the employer. However, the Slovak government strongly recommends teleworking.
Travel to and from vaccinations and COVID-19 tests or trips to kindergartens and schools also constitute exceptions to the curfew. In this case, an escort is allowed.
The last time a state of emergency was declared in Slovakia was last year, from October 1 to May 14 this year.
Transition to normality in three phases after the end of the state of alarm.
In each phase the opening hours of stores and hotels will be extended and the capacity will be increased, according to the four new alert levels that are established.
The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, has reported that, with the tools available to his government and following the advice of experts, the autonomous community will begin on May 9 a process of transition to normality after the end of the state of alarm. “A kind of final stretch in the fight against the pandemic after fourteen tremendously hard months,” he said.
This de-escalation, linked to the level of vaccination in Andalusia, will be divided into three phases: stabilization, from May 9; progress, from June 1, and normalization, on June 21. By this date, “if the forecasts for the delivery of vaccines are met”, the Andalusian Government expects that 70% of the population will have at least one dose administered and around 40% will be fully immunized.
In each phase, the opening hours of stores and hotels and restaurants will be gradually extended. Likewise, the capacity of stores, bars, restaurants, transport and public shows will depend on the level of alert -from 1 to 4 – declared in each municipality.
Thus, this Sunday, that with the end of the state of alarm disappears both the curfew and the perimeter closure of the community, and, in addition, it is no longer possible to regulate the number of people who gather in homes, will begin the stabilization phase, which includes the following measures:
- Opening of the catering trade until 00.00 hours.
- Tables in catering: maximum capacity of 8 people inside and 10 outside, depending on the alert level of each municipality.
- In celebrations the same, with a maximum capacity of 300 people inside and 500 outside.
- Bars with music and discotheques will be allowed to open until 2.00 a.m., with the same conditions of capacity and tables as restaurants.
- Dance floors will only be allowed in municipalities with alert level 1, always outdoors and masks will be mandatory.
- In shows, cinemas, theaters, sporting events and bullrings, in alert levels 1 and 2, it will be necessary to leave a free seat between groups of spectators. In the rest of the levels, it will be necessary to respect the meter and a half of separation.
- In beaches and swimming pools there are no time limits. It will be necessary a specific protection plan against Covid-19, as in 2020, and the maintenance of a distance of one and a half meters between groups.
Thus, on June 1, if the pandemic conditions permit, the “advance phase” will be activated, with fewer restrictions on hours and capacity.
As for mobility, only those municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants with a 14-day accumulated incidence of more than 1,000 contagions per 100,000 inhabitants will remain closed perimetrically. In these municipalities, only essential commercial activity will be allowed. In those with less than 5,000 inhabitants, a specific risk assessment will be made. “As there is no state of alarm, these closures of municipalities will come into force, but they will have to be ratified by Justice”, he clarified.
From the South, we send a hug of affection and solidarity to all the countries of the European Union
Thanks to the successful vaccination campaign, an increasingly lower proportion of cases now result in hospitalisation. Nevertheless, the virus circulation must be stopped in order to reduce the risk of new variants.
The Consultative Committee has decided to keep the existing Summer Plan, but has made a few changes because the more contagious Delta variant is now also dominant in our country.
1. The importance of face masks, social distancing and ventilation
The Consultative Committee has confirmed the importance of wearing a face mask, keeping a safe distance and providing sufficient ventilation indoors. With the exception of children under the age of 12, wearing a face mask remains mandatory in the following circumstances:
- when it is impossible to ensure compliance with social distancing rules according to the provisions of the Ministerial Order;
- in shops and shopping centres;
- in publicly accessible areas of companies, public administrations or associations and of the cultural, festive, sports, recreational and event sectors;
- in conference rooms;
- in auditoriums;
- in places of worship and buildings intended for the public practice of non-denominational moral services;
- in libraries, game and multimedia libraries;
- in private or public crowded places, such as shopping streets, markets, bric-a-brac markets, year markets and funfairs, as determined by the competent local authority;
- on public transport and in stations;
- in establishments and places where catering activities are permitted, both for customers and staff, unless whilst eating, drinking or sitting at a table;
- when moving around in public and non-public parts of courthouses and courtrooms and, in other cases, in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Chairman;
- during trade fairs including exhibitions;
- during demonstrations.
Face masks may be removed occasionally whilst eating and drinking, and when it is impossible to wear one due to the nature of the activity.
At events, cultural and other performances, sports competitions and training sessions and conferences held outdoors where the public is required to remain seated, face masks may only be removed for as long as the person remains seated.
- The applicable travel rules remain in force.
- There will be a stricter procedure for countries in the European Union or Schengen Area where dangerous virus variants are circulating, regardless of which colour code applies to the country.
When returning from a European high-risk zone, people who have not yet been fully vaccinated should, in addition to a PCR test on day 1 (including quarantine), also take a PCR test on day 7. The test on day 1 is not needed if the person in question has already had a PCR test during the 72 hours prior to arrival on Belgian territory.
If the PCR test result is positive, the person will be required to self-isolate for 10 consecutive days.
- There will be tighter checks on filling in the Passenger Locator Form and on being in possession of an EU Digital COVID Certificate.
- The Consultative Committee recommends that organisers of youth camps make every effort to ensure supervisors and participating young people are tested before departure in order to prevent infected people from attending.
The Covid Safe Ticket can be used for events with 1,500 people or more and is available for people who are fully vaccinated (i.e. two weeks after the final dose), have a recovery certificate or a recent negative test result.
From 13 August, the Covid Safe Ticket will only apply to outdoor events for 1,500 people or more. From 1 September, indoor events will also be eligible. When using the Covid Safe Ticket, rules concerning face masks, social distancing and CIRM/CERM restrictions are no longer applicable. However, there must be a plan for crowd control management, sanitary precautions must be followed and adequate ventilation (with an indoor CO2 meter) must be provided.
4. Vaccination rates among healthcare providers
The Consultative Committee has confirmed the proposals of the Interministerial Conference on Public Health and has invited the Ministers of Health to:
- update and complete the summary of vaccination coverage;
- strengthen consultation with professional groups to further sensitise healthcare providers;
- give healthcare providers who have not yet been vaccinated another opportunity to get vaccinated;
- take the necessary initiatives, in consultation with healthcare institutions and occupational health services, to achieve public reporting of vaccination coverage per institution as soon as possible.
Extension until December 31, 2021 of the state of national emergency, modification of the parameters that define the levels of risk and allow the change of “color” to the Regions and Autonomous Provinces, extended the use of the Covid-19 Green Certification to various activities. This is when the Decree Law of July 22, 2021, whose measures were illustrated on July 22 at a press conference at Palazzo Chigi by the President of the Council of Ministers Mario Draghi and the Ministry of Health Roberto Speranza.
Covid-19 green certification
It will be possible to carry out certain activities only if you are in possession of a green certification Covid-19 (green pass) attesting to have done at least one dose of vaccine or to be negative to a molecular or rapid swab in the last 48 hours or to be healed from COVID-19 in the previous six months, even in the white zone:
- food services conducted by any establishment for indoor table consumption
- shows open to the public, sporting events and competitions
- museums, other cultural institutions and places and exhibitions
- swimming pools, swimming centers, gyms, team sports, wellness centers, even within accommodation facilities, limited to indoor activities
- festivals and fairs, conventions and congresses
- spas, theme parks and amusement parks
- cultural centers, social and recreational centers, limited to indoor activities and with the exclusion of educational centers for children, summer centers and related catering activities
- gambling halls, betting halls, bingo halls and casinos
- public competitions.
The green certification COVID-19 is not required for children excluded by age from the vaccination campaign (up to 12 years) and those exempt on the basis of appropriate medical certification, for which will be created a dedicated digital certification. Until this is available, those issued in paper format can be used.
Zones and risk levels
The incidence of infection remains in force but will no longer be the guiding criterion for the choice of colors (white, yellow, orange, red) of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces. From August 1 the two main parameters will be:
- the occupancy rate of beds in the medical area for patients with Covid-19,
- the rate of occupancy of intensive care beds for patients affected by Covid-19.
Measures for the conduct of cultural performances
In the white zone and in the yellow zone, performances open to the public in theaters, concert halls, movie theaters, entertainment and live music venues and other premises or spaces, including outdoor venues, are conducted exclusively with pre-assigned seating and provided that interpersonal distance of at least one meter is ensured for both spectators who are not usually cohabitating and for staff, and access is allowed only to individuals with one of the green Covid-19 certifications.
In the white zone, the permitted capacity may not exceed 50 percent of the maximum authorized outdoor capacity and 25 percent indoors in the case of events with a number of spectators exceeding 5,000 outdoors and 2,500 indoors, respectively.
In the yellow zone, the allowed capacity cannot exceed 50 percent of the maximum authorized capacity and the maximum number of spectators cannot, in any case, exceed 2,500 for outdoor shows and 1,000 for indoor shows, for each individual hall. Activities must take place in accordance with adopted guidelines.
Measures for sports events
In addition, the following provisions apply to public participation in competitive events and competitions recognized as being of pre-eminent national interest by the Italian National Olympic Committee and the Italian Paralympic Committee, regarding individual and team sports, organized by the respective national sports federations, associated sports disciplines, sports promotion bodies or international sports bodies, and to sports events and competitions other than those mentioned above:
In the white zone, the permitted capacity may not exceed 50 percent of the maximum authorized capacity outdoors and 25 percent indoors.
In the yellow zone, the allowed capacity may not exceed 25% of the maximum authorized capacity and, in any case, the maximum number of spectators may not exceed 2,500 for outdoor facilities and 1,000 for indoor facilities. The activities must take place in compliance with the guidelines adopted by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers – Department for Sport, after consultation with the Italian Sports Medicine Federation, on the basis of criteria defined by the Technical-Scientific Committee.
The owners or managers of the services and activities authorized by exhibiting the Green pass are required to verify that access to these services and activities takes place in compliance with the requirements.
In case of violation, a fine ranging from 400 to 1000 euros may be imposed on both the operator and the user. If the violation is repeated three times on three different days, the business may be closed from 1 to 10 days.