(DailyExpertNews) — Omicron continues to spread across Europe at an alarming rate and governments are once again being forced to make tough decisions to contain the highly contagious strain.
As more and more restrictions are put in place, traveling to and around Europe is becoming increasingly difficult for tourists, particularly those from the UK, where cases have soared.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the move “inevitable” due to the rise in infections across the country.
“The Netherlands will close again. That is inevitable because of the fifth wave that is approaching us with the Omicron variant,” Rutte said during a press conference over the weekend.
The decision came just days after Germany announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travelers arriving from the UK from December 20.
“As the Omicron variant is spreading extremely quickly in the United Kingdom, the French government has decided to reintroduce compelling reasons for travel to and from the United Kingdom and to strengthen mandatory tests on departure and arrival,” the French said. Prime Minister Jean Castex. in a statement last week.
On Saturday, more than 90,000 cases of Covid-19 were reported in the UK for the second day in a row, including more than 10,000 cases of Omicron.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a major incident in the capital on the same day because of the “massive rise” in the number of cases and an increase in hospital admissions.
Clap for VK
While government officials have stepped up a campaign to ensure that all fully vaccinated adults receive a booster vaccination before the end of December, the new restrictions imposed by France and Germany will undoubtedly deal a major blow to the destination, with fears that other European countries will follow suit.
Meanwhile, both Greece and Italy have introduced restrictions requiring all visitors, including those from the EU, to present a negative Covid-19 test before entering.
While an antigen test done no more than 24 hours before departure is allowed to enter Italy, travelers visiting Greece must present a negative PCR test taken within the past 48 hours.
Until recently, fully vaccinated travelers coming from Schengen countries could enter without having to take a Covid-19 test.
Denmark and Norway have also opted to introduce new Covid-19 restrictions in recent days due to rising infection rates, while all British travelers over 12 years old visiting Cyprus are now required to have a PCR test at the airport on arrival. undergo and quarantine until they receive a negative result.
In Denmark, public places such as cinemas and concert halls have been closed, as well as the popular Tivoli Gardens amusement park, while government officials have chosen to close gyms and swimming pools in Norway and ban the serving of alcohol in bars and restaurants.
At a conference earlier this month, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre noted that the country must “act quickly and we must act again” to contain the spread of the Omicron variant.
“For many, this will feel like a closure, if not to society then to their lives and livelihoods,” he added.
In Sweden, the vaccine passport exemption will be removed from December 21 for visitors from other Scandinavian countries Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, meaning those arriving from these destinations will be required to present proof of vaccination upon entry.
Swedish Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren has also advised anyone traveling to the country to take a Covid-19 test beforehand due to the “deteriorating” situation.
“The spread of infection is on the rise. The new virus variant omicron makes it difficult to predict the spread of infection in the future,” Hallengren said at a news conference last week, before telling residents to “be prepared to change their Christmas plans.” to cancel”. if they show Covid-19 symptoms and to “choose a smaller party” for any New Year’s Eve celebrations.
In Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called an emergency meeting on Wednesday to “evaluate new measures that could be introduced in the coming weeks”.
Bars and restaurants are required to close at 8pm in Ireland, where as of December 20, more than half of new Covid-19 infections are Omicron cases.
Since it first surfaced in late November, Omicron has been detected in 89 countries, with coronavirus cases involving the variant doubling every 1.5 to three days, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).