Several European countries saw people take to the streets this weekend “as if a cork of champagne had come out”, according to the description of the spokesperson for Covid-19 affairs in Belgium, Yves van Laethem.
The public celebrated the easing of some restrictions imposed in October last year, when the second wave passed well above the first in several countries on the continent, reaching 623 new bi-monthly cases per 100,000 population on average. of the European Union.
Six months later, the rate has fallen to about 340/100 000 per fortnight, and immunization has progressed enough in most countries to reduce the pressure on hospitals and allow somewhat less stringent limits on coexistence.
Tired of months of restrictions, however, part of the population flocked to cities in Spain and Belgium to celebrate the reopening of bars and restaurants or the end of curfews.
As the foaming champagne does not fit in the bottle alone, the police intervened to dissolve the evenings in some places.
In Spain, TV channels showed crowded seats in the early hours from Saturday to Sunday, to commemorate the end of the state of alarm implemented in October last year. In this period of restrictions, the daily rate of new cases has dropped from around 35/100 thousand inhabitants to around 13/100 thousand.
With the end of the state of alert, the power to impose restrictions to avoid contagion (or to withdraw) left the hands of the central government and passed to the regional government, as long as allowed by the courts.
The animation required the work of the Barcelona and Madrid police to enforce the law prohibiting drinking on the streets. Parties in several neighborhoods were dispersed in the early hours of Sunday.
This week, the country has reached around 30% of the population with at least one dose of the vaccine applied, below Germany, but ahead of France and Italy.
In Belgium, which also administered a dose to around 30% of residents, Brussels’ shopping streets and sidewalk bar tables filled up on Saturday afternoon (8), on the first day of relaxed restrictions.
Visiting these establishments had been banned since October, when the rate of new cases exploded in the country, reaching a peak of 154/100 000. This week, it had fallen to 26/100 thousand.
On Waterloo Boulevard, home to designer boutiques like Prada, Hermés and Armani, shoppers lined up for nearly an hour to get back to shopping.
The night was one of the concentrations in the capital and in other cities of Belgium. In Flagey Square, which had already been the scene of prohibited settlements during the first wave of the pandemic, the police dispersed with jets of water around 1,000 people who gathered at a street party. Under current rules, a group can have a maximum of 10 members.
Van Laethem said the Belgian government was already expecting “effusive” meetings, but said built-up areas must be contained if the country is not to endure a new wave of sick people and further restrictions.
In Germany, as of this Sunday, anyone who has already taken two doses of the vaccine or is cured after contracting Covid-19 is now allowed to move almost freely. They can meet at will and do not have to adhere to the curfew.
Among the largest countries in Europe, Germany is one of the most advanced in terms of vaccination, with around 40% of the population having received at least one dose and more than 7 million already fully vaccinated.
Pressure from younger people, who felt excluded by the new easing rule, led Germany to review its vaccination policy, allowing the AstraZeneca immunizer to be applied to adults of all ages, and not just to over 60 years old.
The district of Coesfeld launched on Monday (3) the first model project in the country to return to normal life in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
With a weekly new case count of less than 100 for more than a month, the city has reopened gyms, swimming pools and sports clubs. Theaters and concert halls are also expected to return to the public.
The contagion rate in Germany in the second wave did not increase as much as in other countries: from 23 per day / 100,000 inhabitants in October, it is now at 19/100 thousand.
Several restrictions were lifted last week in Denmark, one of the first countries to launch a ‘green pass’ for all adults vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19 or with a negative coronavirus test taken at least ago 72 hours.
Stores are open, eateries and eateries have returned to serve outdoors, and lounges reopened this month for those who have their pass up to date.
The document also allows you to visit museums, football stadiums, hairdressers and fitness centers.
In Italy, relaxation began at the end of April, and bars and restaurants are already allowed to serve outside. The main concern at the moment is to break down barriers to entry for foreigners, thus allowing the tourism sector to resume.
Last week, the government announced that it wanted to launch a health pass this month for people already vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19, for travelers from countries that have already reached a high level of vaccination, such as the UK (where more than 50% of the population has already taken at least one dose).
Current restrictions on arrivals from residents of the rest of the European Union expire next Saturday (15), and England is expected to allow non-essential travel to its residents from Monday (17).
Italy also wants to allow American citizens to enter from June. The country has seen its daily rate of new cases drop from 50/100 000 to around 20/100 000. However, its vaccination campaign has not yet taken off. By the end of last week, around 27% of the population had taken at least one dose.
France has for the moment withdrawn the rule which only allowed circulation within a maximum radius of 10 km from their home and plans to resume this month the visit of shops, cultural spaces and outdoor spaces of bars and restaurants. , closed to internal customers since October, when the daily contagion rate was 69 cases / 100,000 inhabitants.
This week it has fallen to 38/100 thousand, 37% of the population has already received at least one dose of the vaccine and the government is expected to open the vaccination for all adults before the end of the month.
The curfew imposed in March is expected to be lifted in early June.