The Times - UK (2020-10-14)

(Antfer) #1

10 1GM Wednesday October 14 2020 | the times


Europe is turning into a patchwork of

rules and regulations as local, regional

and national authorities grapple with

the second wave of the pandemic.

Bar closures and restrictions on

social interactions are high on each

country’s new rules but there are key

differences in implementation. Every-

where, however, the political norms are

being stretched.

Angela Merkel, the German chancel-

lor, is shouting orders above the leaders

of 16 federal states, each trying to pro-

tect their citizens, some by raising bar-

riers against Covid-19 hotspots. In

Spain, Madrid’s officials have accused

the national government of breaking

the law when it imposed a state of emer-

gency on the capital. President Macron

in France is forcing through new rules

in defiance of politicians and citizens.

Amid the confusion, the EU has

agreed a “traffic-light” coding system to

act as an advisory guide for govern-

ments or people wanting to rate the risk

of travelling across the continent.

EU governments have agreed to pro-

vide information to the European

Centre for Disease Prevention and

Control to produce a weekly map with

countries coded, green, orange or red.

The ratings will be based on the num-

ber of cases per 100,000 people over the

previous 14 days, the number of tests

per capita and the percentage of posi-

tives. The guidelines are not legally

binding after governments resisted EU

moves to decide on border controls for

people travelling from high-risk areas

or setting a standard quartile procedure

across the region.

Travel advice varies from country to

country. Some governments demand a

two-week quarantine while others set a

seven-day isolation period.

In France, curfews possibly applying

from 9pm or 10pm to 6am are favoured

as the best way to limit social gatherings

because the constitution prevents the

state restricting activities in homes and

other private property.

The government is advising strongly

against social mixing outside immedi-

ate family in areas of maximum alert.

Regional lockdowns have not been

ruled out. The most likely targets are

the Paris and Marseilles regions.

For a few weeks last month, Ger-

many looked like an island of stability

as the second wave of infections hit

neighbouring countries.

That period of relative calm is over.

The situation is not a catastrophe yet.

Germany has one of the lowest infec-

tion rates per capita in Europe, roughly

comparable to Finland’s. But the rise

has rattled the federal government and

many people. Mrs Merkel has said that

if present trends continue the country

will have 19,200 cases a day by Christ-

mas, nearly triple the peak recorded at

the start of April.

Imposing national restraints is diffi-

cult, however. Most coronavirus policy

decisions are devolved under the feder-

al structure and many regional minis-

ters are protective of their autonomy,

which allows them to tailor their


Last month Mrs Merkel brokered a

deal to restrict private gatherings in

badly hit areas such as Berlin, Munich,

Frankfurt and Stuttgart. She has also

forged consensus on a warning against

unnecessary travel to “risk areas”,

including much of the UK and France.

Fines for people who give false contact

details in bars, cafes and restaurants

were also agreed.

One source of friction is the recent

“accommodation ban”, under which 11
states have forbidden overnight stays
by people from hotspots, to the annoy-
ance of the hospitality sector.
Italy tightened its rules on gatherings
last week to stamp out a surge in cases
but rejected a proposal for a UK-style
ban on meetings of six people in homes.
The “rule of six” does appear in a
decree published on Tuesday. It was
reduced from an obligation to a “strong
recommendation” in the final text
because of fears that Italians would
rebel against state snooping.
The new decree comes into effect for
30 days after daily cases in Italy rose to
more than 5,000. It orders bars and res-
taurants to close at midnight and to
stop serving standing customers, inside
or outside the premises, at 9pm.
Weddings and religious ceremonies
can be attended by no more than 30
people, while five-a-side football is
banned unless organised by a sports
association. The decree allows 1,
spectators to attend football matches
and reduces the period of quarantine
for asymptomatic cases from 14 to ten
days if they test negative.
Spain’s second wave of the pandemic
initially hit Madrid worst. Concerns are

increasing over rising numbers of
infections in the northern regions of
Navarre and Catalonia.
The state of emergency in the
Madrid region, enforced on Friday,
banned people from leaving or entering
the city unless for work or essential vis-
its. People can move freely in the city.
Other restrictions in the capital
include a limit on gatherings of six
people and a cap to limit restaurants to
half their capacity. Bars and restaurants
must close at 11pm.
Portugal remains under a “state of
contingency” with gatherings limited
to ten people and staggered closures
enforced on commercial establish-
ments between 8pm and 11pm.
The government has banned festi-
vals and similar events until new year.
The sale of alcohol is banned at service
stations and after 8pm in shops and
Alcohol may only be served outdoors
after 8pm if accompanied by a meal. No
more than four people can gather in
cafés within 300m of schools and in
shopping centre food courts, unless
they all belong to the same family unit.
Belgium now has the second highest
spread rate in Europe, with 430 infec-

tions per 100,000 people. The govern-
ment brought in national restrictions
on the opening hours of bars or restau-
rants as well as new “rule of four” limits
on household socialising.
The Dutch government has intro-
duced “circuit-breaker” measures by
closing cafés, restaurants and bars with
a ban for a fortnight on evening alcohol
sales in shops. “Today we are announc-
ing new and weighty measures and in
fact we are going to a partial lockdown,”
Mark Rutte, the prime minister, said. “It
hurts, but it’s the only way.”
A state of emergency was formally
declared in the Czech Republic at the
start of the month but the government
has been keen to avoid new restrictions.
All schools — but not kindergartens —
will close for two weeks from today.
After a lull, infections in Sweden are
rising. Yet the prevailing attitude is one
of watchfulness. The public health
agency has suggested that local restric-
tions may be around the corner.
Stefan Lofven, the prime minister,
has decided against raising the limit on
public gatherings from 50 to 500
people. Despite the increase in infec-
tions the death rate remains low, at
about one or two a day.

Europe relies on patchwork of

News Coronavirus Wo r l d

Oliver Moody Berlin

Bruno Waterfield Brussels

Charles Bremner Paris

Tom Kington Rome

Isambard Wilkinson Madrid

At a glance state of play in Europe

Covid-19 cases in Europe

Under 100

No data




Over 400

Data to October 13

14-day cumulative per
100,000 population

Country by country


32,811 cases

671 deaths

Rules: Bars, cafes and
restaurants must shut at 10pm.
Up to 50 people can gather
indoors and outdoors. Rules to
be reviewed at end of October

Travel: Free entry limited to
visitors from Germany, Norway,
Finland, Italy, Australia and
Japan. Others, including UK,
must prove a 'worthy purpose'
for visit, such as study or work







Czech Rep


Netherlands Poland


Rules: Bars closed in eight cities
including Paris, Marseilles, Lille,
and Toulouse. Gatherings there
limited to 10 outdoors and 1,
in sports stadiums. Constitution
prohibits limits in homes.

Travel: Arrivals restricted from all
countries outside EU except
Australia, Canada, Britain, New
Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia and


743,479 cases

32,828 deaths


329,453 cases

9,634 deaths

Rules: Alcohol sales banned in
Berlin from 11pm to 6am.
Frankfurt's bars and restaurants
close at 11pm, Munich's at 10pm.
Limits on gatherings vary per
region, down to ten indoors.

Travel: All arrivals from “risk areas”

  • including Scotland, Wales,
    Northern Ireland, north of England,
    US, Spain, Russia, Belgium and
    almost all of France - must provide
    negative test result or quarantine


165,787 cases

10,211 deaths

Rules: Bars closed in Brussels
and shut elsewhere at 11pm.
Restaurant tables limited to four
or a single household, and close
at 1am. Only four non-family
visitors allowed into homes,
excluding children under 12.

Travel: Arrivals from 'red zones',
including most of England,
Scotland and all of Wales, must
quarantine or produce negative
test. Curbs on all other countries


181,294 cases

6,587 deaths

Rules: Bars and restaurants closed
for two weeks. No more than three
visitors to a household every 24
hours. Children under 13 do not
count. Private gatherings limited
to four outside. Inside, no more
than 30 people in one room with
social distancing

Travel: US among countries
barred. UK citizens face no
restrictions or quarantine.

359,569 cases

36,205 deaths

Rules: Bars stop serving at 9pm
and close at midnight. Outdoor
gatherings can be banned if
distancing breaks down.
Recommended limit on gatherings
inside is six.

Travel: Arrivals from outside EU
must quarantine for 14 days. Those
arriving from high-risk European
states, including UK and parts of
France, must take rapid test or
show recent negative test


121,421 cases

1,051 deaths

Rules: Bars and restaurants close
from today and off licence sales
end at 8pm. Drinking in public
banned. Outdoor and indoor
gatherings capped at six.

Travel: Arrivals from Britain, most
parts of the EU and a handful of
non-European states such as
Japan, Canada and Australia must
show recent negative result or
take a test within five days. US
tourists barred


130,210 cases

3,039 deaths

Rules 10pm closing time in 'red
zones', other bars limited to one
customer per 4sqm. Private
gatherings capped at 75, public
at 150. Only over 65s in shops
and pharmacies 10am-noon from
this week.

Travel Most visitors from outside
EU banned; ban on inbound
flights from 29 countries,
including Brazil and Israel


Source: ECDC


A woman receiving cancer
treatment is believed to have
become the first person to die after
contracting the virus for a second
time. The patient, 89, had bone
marrow cancer and her immune
system was compromised. She
tested positive for coronavirus after
going to a hospital in the south of
the Netherlands this year and was
treated for five days. Two months
later she began a new round of
chemotherapy but after two days

Wo m a n i s

first person

to die from


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