Second wave: are the neighbours doing a better job?

Many European countries are tightening their measures to curb the surge in infection rates. The new regulations range from making masks mandatory in public places and closing bars and restaurants to full curfews at night. Commentators urge policymakers to look beyond national borders for guidance.

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Denik N (CZ) /

Improvisation is not enough

Denik N's Berlin correspondent Pavel Polák wonders why Germany is doing so much better than the Czech Republic in fighting the coronavirus:

“It's simple: we Czechs love to improvise. We have no plan, we act and make decisions on the spur of the moment, depending on our mood. In the summer, Germany also relaxed its coronavirus regulations. However it did not lift the measures introduced in the first wave. Angela Merkel kept reminding the German public that the pandemic had not disappeared and would return. At the start of the summer the federal government decided to boost staff numbers at health authorities in order to control the spread of the virus through tracking. Unlike what happens here at home, this kind of approach is systematic and strategic.”

Iltalehti (FI) /

More Swedish serenity, please!

Iltalehti calls for a calmer approach in dealing with the coronavirus crisis:

“Finland should take the attitude towards coronavirus in Sweden as its model - despite the fact that Sweden failed to protect the elderly in its nursing homes in the spring. We can draw this conclusion when we see the haste with which recommendations and rules are currently being issued in Finland. ... At the same time, Sweden has had the courage to stick to the same approach since early March. In principle, its rules have not changed. ... The infection rate is twice as high as in Finland, but under control. As in Finland, the mortality in Sweden is now low. ... If there's one thing Finland needs for the winter it's a little of Sweden's serenity.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

France's curfew may be a sensible measure

Catalonia is shutting down its bars and restaurants in response to a surge in infection rates. La Vanguardia advises a look across the border:

“Catalonia is not an isolated case. On the contrary, we are seeing a second wave across Europe. ... Given the lack of a pan-European response, it will be interesting to compare the responses of individual countries to this second wave. For perhaps not all of them will be equally effective. Last night France announced a night-time curfew starting Saturday - an unusual measure in a democracy. But perhaps useful in the current situation in which nocturnal gatherings are being blamed for many infections.”

Új Szó (SK) /

Help companies now!

Governments must not focus solely on restrictions, Új Szó warns:

“The price that the economy must pay in the second wave does not seem to be as high as it was in the first - for the time being. ... But that doesn't mean the economic situation here is rosy. The restrictions introduced by the government first of all brought the cultural and sports sectors to their knees. As of Thursday they will be joined by the hospitality industry and the wellness and fitness sectors, which still haven't fully recovered from the effects of the first wave. And now they have to close down again for an undetermined period of time. If there's anything to be learned from the first wave, it's that all of these companies need quick and effective support.”