Pitfalls in fighting the pandemic

European governments are alarmed by the dramatic increase in corona infections. In some countries, such as Ireland or the Czech Republic, shops have been closed again, in Spain a curfew has been in force since Monday, and Italy is trying to deal with the situation by, among other things, closing restaurants from 6 p.m. However, these measures are meeting with increasing opposition from the press.

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Primorske novice (SI) /

Enough of the sweets and spankings

Coronavirus restriction measures must be presented to the public in a respectful and understandable way - and that's not the case in Slovenia, Primorske novice laments:

“The government passes regulations and new restrictions overnight, from curfews to bans on travel from one district to another. The explanations are so confusing that even those who are supposed to communicate them can't make head or tail of them. ... A government that treats its citizens like helpless children who are alternately given sweets and spankings shows them little respect. So it's not surprising that, despite significantly more infections than in the spring, many people don't trust the rules and openly or covertly defy them.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

We need more culture, not less

Cinemas, theatres and concert halls in Italy have had to remain closed again since Monday. Artists and others working in the cultural sector have voiced their opposition to the measures. Sociologist Chiara Saraceno sides with them in La Repubblica:

“We need more culture precisely because we understand the seriousness of the pandemic - including its potential effects on social cohesion, which is currently being stretched to the limit. We need more opportunities not only to relax and be entertained, but also to reflect on how much the pandemic has upset our lives, how many and what inequalities the virus is deepening or creating, an what new ways of thinking and acting we must come up with so we aren't overcome by fear and can remain vigilant and responsible - together.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Whatever it takes

Tracking the chains of infection must be a top priority, especially under difficult conditions, demands Der Standard:

“Dear contact tracers, don't give up! Your work is the basis for ensuring that the pandemic does not get out of control and paralyse the health system. Only the tracing of contacts of people who have been diagnosed as infectious or potentially infectious and the warning of contact persons can stop the virus for the time being. ... Not giving up also means crying out for help when the task is no longer manageable. In the past few days, contact tracers in several states have already done this. ... The famous 'whatever it takes' must also apply to the recruitment of contact tracers.”

Népszava (HU) /

Hungary must not hesitate any longer

Népszava calls for stricter measures for Hungary too:

“The cabinet keeps pointing to the national consultation surveys [the government's nationwide public surveys], according to which a majority wants life in the country to go on as normal. Still, there are times when a government must defy popular opinion. ... With a pandemic that is spreading so quickly, it's impossible to keep the economy and the healthcare system going at the same time. Even after a vaccine is developed, life may never return to exactly what it was before. Even less so if the government turns fighting the pandemic into a political issue. ... It must be said clearly in Hungary too: restrictions on time spent outside, fixed shopping hours, school closures and more testing are needed.”