Europe closing down again: back to where we started?
Much has been done to avoid it, and there have been urgent warnings against it, but in the face of a surge in infection rates lockdowns have been reimposed in many European countries. Unlike six months ago, however, daycare centres and schools are remaining open in most cases - which is why the talk is now of "partial lockdowns". Nevertheless, just like in the spring, opinions differ about the measures and whether they are necessary.
All sense of proportion has been lost
Fabio Pontiggia, editor-in-chief of Corriere del Ticino, believes that this new round of lockdowns goes too far:
“All over Europe we can expect terrible weeks, and probably even months, in which provinces, regions and countries seal themselves off like the cities that hid behind their fortress walls in the Middle Ages. The hand of the restricting, prohibiting state is once again reaching into our very homes and telling us how many guests we can invite to dinner. ... Economic disaster and civil brutalisation is a completely disproportionate price to pay in reaction to a pandemic caused by a virus which has little or no effect on people's health in at least 95 percent of cases. Many people have lost all sense of proportion in this regard.”
Don't just sit around and do nothing during lockdown
French President Macron announced on Wednesday evening a new partial lockdown of at least one month starting on Friday. Clearly there is now no time to lose, Le Figaro urges:
“As the second wave hits France, we're no better equipped (oh yes, we have masks!) than we were the first time around. ... It's time to act! Let's make up for lost time! Let's use fast antigen tests immediately, across the board! ... Let's prepare emergency reserve beds like in Germany! Let's train carers or hire them like in Italy! Let's build military hospitals like in Israel! If 'Whatever it takes' makes sense, it's especially true for the healthcare sector. After the new lockdown (because it will come to an end), nothing could be worse than to be just as helpless as we were before.”
We learned our lesson when it comes to schools
The Berliner Zeitung welcomes that in Germany, as in other countries, schools and daycare centres are allowed to stay open:
“After the experience with the first lockdown, it's clear how much children and adolescents suffered. ... And how hard it was for parents to take care of their children and work at the same time. It's also clear that at present the right to education can best be realised through classroom teaching. First of all because homeschooling increases social disparities. Secondly because the digitalisation of schools in this country is still in its infancy. And thirdly because schools are indispensable as places of social interaction.”
Germans can still hope for a merry Christmas
It's clear what Germany is hoping for, Polityka believes:
“The relatively mild lockdown in November is being carried out for a specific purpose. The idea is to be able to relax restrictions a little in December, during the Christmas season, which is so crucial for the economy. According to Merkel, this prospect should encourage discipline and help bring social life to a halt in November. We Poles no longer have any hope of a normal Christmas, but in Germany this hope still exists.”