How to counter lockdown fatigue?

In many countries of Europe shops and schools have been closed for weeks in a bid to reduce the number of coronavirus infections. But people are growing very weary of all the measures. At the same time, new virus variants and the slow rate of vaccination have dampened hopes of a speedy improvement of the situation. Europe's press asks what can be done to improve the mood.

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Webcafé (BG) /

Weeping 24/7 not a solution

For almost a year now, the whole world has been revolving around coronavirus as if there were nothing else in life, Webcafé writes in exasperation:

“As dangerous, frightening and merciless as life may be - we cannot live it as if it were a single string of diseases and dangers. ... Even in the darkest moments of history, for example during wars, people found their small, intimate spaces where they could isolate themselves from the endless pain and unbearable fear and laugh, have sex, talk to each other. The European arthouse films that depict the world as darkness, in which a depressed woman with sagging breasts weeps in the shower all her life are not realistic. In real life there is always light.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Irresponsible doom-mongering

Hope for a better tomorrow is essential in the fight against Covid, writes The Guardian:

“Coping with the present situation by fantasising about when things are 'back to normal' does nobody any harm. Perhaps these hopes will indeed prove to have been naive. But if they do, so what? Hope is good for us. It supports our mental and even physical health. ... There comes a point when doom-mongering isn't just annoying, it's irresponsible. We each have an individual responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe. No hope of a better tomorrow means less motivation to do the necessary things to get us all there. It's much easier to follow the rules if we think of them as temporary.”

Kurier (AT) /

Easing restrictions is balm for the soul

Life is starting up again after the end of the tough lockdown in Austria, Der Kurier writes in delight:

“We've moved beyond just counting positive tests, sick beds and even deaths. ... Politicians have finally recognised that we must also focus on the collateral damage. ... That a pandemic is more than just a health crisis. And that careful consideration is needed in this battle. ... The burden on many families with school-age children is enormous. One hears more and more often older people saying how lonely they are, and that meeting family members is also a matter of dignity. The level of frustration is enormous even among working people and students, not to mention the unemployed. What's happening now is a rescue package for the soul, mental compensation for losses incurred.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Politicians have to be role models

The Czech government should not be surprised by the widespread coronavirus fatigue, Hospodářské noviny notes:

“The government doesn't understand that to be able to comply with the restrictions, people want to see role models in the top posts. But there are none. First, Health Minister Jan Blatný called on people not to travel while he himself was on a tour. Then Industry and Transport Minister Karel Havliček published pictures of a trip to South Bohemia on Twitter. Naturally the minister has the right to relax. But the government must not apply one set of standards to itself and another to the remaining ten million citizens in this country.”