Time for hard lockdowns again?

The zigzagging across Europe on coronavirus restrictions continues. Some countries - like France - are tightening their measures in view of rising infection rates while others are wavering or even relaxing them - like Greece. Most of Europe's press concurs that there is only one way out now.

Open/close all quotes
Libération (FR) /

Life is the only right decision

In his address to the nation on Wednesday evening, Emmanuel Macron announced that schools would be closed for three weeks. But that is not enough, writes Patrick Bouet, president of the French medical association CNOM, in Libération:

“In view of the terrible gravity of the situation, we need stricter measures and a real lockdown in all areas where this is necessary. ... With a death toll of more than 100,000, in a few weeks the epidemic will have wiped out the equivalent of the entire city of Nancy. Behind the numbers there are lives. Broken lives, shattered families, forgotten ambitions and buried hopes. ... Life can no longer bear arbitrariness, hesitation, or carelessness. Life, every life, is what must guide us today. Life is the only possible ethical choice.”

Birgün (TR) /

Paying the price for having no strategy

Turkey has reached a new peak with 40,000 new Covid infections per day. The country is now feeling the consequences of the lack of transparency in the fight against pandemics, Birgün comments:

“Nobody wants a lockdown, but with all the deaths and the rapid spread of the virus there is no other alternative. At no point did Turkey pursue an efficient lockdown, testing or prevention policy. A strategy that lacked even a modicum of transparency is the cause of today's situation. ... Now we must use the most efficient methods at our disposal. That means a temporary complete lockdown as well as financial aid so that people can survive. Only this way do we stand a chance of getting through this.”

Novi list (HR) /

Like it or not

Although there is still no talk of another lockdown in Croatia, tougher measures after Easter seem inevitable, says Novi list, and this

“despite upcoming local elections and the fact that no politician or government wants to impose unpopular new restrictions before the elections. ... Compared to all the other EU member states Croatia has been among the more liberal with its measures. But if in the third wave the number of cases develops as it has done in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, there will have to be more restrictions. Like it or not.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

Opening out of desperation

Despite rising infection rates, the coronavirus restrictions are to be relaxed in Greece as of next Monday, including in the retail trade. Naftemporiki asks:

“Why are the markets and freedom of movement being given this little 'reprieve' when the facts call for the opposite? It sounds paradoxical, but the openings are the result of the failure [of the Covid policy]. The government and the Infectious Diseases Committee have lost confidence in the effectiveness of the measures they proposed. And citizens have lost the trust required to do what they're being asked to do. And everyone prefers a gradual opening as the only way out. ... Both the people and the state seem to have simply given up. Unfortunately, desperate decisions are not a good sign.”

Dnevnik (SI) /

The people just want their freedom

Inconsistent restrictions only have a limited impact, Dnevnik explains:

“The citizens are angry not only about the border closures, but also about the entire 'Easter closure' package - which once again turns out to be a nebulous collection of measures whose benefits are questionable, to say the least. Indeed, it's not clear to anyone why the lockdown in Slovenia includes the closure of schools and cultural institutions while business lunches and even rentals of tourist facilities for business purposes are allowed. ... Because of all these unnecessary repressive measures, the people no longer care about stopping the spread of the disease but just about finding all possible paths back to freedom.”