How many lockdowns can Europe take?
France has gone into lockdown for a third time despite assurances that it wouldn't, and Germany is also discussing tightening the measures again to contain the virus. Portugal, on the other hand, is hoping for a little more freedom after a tough two months. Europe's commentators describe how the pandemic continues to test people's patience and nerves.
Portugal must proceed with caution
Portugal has gone from being the country with the highest rate of new infections in the world to one of those with the lowest incidence in Europe after another long and harsh lockdown. Público warns that any step towards relaxing the measures must be taken with the utmost caution:
“The country must be distrustful in reopening, aware that it may have to go back again. And if in September last year you heard politicians say we couldn't 'return to global paralysis', today there is silence, no one is risking that promise. Even though the numbers increasingly indicate that the pandemic is under control, the bitter journey we have been on so far has taught us that we still have weeks of major uncertainty ahead. Until vaccination is more prevalent, nothing is guaranteed.”
Leave the people alone!
Politicians won't achieve anything by putting the people under pressure, writes journalist Róbert Puzsér in Hírklikk:
“Of course, we still have to be careful in the coming weeks, but it's definitely time to stop accusing those who go for a walk in the woods or ride their bikes without a mask, and while aware of the risks decide for themselves that they need fresh air and human contact. Populations who are treated as adults by the elites and who make decisions based on reasonable discussion rather than because of unending stress and hysteria can fight the pandemic far more effectively. It's high time to show a humane attitude towards the people who must now - thanks to the glorious elites - make further sacrifices.”
Rzeczpospolita columnist Artur Ilgner rejects the notion that young people are those worst affected by the effects of the pandemic:
“When I see young people grumbling because discos are closed, because you can't drink beer or go to shopping centres, or because you can't eat your popcorn at the cinema anymore; when at every step I hear people talking about the need to provide counselling for children and young people who don't know what to do with themselves, I pinch my cheek because it seems like this is all a nightmare. ... These weaklings are embarrassing! It's a disgrace that they can't act in a dignified way, that they can't support each other. The situation is difficult, but not hopeless. And not to be compared with what other generations have experienced.”