Covid-19: the fourth wave and still not prepared?

The number of Covid cases is rising in many European countries despite widespread vaccination. In Eastern Europe in particular, healthcare systems are buckling under the strain of the fourth wave of the pandemic. But in the West, too, rising hospitalisation numbers are leading to tightened restrictions. Commentators from various countries fear that their governments are once again ill-prepared.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

Be as quick as the Danes

The Netherlands has once again introduced tighter restrictions in view of the rapidly rising infection and patient numbers. De Volkskrant advises the government to follow Denmark's example:

“Trust in the state plays a big role. The Danes were quicker with the lockdown, quicker with border controls, quicker with large-scale testing, quicker with vaccination, quicker with the Covid Pass and quicker with banning the AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines when doubts arose. This gives many Danes confidence that the state has the situation under control. [Prime Minister] Mark Rutte and [Health Minister] Hugo de Jonge must now move quickly to make a similar impression, otherwise this will be the start of a bitter winter.”

Ekho Moskvy (RU) /

Virus mutating into worst enemy of the state

The anger over the lockdown imposed amid the fourth wave could become dangerous for the Russian government, Echo of Moscow speculates:

“Citizens see the restrictions, but no support. ... Not Navalny, the West or other invisible enemies, but coronavirus could become the main danger for the regime. It has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, exhausted the health sector, damaged the economy, increased prices and inflation and provoked open discontent with the state for various reasons. And the virus is invisible and impervious to the police state. It can't be dispersed or arrested. ... There is no rebellion yet. But the key word is 'yet'.”

Pravda (SK) /

Broken promises make restrictions more difficult

In view of the rising infection rates in Slovakia the government should not dither about imposing a lockdown, warns Pravda:

“Politicians promised that the vaccine would rid us of the virus within a year. That has not been the case, so it will be difficult to enforce even slight restrictions. ... The question today, however, is no longer whether a new lockdown will come, but when and to what extent. We know from last year that waiting until the last minute can have tragic consequences. No one wants to see overcrowded hospitals and morgues again this year.”

24 Chasa (BG) /

Caretaker government doesn't care

Bulgaria's political leaders are focusing all their attention on the parliamentary and presidential elections on 14 November, leaving the citizens defenceless against the fourth wave, 24 Chasa laments:

“The state is not capable of bringing this deadly chaos under control. We lack appropriate rulers who act swiftly and decisively and can chart and enforce the way out of this crisis. We have no government, we have no president, we have no politicians who care about our problems. All they care about is their percentages in the elections.”