Covid-19: another winter lockdown?
In most countries there is talk of a fourth, in Portugal of a fifth, and in Spain even of a sixth wave of Covid. Across Europe calls for measures to be tightened once more are being heard. The press is at odds as to whether curfews, business closures and other harsh restrictions are necessary or sensible.
Soon citizens will beg for restrictions
Despite Greece's overcrowded intensive care units the government keeps repeaating that there will be no further lockdowns. Blogger Pitsirikos comments ironically:
“Many Greeks wonder why the government hasn't yet imposed a lockdown although the number of cases, intubations and deaths this year is significantly higher than in November 2020, when the country was already in lockdown and terror and hysteria prevailed. ... The government is doing something very smart: it's waiting for the people to demand a lockdown. The citizens will beg the government to lock the country down and shut them away in their homes.”
Portuguese should get used to the risk
Portugal has a high vaccination rate and should therefore refrain from harsher restrictions, Expresso urges:
“With 87 percent of the population vaccinated, this will be the first winter in which Covid will be a disease very similar to influenza. ... If we revert to paranoia and restrictions even though the population is vaccinated, we'll be disregarding the vaccine and the science and misleading the population again. We need to tell people clearly that the pandemic is over but the virus is not dying out, that the disease will remain among us like other respiratory viruses, and that hundreds or thousands of people of a certain age and/or with pre-existing conditions will die from it each winter.”
Hesitation with a political rationale
Polityka expects the politicians to impose renewed restrictions:
“The more the government shies away from decisive steps that could limit the extent of the emerging fourth wave, the more obvious the political rationale seems: this is not the time to anger the unvaccinated voters who are weary of last year's lockdown. Prime Minister Morawiecki makes no secret of this. Of course one could wait until next spring without introducing any more restrictions. Except that that would be a cruel test for the healthcare system, which is struggling as it is.”
Lockdowns are not the solution
The new wave has also led to tighter restrictions in the Czech Republic. As of Monday, only vaccinated and recovered people will be able to participate fully in public life, much to the annoyment of Novinky.cz:
“If vaccines are so great and safe, the state can declare them compulsory and that'll be that. ... As for other lockdowns and restrictions, it's absurd to keep talking about them and planning them with a straight face as if they'll solve everything. After all, even a complete lockdown didn't stop the virus from spreading. So why repeat the same thing all over again?”
Support for tougher measures is crumbling in Belgium, De Standaard worries:
“The 'team of eleven million' has disintegrated. The will to show solidarity once more and give it all has diminished because a minority refuses to be vaccinated. Why should those who have had the jab give their all once again to mitigate a wave that was largely caused by those who were unwilling to do so? A lack of perspective about the pandemic has undermined support for the measures.”