Covid: Omicron out of control?
With the highly contagious Omicron variant sweeping across Europe, the coronavirus situation continues to worsen. Denmark is registering three times as many cases as ever before. London is trying to bring teachers out of retirement to compensate for shortages. And Germany's Covid panel has warned that the country's critical infrastructure could collapse. Europe's press also ponders the options for dealing with the virus.
Follow the basic rules of pandemic management
Those in charge should be able to avoid at least a few typical mistakes this time, Kathimerini columnist Pantelis Boukalas hopes:
“As far as governments are concerned, only those who fulfill the following criteria come close to having achieved an effective management strategy. First, abiding by the recommendations of the scientists and not improvising off the cuff; second, acknowledging that failure is ready to pounce as soon as they start crowing about their success; third, making sure - even belatedly - to prop up their public health systems; and, fourth, staying away from the soap box, from repeating again and again that the pandemic is almost over, from boasting: 'we never…' Never? The virus is adaptable and intelligent; we should try to be the same.”
Vaccination only part of the solution
El Periódico de España stresses that Spain still needs other anti-Covid measures apart from vaccination:
“The virus is learning and spreading in its different variants all over the world. ... Even among symptom-free, vaccinated people, there can be increased transmission of the coronavirus. ... This is one of the reasons why the message that a high vaccination uptake will end the pandemic is a grave error. ... In contrast to what has been achieved with vaccines for classical viruses, we still need other protective measures.”
Time to stock up on emergency supplies again
The taz reflects on the practical repercussions if Germany's "critical infrastructure" really does collapse:
“Hundreds of thousands of workers [could] lose their jobs simultaneously. ... This would also affect the public services. Here it makes no difference whether the infected are slightly, moderately or severely ill. ... Without drifting into survivalism or panic-buying toilet paper, a return to crisis prevention is right and important. Just as our grandparents once stocked up on supplies, it makes sense today to have ten days' worth of drinking water, sealed brown bread and tinned food in stock. This is by no means alarmist. In this pandemic, it's merely one more sensible measure that doesn't require too much effort.”
Danish society stronger than Germany's
Omicron is hitting Denmark hard, and the country has imposed new restrictions. Jydske Vestkysten is nevertheless optimistic:
“The combination of tribal mentality, a high level of awareness and a small, relatively homogeneous population with quite similar ways of thinking means that we cultivate mutual trust, pay attention to the authorities' recommendations and basically trust them. ... South of the border, citizens are seeing how the epidemic has divided a country that was already struggling with inequality and mistrust. ... In Germany, opposition to vaccinations and preventive measures has become so strong that the domestic intelligence service is warning of a threat to democracy. ... Cohesion is waning in parts of Germany. In Denmark it is stronger than ever before.”