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  Coronavirus pandemic 2022

  8 Debates

The countries of Europe are responding in different ways to the rising number of infections but milder symptoms caused by the Omicron variant: Austria has opted for mandatory vaccination and hopes to win over sceptics with lottery prizes, while in England, the Czech Republic and Turkey measures are being relaxed. The European press is also divided.

The Covid pandemic has drastically widened the gap between rich and poor worldwide, according to a report published by NGO Oxfam. The wealth of the ten richest billionaires doubled between March 2020 and November 2021, while more than 160 million have been forced into poverty. Europe's press discusses the findings and the consequences.

Spain is signalling a change its approach on Covid: Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Monday that the Covid pandemic is no longer so deadly, and that an endemic situation is developing. Consequently Covid should be treated more like the flu, with less drastic monitoring of cases. The European press sees risks in the move.

The first reports of a mysterious virus in the Chinese city of Wuhan emerged two years ago. Now the whole world is in the grips of Covid. Can we hope for an end after the current wave? Or will we have to live with it for many years to come? Europe's press delivers different verdicts.

The Omicron variant is causing infection rates to soar in many countries, although hospitalisation rates remain low. Initial studies show that mice and hamsters experience less severe forms of the disease with the new variant. Europe's media discuss which measures are called for and how much should be asked of citizens.

Marc Walder, CEO of Ringier, one of Switzerland's largest media groups, has come under fire after it emerged that he said at a conference in February 2021 that he had instructed journalists to take a pro-government line in their coverage of the Covid pandemic. Media react indignantly to this encroachment on editorial independence.

French President Emmanual Macron made headlines on Tuesday after saying in an interview with the newspaper Le Parisien that he "really wants to piss off the non-vaccinated" and drastically restrict their social life. New Covid restrictions are to apply from mid-January under which the unvaccinated will be denied access to restaurants and theatres and other public spaces. Europe's media accuse Macron of callous electioneering.

A court in Melbourne has upheld the appeal of tennis world number one Novak Djoković after he was prevented from entering Australia. Djoković was on his way to compete in the Australian Open with an exemption to Covid vaccination requirements, but was detained by border guards for not being vaccinated. Australia's government is now considering whether to cancel Djoković's visa nonetheless. Europe's press closely follows the affair.