Lockdown in Europe as England still parties on New Year's eve – Fears we could follow


Most recent data released on Monday showed that 98,515 people had returned a positive test in one day, but the numbers over the Christmas weekend had reached even higher. A record number of cases was reported in England on Christmas Day itself, with 113,628 infections confirmed on 25 December and 103,558 on Boxing Day.

However, the UK government is holding off on any restrictions, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid reiterating that New Year’s Eve celebrations can still go ahead in England as planned.

Mr Javid warned that people ringing in 2022 in groups should “remain cautious” and test themselves before attending any gatherings.

However, the Government is continuing to pay particular attention to the number of unvaccinated people ending up hospitalised with COVID-19, and the staff shortages striking down emergency services and the NHS.

England is the only UK nation to have staved off pressure to reimpose some limitations on social mixing in the wake of the festive weekend.

In Wales, the rule of six was put back in place as of Boxing Day, meaning just six people can meet in indoor spaces like pubs and cinemas.

Nightclubs are now forced to remain shut in all three devolved nations – a blow to nightlife businesses ahead of the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

A maximum of 30 people in enclosed spaces and 50 at outdoor events is now the limit, announced by the Welsh government ahead of Christmas.

This number is slightly higher in Scotland, as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon limited indoor events to 100 people standing, and indoor mixing to three households.

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However, Mr Macron did not institute a curfew for New Year’s Eve celebrations, which was in force in France this time last year.

On Saturday, France registered a record number of new infections at over 100,000 – the highest figure of the pandemic so far for the country.

A similar situation is being observed in Germany, where the number of people able to attend indoor and outdoor gatherings has also been sliced.

Several German states will close parts of the hospitality sector, and some restaurants will be forced to shut their doors earlier than before.

It is the second consecutive year that Germany has cancelled New Year’s Eve firework displays.

The unvaccinated in Germany will stare down more binding restrictions than those who are fully jabbed or recently recovered from COVID-19, but all will see a tightening of freedoms amid Omicron worries.

A picture of rebellion is being painted in Belgium, after a number of cultural venues, like cinemas and theatres, refused to shut down as they are required to by new measures and launched a challenge with the Belgian interior ministry.

The country was shaken by the recent death of Belgian kickboxing champion, Frédéric Sinistra, a vocal anti-vaxxer who was admitted to intensive care last month.

He died from COVID-19 complications after attempting to treat the “little virus” in his own home.


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