December 6 that American media said that many European countries are planning to relax travel and social restrictions at Christmas and the New Year due to public pressure to allow more family gatherings, although the level of COVID-19 infection is still high.
France, Spain, the United Kingdom and parts of Germany have said that they will relax some domestic travel regulations so that people can visit their relatives and friends, and allow travel between different regions or stay in hotels more freely.
In comparison to previous weeks, some governments have allowed more people to meet, but still have restrictions on gatherings to minimize the rate of holiday infection and protect the elderly who are most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.
The report believes that various measures indicate that governments are trying to maintain a delicate balance: to keep the public social distancing without generating strong opposition from Europeans – who have become increasingly frustrated by restrictions on daily life for months.
The report pointed out that the number of COVID-19 cases in most parts of Europe is decreasing after peaking last month. But public health experts and some governments worry that over-relaxation could trigger another surge in infections during the upcoming holiday season.
The massive summer vacation travel has brought the epidemic back in Europe, undermining the progress made in curbing the coronavirus epidemic after strict lockdowns in the spring.
According to the report, the number of infections rebounded slightly later in Italy than elsewhere, but the daily number of COVID-19 deaths here is currently the highest in Europe. The government has decided to further tighten travel restrictions during Christmas.
“We must avoid a third wave of the pandemic in January,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Thursday evening when he proposed new measures. We can’t relax our vigilance.
The report also said that France became one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 epidemic this fall, but now the number of infections has dropped significantly. From December 15, France will again allow people to visit their families across the country, provided that there is no widespread infection.
The UK, which has not encouraged interregional families to social contact, will also relax travel restrictions during Christmas.
The United Kingdom imposes a hierarchical restriction system on enterprises and households according to the number of local infections and the admission capacity of hospitals. Travel between different levels of regions is not encouraged, except for work or study, or to take care of relatives.
But between December 23 and December 27, people will be allowed to travel between different levels of areas in order to meet relatives and friends.
Under the current regulations in Germany’s 16 states that have been in force since November, hotels are prohibited from receiving tourists except for business trips. But some places say they will relax regulations during the holiday to reunite families, including high-infection areas such as Berlin, Saxony and Hesse.
The report also said that in most parts of Germany and Spain, the authorities asked people to limit the assembly to 10 adults and children. In the UK, people will be allowed to form a so-called Christmas group composed of no more than three families.
Italian Prime Minister Conte urged Italians not to meet people who are not in their own families. The French were advised to limit the number of adults to six for holiday gatherings.
French Prime Minister Jean Casté said: “This does not mean that you can celebrate Christmas or New Year as usual.
We must abide by measures to prevent infection and continue to protect our most vulnerable people, especially the elderly.”