Europe : Restrictions reimposed as Omicron spreads
Nations across Europe are moving to reimpose tougher measures to stem a new wave of Covid19 infections spurred by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, triggering calls for protests from Paris to Barcelona.
Denmark closed public venues including theatres, concert halls, amusement parks and museums. Ireland imposed an 8pm curfew on pubs and bars, and limited attendance at indoor and outdoor events.
All non-essential stores, bars and restaurants in the Netherlands will be closed until 14 January starting Sunday, caretaker prime minister Mark Rutte said at a hastily arranged press conference Saturday night. Schools and universities will shut until 9 January.
It remains unclear if the rapid growth of Omicron cases is because the variant evades existing immunity, is inherently more transmissible than previous variants, or a combination of both.
As case numbers escalated, France and Austria tightened travel restrictions, while Paris cancelled its New Year’s Eve fireworks.