Covid-19 Measures

Regional News • Europe
Portugal: schools, kindergartens and universities close amid Coronavirus surge
Paços da Universidade, Portugal
Paços da Universidade, Portugal Credit: xiquinhosilva from Cacau, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In Portugal, the government orders the closure of schools and universities for at least 15 days. Due to the new virus variant and the rapid transmission, caution must be exercised, says Prime Minister Antonio Costa, explaining the measure. The country reported 221 more Corona deaths on Thursday alone, the most ever in a single day, and 13,544 new infections.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilians celebrate arrival of Venezuelan oxygen supplies to struggling Manaus
Brazilians celebrate arrival of Venezuelan oxygen supplies to struggling Manaus
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Venezuela had announced on January 14 that in light of the humanitarian crisis provoked by a drastic increase in Covid-19 cases in Amazonas, it would send 130,000 litres of oxygen to support the struggling public health system. In addition to the oxygen tanks, the Venezuelan government also formed a brigade with 107 Brazilian and Venezuelan doctors, graduates of the Salvador Allende Latin American School of Medicine in Caracas, to help combat the pandemic in the State.

Brazil has been one of the worst impacted countries during the pandemic, which progressive movements have largely attributed to the mismanagement of the public health crisis by the federal government under far-right Jair Bolsonaro.

Lifestyle • Travel
Disneyland Paris reopening delayed until April
Disneyland Paris reopening delayed until April
Credit: unsplash.com/Lyle Hastie

Disneyland Paris announced on Monday that it would delay reopening until at least April 2nd. The park had initially planned to reopen on February 13th.

The company said in a statement that "due to the prevailing conditions in Europe, Disneyland Paris will not reopen on the 13th of February as initially planned. If conditions permit, we will reopen Disneyland Paris on the 2nd of April, 2021 and will welcome reservations from that date forward."

Regional News • World
Independent review panel criticises China and WHO for acting too slowly on Covid-19
Temperature monitoring area at Beijing Capital International Airport, 31/03/2020
Temperature monitoring area at Beijing Capital International Airport, 31/03/2020 Credit: N509FZ, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response has criticised China and the World Health Organization for not having acted fast enough to avert catastrophe during the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak. The Switzerland-based panel added that there was "potential for early signs to have been acted on more rapidly" in China at the start of the crisis.

"What is clear to the panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January (2020)," the report said.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria extends lockdown to February 7, mandates FFP2 masks
Austria extends lockdown to February 7, mandates FFP2 masks
Credit: Herzi Pinki, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Austrian government has extended the nationwide lockdown to February 7, citing the new mutation B.1.1.7 that was first discovered in the United Kingdom and the daily case count of well over 1000 newly confirmed infections. Chancellor Kurz promises "complete normality" until summer and warned that "we still have two to three tough months ahead of us".

FFP2 masks will be mandatory in all stores and on public transport and strongly recommended everywhere else from January 25 on. Starting February 8, non-essential businesses will be able to reopen while hotels, restaurants and the cultural sector will have to remain closed awaiting further evaluation in February.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria extends Covid-19 lockdown until at least February 7th

In Austria, the lockdown will be extended for the time being by two weeks until February 7. After that, the government announced in a press conference that there could be some initial easing. Trade and museums are then likely to reopen under strict conditions.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil: Oxygen shortage in Manaus, largest Amazon city, forces mass patient transfer
Brazil: Oxygen shortage in Manaus, largest Amazon city, forces mass patient transfer

Dozens of Covid-19 patients in Manaus, the Amazon rainforest's biggest city, will be flown out of state as the local health system collapses, authorities announced Thursday as dwindling stocks of oxygen tanks meant some people were starting to die breathless at home.

"Due to the strong impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the consumption of oxygen in the city increased exponentially over the last few days in comparison with a volume that was already extremely high," White Martins said in an emailed statement to Associate Press.

Brazilian influencers are running a crowdfunding campaign to delivery oxygen tanks to the city.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Ryanair to operate "few, if any" flights to or from the UK & Ireland
Ryanair to operate "few, if any" flights to or from the UK & Ireland
Credit: unsplash.com/Sangga Rima Roman Selia

Due to new lockdowns in Ireland, the United Kingdom and some other EU countries, the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair is drastically cutting its flight offerings starting January 21, the company announced Thursday.

From January 21, Ryanair plans to operate "few, if any" flights to and from British and Irish airports. This will apply until the severe travel restrictions are lifted.

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Tokyo: State of emergency declared issued amid Coronavirus surge

Japan has issued a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and three surrounding areas - Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba. Schools, gyms, cinemas and theatres will be allowed to remain open under certain restrictions. Restaurants will have to shorten their opening hours or be "named and shamed" by the government. The state of emergency will end of February 7th.

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Japan considers 1-month long state of emergency for Tokyo area

Japan is considering declaring a state of emergency as numbers of Coronavirus cases rise. It would apply to Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa. In his new year's speech, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga already hinted at measures to keep the virus from spreading. Japan reported 4520 new cases on December 31st and 3158 on January 3rd.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria goes into its third hard lockdown
Austria goes into its third hard lockdown
Credit: unsplash.com / Ashley Winkler

The Austrian government has imposed the nation's third lockdown, starting on Saturday 26, after giving people looser rules over the Christmas holidays. From Saturday on, all non-essential business and in-person education will remain closed until at least January 18 and people will not be allowed to leave their homes except for "necessary basic needs of life", exercise, work and health reasons.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
UK imposes strict lockdown on southeast England, including London
UK imposes strict lockdown on southeast England, including London
Credit: unsplash/Max van den Oetelaar

After a new Covid-19 strain was detected in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson abruptly imposed a Tier 4 lockdown on southeast England, including London, banning Christmas gatherings beyond individual households and support bubbles.

All non-essential shops and businesses have to close at midnight and residents are to stay at home except to travel for work or education. The new restrictions apply in London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London) and the East of England (Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire and Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring). The new restrictions will be reviewed on December 30.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria imposes third hard lockdown starting December 26
Austria imposes third hard lockdown starting December 26
Credit: Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Austrian government has announced the nation's third lockdown, starting on December 26 and lasting until January 18. Restaurants, museums, beauty establishments and schools will remain closed. Starting on January 18, the federal government is planning to make it compulsory for customers to show a negative Covid-19 test when entering a shop or restaurant, and the police are also to carry out random checks.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany enters lockdown as daily death record reaches 952
Germany enters lockdown as daily death record reaches 952
Credit: Bluemel1, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Germany is entering a strict lockdown on Wednesday as it reports its highest daily death count. 952 people have died of a Covid-19 infection over the past 24 hours, bringing the total death count to 23,427.

From today on until January 10th non-essential businesses will remain closed, including restaurants, museums and beauty salons.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced new national lockdown measures until the 10th of January.
Alexanderplatz, Berlin, during the Covid-19 outbreak in April 2020
Alexanderplatz, Berlin, during the Covid-19 outbreak in April 2020 Credit: Neomicro (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The German chancellor has announced the closure of stores, schools and daycare centres in the run-up to Christmas to stem the surge in coronavirus cases. The new rules will come into effect from Wednesday, December 16th and will last until January 10th

According to the new measures, retail will close except for essential goods. There will be a ban on fireworks ahead of New Year’s Eve, hair salons, schools and daycare centres will also close. Takeaway food and food delivery is still possible, but takeaway cannot be eaten near the place of purchase

Regional News • Europe • France
France imposes night curfew, cultural venues to remain closed
France imposes night curfew, cultural venues to remain closed
Credit: unsplash/Fran Boloni

The government of France has delayed easing Coronavirus restrictions for another three weeks as infection rates are still not decreasing fast enough. In addition, a nighttime curfew (8pm-6am) will be imposed on December 15th, and will include New Year's Eve as well but an exception will be made on Christmas Eve. Museums, cinemas and other cultural venues will remain closed into early January.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Cabin crew asked to wear nappies to "reduce virus risk"
Cabin crew asked to wear nappies to "reduce virus risk"
Credit: unsplash/@ewxy

The Chinese aviation regulator has sparked some controversy today by requesting that cabin crew wear disposable nappies, and refrain from using onboard toilets to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19.

This advice has been published in a new guideline book for airlines under 'personal protective equipment'.

The regulator was quick to point out that this requirement is only for flights into high COVID-19 areas; where infection exceeds 500 per 1 million people.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Self Isolation period shortened to 10 days in UK
Self Isolation period shortened to 10 days in UK
Credit: unsplash.com / Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona

From Monday, the amount of time you will need to self isolate in the UK will be changed from 14 to 10 days.

Due to falling numbers of infected, the four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMO) said "After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10. People who return from countries which are not on the travel corridor list should also self-isolate for 10 days instead of 14 days."

While Wales had already announced a change in isolation time, this new announcement from the CMOs will apply to all 4 states of the UK; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Regional News • Europe
Stockholm's ICU capacity has reached 99 percent
Stockholm's ICU capacity has reached 99 percent
Credit: unsplash.com / Linus Mimietz

The intensive care units of the hospitals in Stockholm have reached a capacity of 99 percent and are almost at a point where no new patients can be admitted.

Stockholm region's health and medical care director Björn Eriksson has called for help as "the consequences could be terrible" of nothing would change and if people "go for after-work drinks, do Christmas shopping or meet people outside your household".

Regional News • Europe • Germany
German state of Baden-Württemberg plans forced admission of Covid-19 quarantine breakers
German state of Baden-Württemberg plans forced admission of Covid-19 quarantine breakers
Credit: By Ra Boe / Wikipedia (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 DE)

The State Social Minister of Baden-Württemberg Manfred Lucha (Greens) has announced on Tuesday that people who do not go into quarantine despite a Covid-19 infection and do not respond to other sanctions will in the future be able to be forcibly admitted to central hospitals by the police. In addition, the state government wants to include a nationwide ban on the outdoor drinking of alcohol in the next Covid-19 ordinance.