Due to worries over the Omicron version, France has imposed stronger Covid limitations.
Remote working will become mandatory for those who can begin on January 3rd, and public gatherings will be limited to 2,000 persons for indoor events.
The announcement comes after France reported over 100,000 new illnesses on Saturday, the highest amount since the pandemic began.
However, France’s prime minister did not impose a curfew on New Year’s Eve.
As infections rise and the new Omicron form spreads across Europe, countries are increasing their restrictions.
According to studies, the strain is gentler than Delta, with a 30% to 70% lower risk of infected persons ending up in the hospital. However, there are concerns that the sheer volume of cases will overburden hospitals.
‘A film without a conclusion’
At a news conference following a crisis cabinet meeting, French Prime Minister Jean Castex told reporters that the pandemic felt “like a film without a finale.”
Coronavirus infections were doubling every two days, according to Health Minister Olivier Véran, who warned of a “mega tsunami” of new cases.
Outdoor public gatherings would be limited to 5,000 people under the new laws, and eating and drinking will be prohibited on long-distance transportation.
Nightclubs will be closed till further notice, and only table service will be available at cafés and bars. Employees who work from home at least three days a week will be required to do so. In city centres, wearing a mask will be required.
The government is also reducing the period between booster doses from four to three months following the last vaccine.
If parliament passes a draught bill, France’s planned vaccine pass, which will demand proof of vaccination rather than just a negative test to enter public spaces, will take effect on January 15th.
Mr Castex, on the other hand, did not impose a complete lockdown or a New Year’s Eve curfew. On the 3rd of January, schools will return as scheduled.
France currently has an average of more than 70,000 new illnesses per day, according to the country’s coronavirus dashboard.
According to data from France’s public health authority, more than 1,600 more hospitalizations were recorded on Monday, increasing the total number of individuals in hospital as a result of Covid-19 to 17,000.
Omicron: The good, the evil, and the meaning of it all
Where are the most cases on the Covid map?
Additional limits have been imposed in Germany and Greece as governments attempt to halt the tide of positive cases elsewhere in Europe.
In numerous German states, public gatherings have been limited, and gyms, swimming pools, nightclubs, and theatres will be closed to the public. A maximum of ten people will be allowed in a private gathering of vaccinated people.
At least ten police officers were injured and around 100 protesters were arrested in the German town of Bautzen on Monday, according to local media, as people took to the streets to protest new measures.
The Greek government will order bars and restaurants to close by midnight starting on January 3rd, and tables will be limited to six people. According to the Reuters news agency, venues would not be able to cater to standing clients, and if they do not comply, music will be prohibited in those locations.
Denmark, with a population of 5.8 million people, has the highest infection rate in the world, with 1,612 infections per 100,000 people. In the last 24 hours, seven people have died. In order to prevent new infections, it has shuttered cultural attractions and reduced the hours of operation in bars and restaurants.
In the run-up to Christmas, Iceland reduced the number of individuals allowed at gatherings due to an increase in the number of cases. Until mid-December, the island nation had never reported more than 200 daily cases, but it has already recorded 672 illnesses in the last 24 hours.
On Tuesday, bar and restaurant opening hours in Finland will be restricted, with bars shutting at 18:00 and restaurants serving food until 20:00, as long as customers have a Covid passport. Some fast food restaurants have announced that they will close at 18:00 as well.
In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has stated that no additional Covid limits will be enforced in England before the new year. However, he advised people to “be cautious” and celebrate New Year’s Eve outside if possible.
Over the Christmas period, both England and Scotland reported a high number of cases.