Europe Cracks Down on the Unvaccinated

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December 4. Even before the shock emergence of the omicron variant, Europe’s coronavirus battle was on shaky ground.

Cases surging at a record pace, hospitalizations and deaths on the rise — it’s setting up to be a nightmare winter for the continent yet again. The omicron mutation has added an extra layer of uncertainty, but the continent’s immediate problem is grappling with the wave of infections that’s already put countries back into lockdown.

Germany’s government on Thursday became the latest to ramp up its response, putting stringent restrictions on the unvaccinated and may even make shots compulsory. Austria has already proposed mandatory vaccinations, while other countries plan to fine those who refuse.

The drastic steps are a response to a drastic situation. In Austria, seven-day cases topped 1,100 per 100,000 people at one point. That’s eight times the average over the preceding three months. Since the lockdown, the number has dropped, though hospital admissions, which lag, are still near a peak. Figures have been less dramatic elsewhere, though the trend has been up in many countries, including Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Greece.

The new targeted measures reflect a view that while there are multiple factors behind the latest wave of Covid infections — from cold weather to people letting their guard down — one major element is vaccines. European Union countries may have managed to put about 640 million shots into arms, but even with that huge effort, about 150 million people still aren’t fully vaccinated.

Source: Bloomberg

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91070cookie-checkEurope Cracks Down on the Unvaccinated