Politicians across Europe have started to signal that the end is near for the lockdowns that they imposed to “control the spread of the coronavirus,” with French President Emmanuel Macron announcing a three-stage easing of his own country’s lockdown.
Macron’s reading of the situation seems to be more optimistic than that of his German and British counterparts.
London Announces Reimposition of Strict Lockdowns
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Thursday that almost all parts of England will face harsh coronavirus curbs, with a ban on households mixing indoors and restrictions on hospitality after December 2.
The only parts of the country that will come under the less restrictive tier one of England’s three-tier lockdown system are the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. People in all other parts of the country set to face more serious restrictions to their freedom.
Many Parts of England are Facing Tough Restrictions
This includes large swathes of the Midlands, the northeast and the northwest, which will be placed under tier three restrictions. London will be in tier two.
The last time Johnson imposed the three-tier system, pubs and restaurants had to close their doors at 10 pm, but this time they will be allowed to remain open until 11 pm if they are doing business within tier one or tier two areas.
Other restrictions within tier one include:
- Follow the rule of six if meeting indoors or outdoors.
- People encouraged to minimize travel and work from home.
- Limited numbers at sports events.
- Personal care including hairdressing allowed.
Tier two areas will have to abide by the following rules:
- No household mixing indoors.
- Rule of six will apply outdoors.
- Alcohol can only be served as part of a “substantial” meal.
Tier three measures are far more severe. For example, no household mixing is allowed indoors or outdoors in hospitality venues or private gardens, with restaurants and pubs closed except for delivery and takeaway.
Merkel Says Infection Count Remains Too High
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that her new lockdown rules are “light” She thrashed out an agreement with Germany’s 16 regional leaders on Wednesday to extend and tighten measures against the coronavirus. Like the British Prime Minister, she will ease the rules during Christmas to allow relatives to spend time with each other.
Under Germany’s lockdown rules, bars and restaurants will remain open only for takeaway while nurseries, schools and shops will remain open.
From December 1, private gatherings will be restricted to five adults, with that number rising to 10 over Christmas.
Both leaders have imposed these draconian measures because they believe that the fight against the virus is not over. Johnson vowed to do everything to avoid a second national lockdown, but when such plans were leaked to the British press, it was revealed that a document suggested infections are projected to be “50 to 150 percent” greater than in the first wave.
Merkel said that infections in Germany remained too high, which is why she is introducing them during the Christmas period.
Johnson and Merkel have vowed to end their countries’ lockdowns in March, as many different COVID-19 vaccines should be available by then.
These Lockdown Measures Will Prove to be Disastrous
Despite this, the way these recent lockdown measures have been implemented in both countries has been nothing short of a disaster. Many in the German media have voiced concerns about a lack of clear guidelines and the confusion over school rules.
Seventy Tory MPs are expected to rebel against the British Prime Minister’s latest plans, spurred in particular by their illogical imposition. For example, places such as Penshurst in Kent have been placed under tier three restrictions despite experiencing no coronavirus deaths.
Many hospitality chiefs in the UK have also expressed concern over three-quarters of pubs and restaurants being made “unviable” by the tier two and tier three restrictions.
Johnson and Merkel are both optimistic that they can defeat the virus in the near future, and that the end is in sight. But the damage their policies have caused will soon become obvious for all to see. Many of their citizens will start asking whether it was all worth it, and many electoral opportunities will also soon emerge where voters can express their anger.