European countries have expanded vaccines to strengthen COVID-19 vaccines, launched plans to shoot young children and tightened some restrictions as the continent faced a rise in coronavirus cases and concerns about its economic downturn have grown.
Slovakia entered a two-week blockade, with the Czech government declaring a 30-day state of emergency to close bars and clubs early and a ban on Christmas markets, while Germany on Thursday exceeded the threshold of 100,000 dead associated with COVID-19.
It is in Europe heart According to the latest wave of COVID-19, it has reported one million new infections every two days and now accounts for nearly two-thirds of new infections worldwide.
The European Commission on Thursday proposed that EU residents should take booster shots if they want to travel to another bloc country next summer without testing or quarantine.
In France, authorities announced that the boosters would be available to everyone over the age of 18, rather than those over the age of 65 and with basic health problems.
Many countries are expanding or increasing booster shots, even though the World Health Organization wants to fully integrate the most vulnerable people around the world in the first place.
In Africa, where only 6.6 percent of the 1.2 billion population is fully vaccinated, many countries are struggling with the logistics to accelerate inoculation campaigns as vaccine shipments eventually grow, the head of the African Disease Control Organization said Thursday.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Wednesday advised all adults to strengthen the vaccine, a priority for those over 40 years of age.
The number of new daily cases in Germany reached a record 75,961 on Thursday and its total death toll has reached 100,119 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases.
Dominic Kane of Al Jazeera, reported from Berlin, said German authorities were struggling with the rise in cases, forcing some hospitals to send patients to other European countries.
“In Germany … a lot of hospitals are being filled with people who haven’t been vaccinated and have caught the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which we know is much more infectious,” Kan said.
“And because hospitals are filling up, they can’t find enough space, so they are urging European allies to take some of the patients,” he added.
Shots for youngsters
In some countries there is a growing push to include younger children.
EU drug caregivers on Thursday approved the use of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine at a lower dose in children aged 5 to 11, after it was allowed in May for children aged 12 years. The European Commission will make a final decision, which is expected on Friday.
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were preparing to vaccinate the youngest children after being approved by the European Medicines Agency, although no deliveries were made until December 20.
In France, where the number of infections is doubling every 11 days, Health Minister Olivier Veran said he would ask health regulators to look into whether children aged 5 to 11 should be able to get vaccinated.
Nearly half a million lives have been saved across Europe as a result of the vaccine among people aged 60 and over since the vaccine began spreading, the World Health Organization’s regional office said on Thursday in a study with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Many European countries are tightening their borders.
The state of emergency announced by the Czech Republic allows the government to impose restrictions on public life. Local authorities ordered the closure of bars and clubs at 22:00 (21:00 GMT), banned Christmas markets and restricted 1,000 people from attending cultural and sporting events.
The two-week blockade from Thursday after post-Slovakia Austria began the blockade on Monday. Slovakia, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the EU, has reported a serious state of affairs in hospitals and new infections that have dominated the world.
Authorities ordered the closure of all essential shops and services and banned people from traveling outside their neighborhoods unless they went to work, school or medicine. Gatherings of more than six people were prohibited.
French authorities have said the rules for wearing face masks will be tightened and health card controls used to enter public places will be tightened. But officials said there was no need to follow up on European countries that have re-imposed the blockades.
In Germany, Greens leader Annalena Baerbock said the new government, the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP), had given her 10 days to decide whether further cuts were needed.
A large part of Germany has already established rules to restrict access to internal activities for people who have been vaccinated or cured.
In the Netherlands, the number of coronavirus patients in hospital has reached an unprecedented level since early May, and experts have warned that hospitals will achieve full capacity in less than a week if the virus is not present.
The Dutch government said it would take strong measures to reduce infections. The national broadcaster NOS announced on Thursday that the main group managing the government’s appearances has recommended closing restaurants, bars and non-essential shops as part of a new blockade measure package by 5pm.