No masks, new rules, less controls: this is how countries react to Omicron

International comparison

No masks, new regulations, less controls: countries react so differently to Omikron

Sunday, January 23, 2022 | 07:55

The omicron variant of the coronavirus has caused the number of cases around the world to increase like never before during a pandemic. In contrast, the means by which different countries respond to this extremely contagious option vary greatly.

In Germany, the Bundestag will debate the introduction of a general vaccination obligation in the last full week of January. This was still considered relatively probable in early December, when the new federal government decided to make a duty for certain professions one of the first actions, but the number of skeptics about the vaccination obligation is rising again. This is probably mainly due to the limited effectiveness of booster vaccinations against the omicron variant.

Always informed: news of the crown pandemic – RKI gives another record! 140 160 new cases – the frequency of shoots above 700

The current 7-day incidence rose for the first time in Germany on January 21st above the 700 threshold, and the rate of full immunization without booster is just over 73 percent. How are other countries doing?

Israel: Changing Strategy in Coronation Policy

In a small country in the southeastern tip of the Mediterranean, the 7-day incidence is now well over 4,000. While Israel, also known as the “corona lab of the world,” was the king of vaccination at the start of the pandemic, only 62 percent of the 9.4 million inhabitants are fully vaccinated.

The strong growth is probably mainly due to a change in strategy: the government no longer imposes blockades, but only imposes some general restrictions, for example on shopping centers and meetings. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis are currently in quarantine. The national medical association now advocates treating the crown as a normal contagious disease. According to the Ministry of Health, the peak of the omicron wave should reach the end of January.

Spain: Treat omicron like the flu

The 7-day incidence in Spain is overall declining and is now almost 2000. As in Israel, here doctors tend to treat Corona more like a flu virus in the future after significantly reducing the high incidence.

Rather than having full control of the infection chain, which is no longer possible in the case of very high morbidity, only some medical facilities scattered across the country should report up-to-date coronation statistics to the health authorities. The results can then be extrapolated to the whole country. This is to ensure that Corona does not paralyze the entire healthcare system and that other seriously ill people can be re-treated as usual.

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Austria: compulsory vaccinations and fines

On January 20, Austria was the first country in Europe to introduce compulsory vaccinations for citizens over 18 years of age. Compulsory vaccination in Italy and Greece has so far only applied to the elderly. For breaches of this obligation, fines ranging from 600 to 3,600 euros can be imposed, to which citizens must pay by mid-March at the latest.

Mandatory vaccination has not been introduced specifically for the Omikron variant. But while this could at least delay compulsory vaccinations in Germany, the Austrians were not irritated by the lower effectiveness of the booster vaccinations for this variant, and they went with it. The goal is to vaccinate 85 to 90 percent of the vaccinated population from the age of five. So far, the rate is 75 percent. The 7-day maturity is currently just over 1,200.

Czech Republic: New government cancels compulsory vaccinations

On January 19, the new Czech government of Pietro Fiali abolished compulsory vaccinations for seniors and some professional groups, which was decided only in December by the previous government of Andrej Babis. The reason was that one did not want “deep gaps in society.” The law was to enter into force in March and was intended for citizens over 60, policemen, firefighters, soldiers and health workers.

At the same time, the new government launched a new edition of family law. It gives far-reaching powers to health authorities – such as closing stores. The vaccination rate in the Czech Republic is considered very low, at just under 63 percent. The frequency of occurrence is currently around 1000.

Great Britain: “Living With Covid-19”

On January 19, the UK lifted some of the crown laws imposed in December, including the obligation to wear respiratory masks and work at home. Not long before that, the quarantine requirement had been cut to five days. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced that the quarantine rules, which expire on March 24, may also be lifted earlier. Vaccination certificates will also no longer be compulsory from January 26.

Johnson’s health minister, Sahid Javid, also announced a plan in the spring which he described as “Living With Covid-19.” It is based on a mix of tests, antivirals and other vaccines that should form the “backbone of future defense” against the coronavirus.

The number of infections in the UK has dropped significantly in the past two weeks. While the incidence at the turn of the year was sometimes over 2,000, it has now fallen below 1,000.

However, Johnson is currently facing sharp accusations from the Tories of the “Partygate” scandal. The idea is to attend the closing events at the government headquarters on 10 Downing Street, London, where Johnson and others broke the rules on the crown.

With agencies