Europe is relaxing
US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — What easing is there in other European countries, how does the population react and what is the so-called new reality abroad in Great Britain, Spain, Norway, Austria and Poland?
Great Britain: The time of strict isolation is over
The British still have to be patient. It is too early for a complete curfew. Although Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lockdown on March 23, Britain has the highest number of victims in Europe with more than 33,000 deaths . In terms of mortality, the number is even 50,000 dead. Mortality refers to an increased number of deaths over a period of time.
The UK hesitated to curfew and then took too long to expand testing capacity. The authorities cannot therefore narrow the focus of infection so well. Boris Johnson therefore announced only a cautious phased plan to relax a week ago . As health policy is a matter for the state governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the new rules only apply to England.
There is the time of strict isolation over. Those who cannot work from home should return to work this week. This particularly affected the workforce in the manufacturing industry and people in the construction industry. The problem: It is hardly possible to keep your distance in local traffic. That is why the government recommends wearing face masks on buses and trains, and even better to go to work by car, bike or motorcycle.
Anyone who can work in the home office will continue to sit at the computer with the children in the background. School only starts again in June. Then the retail trade may open again. Mouthguards are recommended. Until June only grocery stores, pharmacies and garden centers remained open.
After all: You can meet friends again, but only outdoors and only one person at a time.
Depending on the effects of these first measures on the infection rate, restaurants, pubs, cinemas and hairdressing shops as well as churches and mosques will be allowed to reopen from July 4th.
However, sporting events can only take place without an audience.
It is still unclear whether the government is implementing its plan to order a 14-day quarantine for air travelers. Such a quarantine arrangement should at least not apply to people who come to Great Britain from abroad by Eurostar or ferry .
Poland: scenes like in communism
“Stój – Halt!”: Anyone who approaches the German-Polish border in the wrong place must expect sharp rejection in May 2020, as in a pre-Schengen period that was long believed to have passed. But even if you try one of the 16 approved crossings, as a non-Pole you have little chance of entry as long as you are not involved in the goods traffic. Polish citizens returning to their homeland must be in quarantine for 14 days. Exceptions have been in effect for commuters since the beginning of May.
No further improvement is in sight for the time being. The government in Warsaw has just extended the strict control regime until June 12 . Not everyone likes that. “This government includes us again,” says Basil Kerski, head of the European Solidarity Center in Gdansk, and recalls the restrictions on freedom of travel in the communist era.
In fact, the anti-corona measures in Poland were significantly stricter from the start than in Germany , although the numbers of infected and Covid 19 deaths were and are much lower (currently 17,469 infected, 869 deaths).
Border controls, school and daycare closures, contact bans, mask requirement: In all areas, Poland was earlier than Germany and acted more sharply. Even walks in forests and parks were initially taboo. The loosening is now waiting longer. It started with shopping centers and selected cultural institutions, mostly museums, last week. In the coming week, hairdressers, cosmetic salons and parts of the catering industry will again be allowed to serve customers, albeit under strict conditions.
The first school openings for classes one to three are planned for May 25th. Many commentators in Warsaw were initially surprised by their own compatriots. The freedom-loving Poles, who are sometimes said to have a penchant for anarchy, have long been disciplined. There were initially only protests at the German-Polish border, where commuters in particular were outraged by the strict rules. In Warsaw , however, many self-employed people and people with a small company recently took to the streets – and went on strike as in the days of Solidarność .
Austria: Arrived in the “new” normal
That was probably not what Sebastian Kurz had imagined. The Austrian Chancellor paid a visit to the Kleinwalsertal in Vorarlberg on Wednesday. People flocked to him, the regulations that were still valid – a meter away from non-household people in public space – were ignored.
Briefly called from the stage to discipline. But of course he knew that these were not beautiful pictures. One could see how the Chancellor, who was otherwise always controlled, felt uncomfortable.
Such pictures are not welcome because they could disrupt the beautiful history of the black-green coalition. The story is: Austria reacted early and decisively, got the infection numbers under control and was therefore able to start up the country again early . Under the wise guidance of their government, people have been disciplined and continue to do so. The basics of the story are not wrong either.
A lot is happening again in Austria. Small shops were allowed to reopen from mid-April; Since May 1st, the Austrians have had their hair cut again; the gradual opening of the schools started on May 4th and continues throughout the month. As of Friday, the gastronomy will reopen under strict conditions.
In spite of masks, life in Austria now feels almost normal again. Maybe a little too normal. After the initial restrictions were largely lifted on May 1, concerns increased that the number of infections could increase again. Because people went out again and sat together in the parks. So far, the infection centers in Austria have not risen further, the easing does not seem to have had a negative impact.
Support for the measures remains high, but is no longer unconditional. There are demonstrations against measures in Austria too, but they are rather manageable – the largest had almost 300 participants, many of whom were supporters of conspiracy theories.
But even in Austria, the diffuse rumble among those affected by the restrictions, be they innkeepers or cultural workers, is becoming louder. And so the public debate is evolving – away from coping with the health and towards coping with the economic crisis.
Norway: The schools will be fully open on Monday
Happy Norway : The country has so far come through the Corona crisis relatively unscathed. 232 deaths – that’s not even half as many as in the similarly large neighboring country Denmark and Norway is also far away from Swedish conditions with its more than 3,500 deceased Covid 19 sufferers. Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s government has, however, set a tough course for her country from the start. Public life has been shut down.
With success: the number of reproductions is now below 0.5. Norway breathes a sigh of relief. Kindergartens and primary schools have been open since the end of April. “So far we have not been able to determine that the opening of schools and daycare centers has had a negative impact on the epidemiological situation,” says Frode Forland, chief epidemiologist at the national health authority.
Therefore, the secondary schools will follow on Monday. Without masks, but with a distance control of one meter. Sports halls can also open again in Norway. The ban on meetings is relaxed. In a private environment, you can meet up to 20 people again – provided you keep a distance of one meter here.
Norway also has a road map to open the country. The next stage will follow on June 15th. Then events of up to 200 people are allowed again. The borders are also becoming more permeable. Not for everyone, but for those who own a holiday home in Norway or want to visit family members.
Nevertheless, the corona crisis has left its mark on society. In Norway, which otherwise had equal rights, suddenly gender roles are discussed again. Because while the schools were closed, women in Norway also bore the main burden in many families. Curt Rice, the rector of Oslo Metropolitan University, caused a sensation with a very pragmatic proposal. He wants to bring his employees back to the university from their home office. Because in the past few weeks they should have put the most back on their jobs. The men could be detained.
Spain: uprising of the privileged
The Salamanca district is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Madrid. At 50,376 euros, household income doubles the Spanish average of 28,417. The epicenter of the Spanish corona protests has been here since last Sunday: Every evening, at a little after eight, a few dozen residents with Spanish flags pull their shoulders through the streets, chanting Libertad – freedom.
They demand the resignation of the government under Pedro Sánchez. It is ruining Spain and making the country a “new Venezuela”.
A middle-aged gentleman hitting a traffic sign with a golf club has become a symbol of the protests. The number of participants is low, but in the conservative regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso the “uprising of the top one percent” ( El País ) has found a vocal and argumentative advocate. Similar conditions threatened everywhere due to the “dictatorial measures” of the Sánchez government, according to the conservative politician.
In fact, Spain is reluctant to loosen its curfew. The government’s four-step plan provides for bans to be lifted depending on the number of people infected and the occupancy rate of the health system in the individual provinces.
Since the beginning of May, people across the country have been able to go jogging, cycling or walking again and, upon prior notification, picking up a pre-ordered pizza from the hairdresser or restaurant. So far, only 28 of the 50 provinces have reached stage two of the easing plan. The hotspots of Madrid and Barcelona and large parts of central Spain are not among them.
While in Seville or in the Canary Islands you can already drink a cool beer or a café con leche outside in the sun , up to ten friends or relatives are allowed to meet and you can go to boutiques or other small shops under conditions but without prior notice shopping for everyday needs is still taboo in the metropolis and large parts of the country . So far, however, this has only become a political bone of contention in Madrid. After all.
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