[Epoch Times November 23, 2021](Epoch Times reporter Winnie’s comprehensive report) The intensified epidemic in Europe has forced countries to restart restrictive measures. Austria is the first country to implement a severe blockade again. On the 22nd (Monday), Austria entered a nationwide lockdown for the fourth time. At the same time, other countries have also adopted restrictive measures, but many countries have triggered strong protests.
Starting from Monday, Austria will require residents not to go out except for work, sports and purchasing necessities for the next 10 to 20 days. The authorities advise people to work remotely and ask parents to keep their children at home as much as possible, even though the school remains open.
For those who have been vaccinated, the current round of blockade will end on December 13, but those who have not been vaccinated will continue to be restricted. Austria has previously imposed a lockdown on unvaccinated people, banning them from entering bars, hotels, gyms, restaurants and other public places, and they can only go to work if they test negative for the virus at least twice a week.
According to the latest blockade policy, those who go out without a valid reason may face a fine of up to 1,450 euros (approximately 1,638 U.S. dollars).
In addition, the Austrian government requires that from February 1 next year, all adults in Austria must be vaccinated. So far, only the Vatican in Western countries has imposed a vaccine injunction on its approximately 800 residents.
A government official said that the Vienna authorities will issue vaccination appointment letters to approximately 340,000 unvaccinated residents in the next few days; if the recipient refuses to receive the vaccination, they may face a fine of up to 3,600 euros (approximately US$4,000).
According to data from the University of Oxford, approximately two-thirds (66%) of Austria’s nearly 9 million residents have been vaccinated, which is slightly lower than the EU average but higher than the United States. The latest data shows that the 7-day average of new cases on Sunday is as high as 1,531.7 per million people, more than five times that of the United States.
Although governments in various countries generally blame the new round of epidemics on people who have not been vaccinated, experts generally believe that vaccine protection seems to weaken within a few months after vaccination. Although vaccination can greatly reduce the risk of serious illness or death, It does not prevent the spread of the virus or re-infection.
German Chancellor: The surge in cases is worse than anything else
Infection cases in Germany have been increasing at a record rate in recent days, especially in Eastern Saxony, where the 7-day incidence rate has soared to nearly 1,000 per person, nearly three times the national average.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that the recent surge in infections is worse than anything Germany has experienced so far, and called for stricter restrictions to curb the spread of the epidemic. This week she has urged 16 German states to implement more restrictive measures. The German states can to a large extent formulate their own restrictive policies.
Merkel, who has been in power for 16 years, will step down as soon as next month. She has been calling on Germany to fight the virus almost frantically.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn declared at a press conference on Monday that people who have not been vaccinated will almost certainly be infected with the virus in the next few months, and some of them will die. Earlier, he said after Austria announced the blockade again, the possibility of a complete blockade by Germany cannot be ruled out.
According to data from the German Intensive Care Association DIV I, hospitals in Germany are becoming more and more nervous. The number of infections in the intensive care unit on Monday has risen to about 3,840. Among them, severely ill patients in Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia account for more than 30% of the total number of severely ill patients in Germany.
Starting this week, Bavaria will close clubs and bars, stores will reduce capacity, restaurants will close before 10 pm, and the most severely affected areas may face stricter restrictions. Among other measures, Saxony has also closed clubs and bars.
Protests broke out in many European countries
Due to the rapid increase in the epidemic, European countries have successively introduced epidemic restrictions, but the new round of restrictions has triggered strong protests from people in many countries. Last weekend, people in Austria, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Croatia took to the streets to protest the government’s policy of restricting the epidemic.
After Austria announced a new round of restrictions last Friday, it triggered a strong protest. The next day (Saturday) about 40,000 people held a demonstration in the capital Vienna. The authorities stated that although the demonstrations were mainly peaceful, more than 10 people were still arrested for throwing rocks and fireworks at the police.
Belgium is one of the countries with the highest vaccination rates in Europe, but there is still a sharp increase in cases, especially in West Flanders, which has the most vaccination rate, but the infection rate is among the highest in the country. Last week, the Belgian government implemented restrictions again, expanding the rules for working from home and tightening restrictions on those who have not been vaccinated. But the government’s move triggered strong protests.
On Sunday, 35,000 people in Brussels participated in a peaceful protest near the EU headquarters. The protest then turned into violence, and the police deployed water cannons, tear gas and mounted police to respond to the crowd throwing projectiles. After some rioters broke into multiple shops, the police arrested more than 40 people and three policemen were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
The Netherlands has implemented a three-week epidemic restriction measure starting from November 13, including restoring the 1.5-meter social distancing requirement in public places and restricting the business hours of commercial stores. In addition, the government has also advanced the vaccination booster vaccination that was originally scheduled to start in December by two weeks, and plans to provide passes only to those who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from infection, and no longer include those who have tested negative.
Beginning last Friday night, with Rotterdam as the leader, anti-epidemic demonstrations broke out in various cities in the Netherlands for three consecutive nights, causing riots and causing many injuries. The demonstrators burned police cars and threw rocks and fireworks at the police. The police used water cannons and warning guns to disperse the crowd and arrested more than 100 people.
In France, the government requires a vaccination certificate or the latest negative test to enter restaurants and movie theaters, but promises not to increase other restrictions. However, violence broke out in Guadeloupe overseas in France last week to protest the government’s mandatory vaccination of health workers. The police arrested at least 38 people, and dozens of shops were looted.
In Rome, Italy, about 3,000 people gathered at the Circus Maximus last Saturday to protest the government’s requirement to show “green passes” when traveling in workplaces, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, and public transport.
On the same day, in Northern Ireland, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside Belfast City Hall to protest against vaccine passports.
In Denmark, more than 1,000 people gathered outside the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen to oppose the reintroduction of health passes.
In Croatia, thousands of people gathered in the capital Zagreb to stage a protest, holding the Croatian flag, nationalist and religious symbols, and banners “opposing vaccinations and restricting freedom”. @
Editor in charge: Shao Yi