The World Health Organization (WHO) has said earlier this week that the ‘brutal’ lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions is the main reason why several European countries have been registering a sharp increase in infection cases.
The latest subvariant of the Omicron variant, known as BA2, has been circulating at a high rate in several countries, especially in France, Italy, Ireland, Cyprus, Greece, and Germany.
Speaking at a press conference held in Moldova, WHO Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said that he was optimistic but cautious at the same time about the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that he expected the infection cases to increase.
According to the data provided by WHO, the countries mentioned above have been registering an average of over 450,000 infection cases over the last seven days.
France registered 617,343 new infection cases in the last seven days. During the same period, Germany registered 1,561,794 new cases, Italy registered 492,283 new cases, Greece registered 153,886 new cases, Ireland registered 36,473 new cases, and Cyprus registered 25,858 new cases.
According to France 24, Kluge said that the leading cause of this increase is due to the countries lifting their restrictions “brutally from too much to too few.”
Ireland is one of the most recent countries to lift all of its COVID-19 restrictions. Since March 6, all travellers have been permitted restriction-free entry. This means that Ireland currently allows entry to all travellers, even to those who do not hold a valid vaccination, recovery, or test certificate.
France has also relaxed some of its restrictions. Since March 14, travellers, as well as French citizens, have been able to access different public places and events without being required to wear a face mask.
In addition, the same has also abolished the requirement to present proof of vaccination when entering bars, restaurants, nightclubs, museums, theatres, fairs, exhibitions, and stadiums, among others.
The other countries mentioned above – Italy, Cyprus, Greece, and Germany – have also lifted some of their restrictions.
Italy has been applying less stringent entry rules for all travellers, including those from third countries. Since early March, all persons have been able to enter Italy by only presenting a vaccination, recovery, or test certificate.
In addition, the country is also planning to remove the remaining of its domestic COVID-19 restrictions by the end of this month.
Greece has also made it easier for travellers to enter the country. All persons, regardless of their country of origin, can now enter Greece without having to complete the Passenger Locator Form prior to their arrival.
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