Coronavirus: What Europeans have learned from a year of pandemic

2 月 22, 2021World News

Restrictions are tough for societies used to freedom

While the famous sites of Rome and Barcelona came to a standstill under lockdown, a curfew triggered riots in Dutch citiesIMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES
image captionWhile the streets and tourist sites of Rome and Barcelona came to a standstill under lockdown, a curfew triggered riots in Dutch cities

Spain’s lockdown was among the harshest in Europe, says Nekane Balluerka Lasa, professor of behavioural sciences methodology at the University of the Basque Country. Isolation was particularly hard for older people and lower-income families, especially if there was no nuclear unit. Spaniards are used to social interaction. Infections came down, but the economic cost was very high and the main lesson was the impact on people’s mental health. Maybe that explains why it wasn’t possible to keep it going. Our study found that 46% of people felt grave psychological distress.

Italians were initially frightened into uncharacteristic obedience, says BBC Rome correspondent Mark Lowen. They were the first to be crushed by the virus, the first to see intensive care units close to collapse, and friends and family dying. Very widespread respect for restrictions began to change with the second wave, with some protests against renewed lockdowns, given the fear and fatigue.

The Dutch didn’t have a lockdown until December, but when a curfew was imposed in January, riots broke out, says BBC Hague correspondent Anna Holligan. Tensions had been festering. The unrest exposed an undercurrent of resentment across generations and came after a childcare allowance scandal had brought down the government. Most accepted the lockdown, but those already frustrated felt emboldened after the government had broken its own rules.

Germany’s initial strategy was to test widely and then track and interrupt chains of infection, says BBC Berlin correspondent Jenny Hill. It worked until cases spiralled last autumn. The vast majority of Germans support lockdown measures, surveys suggest. But there has been furious resistance from some, who have protested, usually without masks or social distancing. Some are simply concerned by the impact of lockdown restrictions, but the protests tend to bring together conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers and far-right activists.

Slovenia has endured some of the tightest restrictions in Europe, and yet it has one of the world’s highest death rates, says BBC Balkans correspondent Guy Delauney. Internal travel was banned from October until mid-February, most shops were shut and schools went online. Epidemiologists are baffled, but people here suspect that private socialising continued despite the emergency measures.

Sweden avoided a lockdown and built its strategy largely around voluntary social distancing guidelines, says BBC reporter Maddy Savage in Stockholm. The public largely complied at the start but, as cases spiked during the second wave, compliance got slacker. Tighter guidelines came in on alcohol sales and customers in bars and restaurants. But it wasn’t until the turn of the year that a new pandemic law gave ministers greater powers to limit numbers in shops and on long-distance trains and buses.

Chapter divider

News

How many Covid cases does China have and what are its rules?

By Wanyuan Song BBC News China has seen its first deaths from Covid-19 in six months, and thousands more people are catching the disease, despite the government's strict lockdown policy. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said China should rethink its strategy....

Covid in Scotland: The latest cases

The number of Covid-19 infections in Scotland has fallen, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS Covid infection survey estimates an average of 97,500 people were infected on any given day in the week up to 8 November - that's about one in 55...

About Us

Taiwan Cloud Environmental Technology Co., Ltd

(TCET)

HeadOffice:2F, No. 128, 1st sec. Freedom Road, Taichung403, Taiwan.

TEL:+886 4 22257222