Actual usage of the app for reporting and tracking cases was extremely low. Throughout the two years of the pandemic, just over 1% percent of the 11.6 million cases officially diagnosed in Spain were then reported on the application.
A coalition of 36 MEPs spanning the entirety of the Left-Right spectrum have signed onto an initiative which, among other things, calls for the immediate resignation of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who’s accused of playing a central role in a “gigantic Covid-19 scientific fraud.”
The Prime Minister’s announcement offered some promise of relief, but the reality remains that a great number of people, those over the age of fifty, are still held hostage to the government’s COVID mandates.
With a vaccination rate of 88% over the age of 12, Italy has deemed it necessary to enforce a new mandate barring unvaccinated citizens over the age of 50 from going to work. The new mandate is scheduled to last until June 15th, while at the same time other COVID measures are being relaxed.
“People died, it’s been a very hard time. Corona cast a shadow over our lives and sometimes divided us to the bone,” Dutch Health Minister Ernst Kuipers said as he announced the lifting of COVID restrictions, to begin February 18th.
A COVID law proposed by Poland’s ruling PiS party has been rejected by the Polish Parliament. While opponents of COVID restrictions celebrate, some members of the opposition predict the downfall of the PiS.
As other European countries reduce their COVID regulations, Austria has gone the other way. As of February 5th, Austria became Europe’s first country with mandatory COVID vaccination rules for all adults. But the implementation of the rule remains a challenge.
“It’s starting to be time to open up Sweden again. The pandemic is not over but on its way into a whole new phase,” the prime minister said, noting that the decision to ditch restrictions was prompted by an improved understanding of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
This weekend’s protests, which follow massive demonstrations organized last week by the pan-European pro-democracy group Europeans United, saw tens of thousands of demonstrators rally in Austria, France, Germany, Spain, and the Czech Republic to challenge heavy-handed restrictions and oppose mandates.
Ahead of planned demonstrations against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and oppressive restriction measures set to take place over the weekend in France and Austria, US Embassies in Paris and Vienna have issued demonstration alerts, calling on US citizens to avoid the vicinities of the protests.
The new law, the brainchild of the center-right ÖVP and the Greens and opposed by the FPÖ, allows citizens’ vaccination status to be checked by police. Fines for infractions will range from €600 to €3600.
Shortly after some 3,000 people gathered in front of the National Assembly last Wednesday in Sofia, tempers flared, and demonstrators—comprised heavily of supporters of the irredentist-nationalist Revival party—clashed with police and stormed towards the parliament, coming just several meters away from the main entrance.
The year 2022 is starting badly for the French government. While it wanted to use the outbreak of the omicron variant in France to impose the vaccine pass before mid-January, things are looking more complicated than expected.
The choice for tougher measures for unvaccinated people a few days before Christmas will have a direct impact on the presidential campaign, as it invites the candidates to take a stand on this particularly divisive issue.
What galvanized the protestors ranged from resistance to masking, objection to the controversial COVID Safety Ticket (CST), which allows only those in the vaccinated, testing negative, or newly recovered categories to enter most public spaces, to the specter of mandatory vaccination–for now, limited to those in care and health services.
Pre-pandemic, I flew at least one long-haul flight a month and regularly clocked 150,000 air miles annually for the previous twenty years. It was novel for my wife to see me ‘in a flap’ over simple things like checking in online and fretting over the contents of my bags.
European Union Commission chief Ursula von der Leyden’s said on Wednesday that it was time to “think about mandatory vaccination.” In her personal opinion, “it is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now.”