Austria locks out most unvaccinated people, sparking heated discussions across Europe on how to tackle latest wave of Covid-19

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The 5th European wave of Covid-19 is rapidly worsening over a large part of the continent. Governments have reimposed mask and physical distancing warrants, advising people to work from home and speeding up booster vaccination campaigns.

In Austria, around two million unvaccinated people Where do not have proof of a recent recovery from Covid-19, are only allowed to leave their homes to work, do essential shopping or for emergencies. The new rules went into effect today, November 15.

Tomorrow, November 16, the Dutch parliament will debate the possible introduction of what Austria, Germany and the Netherlands call the 2G model. In Dutch, 2G refers to the words “gevaccineerd” (vaccinated) and “genezen” (recovered), while in German 2G refers to the words “geimpft” (vaccinated) and “genesen” (recovered).

In the 2G system, people are given a QR code (a barcode or machine-readable label that can be displayed on smartphones, for example) to enter indoor public spaces like museums, restaurants and halls. concert, if they have been fully vaccinated Where recently recovered from Covid-19.

Currently, the Netherlands has so-called 3G rules in place, which require a negative coronavirus test, Where proof of being fully vaccinated, Where evidence of a recent recovery from Covid-19. The third G refers to the word “getest” (tested) in Dutch and “getestet” in German. By switching from 3G to 2G, Dutch authorities would remove the possibility that those who are not vaccinated (and cannot demonstrate that they have recently recovered from Covid-19) could access indoor public spaces with a negative test.

Replacing 3G rules with a 2G system is seen by some as a drastic decision. The 2G system effectively excludes most unvaccinated people from, among other things, indoor meals, concerts, and going to bars. Thierry Baudet, head of the Forum for Democracy, said controversially on Sunday (November 14th) that he believed that a very restrictive public access policy would make “unvaccinated new Jews”, referring to Nazi practices in the years 30 and 40 which excluded the Jews from the normal. participation in society.

In Germany, the 2G policy which limits most unvaccinated people to indoor public spaces has been in place since September in a small number of state states (Teilstaten). In the capital, Berlin, for example, only fully vaccinated people or those who have recently recovered from Covid-19 are allowed to enter restaurants, cinemas and indoor sports facilities.

Belgium is considering adopting a 2G system, but this does not appear to be a priority for the government at the moment. The political preference of the Belgian government is to institute vaccination warrants whenever possible.

France has not ruled out any particular policy, but is not currently considering any lockdown of any kind or the implementation of a 2G system.

That said, France, like most other European countries, has for months used a Covid pass system – “sanitary pass” – which is similar to the 3G rules that allow people to access bars, restaurants, cinemas and museums, based on their test, vaccine or recovery status.

The Covid pass system in Italy is even stricter than in other European countries, as it requires people to present a Covid pass to enter public and private sector workplaces, and to use the intercity train travel.

While Covid crossing requirements, including 3G rules, likely helped boost vaccination rates across Europe, they have not suppressed coronavirus transmission rates, as the current massive spike shows. infections.

By instituting a lockdown of the unvaccinated, Austrian authorities hope to get more people to get vaccinated and curb the spread. It is not known if this bet will work and if other European governments will adopt similar policies.

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