Covid Lockdowns in Europe could derail Christmas travel plans for thousands and other weekend travel news

Nov 22, 2021

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Austria is the first country in Western Europe to reimpose a full Covid lockdown and Germany is also considering further restrictions to tackle a ‘fourth wave’ of cases.

Restrictions in Austria came into effect on Monday 22 November and are currently planned to last for 10 days with the potential of an additional 10 day extension if the situation does not improve which would currently take the Austrian lockdown up to the 12 December. 

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The developments follow news last week of the Netherlands entering a three-week partial lockdown with restrictions forcing the closure of bars, restaurants and essential shops from 8pm. 

Pre-pandemic around 250,000 travelers from the U.K. would have been expected to travel to one of the three nations during or before the Christmas period, according to The Independent. 

Germany is currently carefully monitoring growing infection rates and considering the re-introduction of restrictions as the nation finds itself on the precipice of a national emergency. 

The health minister for Germany, Jens Spahn said: “We are now in a situation – even if this produces a news alert – where we can’t rule anything out.”

Figures for fully-vaccinated people in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands currently rest between 64 and 73 percent, according to Our World In Data. By comparison Britain’s current vaccine coverage stands 68 per cent.

Average infection rates in the EU have increased at an astonishing rate with new daily cases on the continent quadrupling in recent weeks. The WHO has also raised concerns claiming that Europe is now back at the ‘epicentre’ of the pandemic. 

In the U.K., 44,242 cases and 157 deaths were reported across the nation on Friday, a rise of 15% in the 10 days prior. Despite rising rates the U.K. government has so far opted to avoid putting in place travel restrictions to the continent.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The most important thing people can do is to come forward and receive a vaccination if they haven’t already. Or to get a third dose if they are eligible for the booster, and we will continue to promote that up and down the country.

“Our plan is as set out in the autumn/winter plan. Nothing has changed since we published that document.”

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