Europe cracks down on Covid-19 during the Christmas period, as countries compete to give booster vaccines in time for Omicron to become the dominant version.

British vacationers to Austria from the UK will need to quarantine starting Christmas Day unless they have received at least three jabs (2 doses plus a booster) or a negative PCR. The same is true for Denmark, Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands.

In Spain, the government made it compulsory to wear a face mask outdoors again as part of a package aimed at containing Omicron, while Belgium banned shopping in groups of more than two.

In recent times, Germany, Ireland and Scotland have all imposed social distancing or partial lockdowns.

Germany’s Health Minister said that full lockdown was not something he would rule out.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi stated that Italy had begun to prepare new measures, and may make compulsory vaccinations mandatory for certain workers. 

Northern Ireland has ordered that nightclubs be closed from Sunday, after reporting a record 3,231 COVID-19-related cases. 

Czech Republic also considers new curbs.  

Pictured: A graph showing the seven-day rolling average daily new confirmed Covid-19 cases per million people in the UK, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Sweden and Austria

Pictured is a graph that shows seven-day average daily confirmed Covid-19 case per million in The UK, France and Spain.

People wearing face masks to curb the spread of coronavirus walk in downtown Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is convening a special Cabinet meeting Thursday to pass a decree-law that makes it mandatory to wear masks outdoors, amid a record surge in COVID-19 cases

To stop the spread of coronavirus, people wear face masks in central Madrid (Spain) on Wednesday 22nd December 2021. A special cabinet meeting is being held by Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish Prime Minister. This will be to adopt a decree that requires outdoor masks to be worn.

Omicron is rapidly spreading across Europe and governments are working together to stop it. They also urge citizens to get immunized as this variant could cause a severe pandemic.

Britain has reported Wednesday more than 100,000 COVID-19 daily cases, the highest number since widespread testing started. Many industries are now facing staff shortages because workers have self-isolated.

France has reported close to its record high of 84,272 COVID-19-related infections within the past 24 hours. The cases are increasing in Spain, Italy, and Sweden.

‘There is no doubt Europe is again at the center of the pandemic. While I have my concerns, panic is not an option. Hans Kluge (WHO’s European Head) said that the good news was, “We know what to do.”



If Britons arrive in Austria after Christmas Day, they will need to be quarantined unless they have received their booster Covid-19 vaccine or can show a negative test for PCR.


Only people who are travelling to France for “essential reasons” may travel from the UK. These reasons will be defined by the French authorities. 

UK visitors must isolate for at least 48 hours. A negative PCR test is required to stop the isolation. Non-negative results may be sent to quarantine.


Individuals who are fully immunized may travel to Italy. But, proof of negative antigen testing or PCR must be provided 48 and 24 hours prior to entry.

Those who aren’t fully vaccinated need to show proof of a negative PCR within 48 hours of entering. They must also notify the local authorities about their entry and self-isolate for five consecutive days. A second PCR test or antigen test should be performed after five days.


You can enter Switzerland if you are fully vaccinated. But, it is necessary to have negative PCR tests.

Non-vaccinated individuals may not be allowed to enter the country unless they satisfy a certain set of criteria such as EU citizenship or a permit for residence. Unvaccinated Britons are prohibited from entering. 


Spain can only be entered by fully-vaccinated tourists from the UK. Tourists may not be allowed to enter Spain if they aren’t vaccinated. Only unvaccinated people who have not traveled for essential purposes can enter the country.


All purposes may be met by fully-vaccinated travelers who are not required to perform self-isolation or testing.

The unvaccinated must provide proof that they have been exempted from Sweden’s travel ban.


Norway requires all new arrivals to undergo testing, regardless of vaccination status.

A pre-departure blood test is not required for any vaccinated or recovering arrivals to the UK.

All non-vaccinated visitors must also prove that they were tested negative 24 hours before arriving. 

The UK has a dark red travel warning and must quarantine any unvaccinated UK arrivals for 10 days.

Austria’s coronavirus regulations have made it mandatory for holidaymakers coming from the UK and other countries to be quarantined upon entering the country.

Following the declaration of Omicron hotspots in four countries, the Austrian government put into effect the measures. Omicron has been known to be present in Austria. However, the Austrian government is hoping that this latest step will help stop it from growing faster.

Austria has introduced stringent entry requirements and a raft other measures including a curfew for the catering industry. It will start at 10pm on December 27th, but an earlier time is set for New Years Eve.

Indoor events have a limited number of participants and different rules are required depending on how large the groups are.

British tourists and Austrian tourists will be affected by the restrictions. Austria is popular among Brits for winter sports.

Austria’s new measures are expected to bring the benefits to neighboring Switzerland. Austria has not yet implemented any strict measures. Verbier and Gstaad are keen to grab those tourists who will soon be returning to Austria.

Switzerland already reports that Brits are visiting Swiss ski resorts more than ever before. There is also strict entry requirements in other countries, which could explain why.

In Switzerland, the rules for restaurants are less strict than elsewhere, making it an attractive holiday destination.     

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Wednesday that a new package will mandate the wearing of face masks outdoors. This is part of measures to combat Omicron coronavirus, which has been rapidly spreading in Spain.

Spain was spared from the huge epidemic of infection that caused several countries of northern Europe to increase restrictions for the fall. Nearly 80 percent had been vaccinated, and there is a growing booster program.

Omicron’s recent arrival has seen numbers soar, reaching a new record high of approximately 60,000 infections on Wednesday. However, hospital admissions and intensive care cases are still relatively low in comparison to the previous COVID-19 waves.

Sanchez was criticized by experts and parties opposing him for not placing restrictions on movement due to Omicron’s spread, like other European countries, such as Portugal, the Netherlands, or Spain, but he denied this.

Sanchez stated that “This is not March 2020” or “Christmas 2020”, citing Sanchez’s high Spanish vaccination rate in comparison to earlier pandemics when there were no vaccines.

Spain already required indoor mask wear. However, many Spaniards now choose to cover up their faces outside even though it was no longer legal.

Shoppers wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19 walk along the Christmas market at Tuilerie garden in Paris, Monday, December 20, 2021

Parisian shoppers wearing masks for COVID-19 protection walk through the Christmas Market at Tuilerie garden on Monday, December 20, 2021

At an extraordinary cabinet meeting, mandatory outdoor mask wearing will be approved. This decision will take effect on Christmas Eve. 

Sanchez however stated there are exceptions. For example, when relatives live in the open area with someone they don’t know.

The government stated that Sanchez’s administration plans to relax rules regarding the types of home-testing kits pharmacists are allowed to sell. It also intends to earmark 292 millions euros for the strengthening of the primary-care sector.

Spain’s Regions are responsible for the management of their healthcare system and can limit indoor and outdoor capacity. Most have only made non-binding recommendations to citizens.

Stark political divisions between the regions can make any agreement regarding concrete restrictions difficult. Local approaches to limiting infection may vary greatly.

Before a decree-law can be implemented, it does not need to be debated and voted on by parliament.

The president also offered to send the military to assist in the region’s vaccination efforts and to provide medical beds for them if necessary.

In response to a shortage, Covid-19 professional tests will temporarily go on sale in pharmacies. Additionally, medical teams will include retired personnel and experts who have earned their qualification outside of the European Union.

Infected persons who have not been fully vaccinated need not quarantine. This is a precaution that was apparently intended to prevent shortages of medical personnel.     

Officially, Spain recorded Tuesday nearly 50,000 cases of coronavirus. It is more than the January 2001 surge that put Spain’s national health system in severe danger.

Spain has reported nearly 700 new cases per 100,000 residents in Spain over the past 14 days. This is more than twice as many cases that were reported before Christmas. In Spain, Omicron has increased from just 5% to 47% in a week.

Yet, many are still able to avoid the most severe effects of the virus by getting vaccinated. In Spain’s hospital, there were 30,000 Covid-19 victims last January. Now it has fewer than 8,000.

Sanchez stated to the Spanish parliament, “90% of the target population is fully vaccinated.”

He assured lawmakers that families would be able celebrate Christmas. Spain won.

Students from the Free University sit socially-distanced exams in the RAI, in Amsterdam on December 23, 2021, despite the lockdown, the students were allowed to take their exams, with the tables spread out in order to limit the risk of the virus spreading

The Free University students sit in socially distant exams in RAI Amsterdam. On December 23, 2021 the lockdown was lifted and the students were allowed access to their exams. However, tables were spread so that the virus could not spread.

Belgium decided Wednesday that it would tighten the restrictions to prepare for the surging Omicron variant. But, they opted against a complete lockdown as the Netherlands.

They have decided to shut down cinemas, concert halls and theatres as well as ban indoor activities. Indoor halls and stadiums will not be open to sports fans. 

The restrictions on shopping will mean that visitors are forced to spread their efforts and enter shops in groups of two or more adults.

Sunday will be the start of the new measures.

Alexander De Croo was the Prime Minister. The threat of omicron has been identified. Its high transmissibility is what he said. It is still not clear how severe it will affect the body.

Marc Van Ranst, virologist said that it was a difficult package. Restrained conditions would allow bars and restaurants to be open after 11 pm, however.

Many Belgian epidemiologists and virologists expect another Covid wave to hit within the next few days. This will leave little time for recovery after the fourth one fades.

This country, home to 11.5million people, is located between France and the Netherlands. It has seen 28,000 Covid deaths during the whole pandemic. 

Over the past week authorities recorded an average of 8,300 infected people per day, down by a third from the week prior.

This was the Delta Chapter of the pandemic. According to 8 genetic sequencing labs, Omicron is responsible for more than 27% of all cases.

Omicron will likely become the dominant strain in a matter of days as it has been done before in the UK, Denmark, and the US. 

A staff member at a Belgian Hospital told AFP that they were already at breaking point. 

Martial Moonen is the head of the infectious diseases department at Liege’s public hospitals. He stated that nurses and doctors are experiencing extreme fatigue.

According to him, his ward was currently housing 70 Covid patients. 14 are still in intensive care.

He said that a patient suffering from severe Covid may need to be admitted to intensive care for as long as four weeks. This is significantly more than the average three-day stay for patients with other conditions.

The calculation for the specialist at 50 is quite brutal. ‘While you treat 15 Covid patients and keep them in intensive care for one month, 100 to 150 people can access that care.

He stated that temporary reinforcements no longer exist to provide support for nursing staff members who are ill or injured.

He said that for those who are still working, “there is exhaustion so much exhaustion.”

Moonen stated that the ‘vast majority of’ hospitalized patients have not been vaccinated. 

People line up at a pharmacy to book nasal swabs test, in Milan, Italy, December 22, 2021

A line forms at the pharmacy in Milan to order a test for their nasals. It is December 22, 2021.

In Germany, the health minister indicated on Thursday that the government expects an increase in coronavirus-related cases in the new year and that the population will need another vaccine to ensure the highest possible immune response against Covid-19.

Karl Lauterbach (Health Minister) stated that Germany hadn’t seen an omicron variant-related surge of infections like in other European countries.

Lauterbach explained that “that will change around New Year’s Eve and the first week in January.”

Germans are being urged by the government to avoid holiday contact and get immunized, even with booster shots.

Official statistics show that 70.7 per cent of people have received the full vaccine course, and 35% have had boosters.

Germany has seen protests against planned vaccination mandates and new restrictions on pandemics in the last weeks.

According to police, around 5,000 demonstrators gathered at Munich’s central station on Wednesday night. Some of them attacked officers. Eleven people were detained.

People hold candles during a demonstration in memory of the victims of the COVID-19 virus and to thank the health workers on December 19, 2021, on the Ringstrasse in Vienna, Austria

On December 19, 2021 at Vienna’s Ringstrasse (Austria), people hold candles in remembrance of victims of COVID-19 and to show their gratitude to the health staff.

Police officers try to stop a demonstration march of opponents of the Corona policy in front of the main train station in Munich, Germany, Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Officers attempt to stop the demonstration of Corona-opponents in front of Munich’s main station, Germany on Wednesday, December 22, 2021

According to Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the Italian government has begun to prepare new steps for fighting a spike in COVID-19-related infections. It might also make compulsory vaccinations mandatory for certain workers.

As Omicron’s highly infectious variant continues to be a concern, top officials plan to meet Thursday to discuss increasing COVID-19 limits.

Reporters heard Draghi say that one of the options for consideration was a return to outdoor mandatory mask wear and use Ffp2 more protective Ffp2 helmets in enclosed spaces. Draghi suggested vaccine mandates may be reviewed.

“They are already extended to some groups, but we may consider expanding them to all categories.” “I don’t know when we’ll talk about it, but if contagions data continues to worsen it will become the topic of discussion within a short time,” Draghi stated.

To combat COVID-19, the government made mandatory vaccinations for teachers and health workers.