As countries try to stop the spread of Covid Omicron, winter infections are on the rise in Europe.  

Three months ago Denmark was the first EU member to remove its Covid restrictions. However, the appearance of this new version has led Europe to revert to stricter regulations as hospitalisations and cases are increasing.  

The UK lifted its own lockdown restrictions earlier on July 19, but Health Secretary Sajid Javid today warned there are ‘no guarantees’ Christmas Day will go ahead without a lockdown as Boris Johnson desperately fends off alarming warnings from scientists.  

After SAGE gave a dire assessment of infection numbers, he admitted that “everything was under review”. He also suggested that a “circuit-breaker” ban on household mixing would be in place to prevent non-essential shops from being closed.

It came as France barred UK holidaymakers from entering the country without a ‘compelling reason’ this week, while Germany added Britain to its list of high-risk countries.

During demonstrations opposing tightening restrictions on the continent, some protestors clashed in Brussels with police.

Coronavirus cases are soaring across most of Europe, with the above graphic showing the seven-day averages for infections. The figures are set to rise as Omicron continues to spread across the continent

Coronavirus cases have risen across Europe. The graphic above shows the average seven-day infection rates. These numbers will rise further as Omicron continues its spread across Europe.

Demonstrators voice opposition to the new vaccine pass and mandatory vaccine plans in France as European countries introduce tougher measures

As European countries adopt tougher measures, protestors voice their opposition to mandatory vaccination plans and the vaccine pass in France.

A protestor takes part in a demonstration against the Belgian government's restrictions earlier this month

An activist takes part in protest against the restrictions placed on Belgium’s government this month

Omicron has been rapidly expanding across Europe, but restrictions have been imposed across Europe in an attempt to save Christmas.

Below are the details of each country’s measures. Covid passes were deemed especially divisive. While the certificates are now mandatory in some European countries, proposals for similar measures elsewhere have met with strong public resistance. 


To deal with Omicron’s threat, the Irish cabinet agreed to close all cinemas, theatres, and hospitality venues by 8pm on Monday December 20.  

This measure will remain in effect until January 30, and it will continue to be reviewed regularly.

In a televised address on Friday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said more than a third of new cases were attributed to the new variant. 

Taoiseach Micheal Martin pictured receiving his AstraZeneca jab in Cork City Hall. The Irish cabinet has agreed that hospitality venues, cinemas and theatres should have a closing time of 8pm

Taoiseach Micheal Martin pictured receiving his AstraZeneca jab in Cork City Hall. According to the Irish Cabinet, theatres, cinemas and hospitality venues should close at 8pm.

Additional restrictions were announced, including a cap of 50 percent on spectators who can attend sporting events up to maximum 5,000.

All indoor events can operate at 1,000 or 50 per cent capacity and must be fully seated, while weddings will have a cut-off time of midnight and an attendance cap of 100 from Monday. 

Bars and restaurants are now subject to restrictions. They cannot accept reservations for more than six persons and can only provide table service.

Ireland reported 7,333 cases confirmed of Covid Sunday. There were 410 hospitalized and 107 being treated on ICU wards.  


France bans UK visitors from France without any ‘compelling reasons’ 

Although only 300 Omicron cases have been reported in France, President Emmanuel Macron cited Britain’s higher infectivity rate to justify the introduction of new travel regulations. 

Covid cases have risen to 60,000 per day, with over 15,000 hospitalized patients.

French President Emmanuel Macron pictured during a European Union summit at the European Council Building at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Friday

Emmanuel Macron, the French president is pictured at the European Union Summit at the European Council Building in Brussels.

The overall testing rate in this country is relatively low at 11.77 per 1000 people. This compares to the 18.03 and 38.77 respectively in the UK.

France is reluctant to impose another lockdown and Prime Minister Jean Castex said he hopes a series of new measures aimed at curbing the spread of Omicron will persuade more people to receive their jab.

The changes included shorterening the interval between the first and third doses, as well as requiring full vaccination to allow you to visit restaurants and take long-distance public transportation.

All New Year’s Eve festivities and fireworks displays were cancelled.   


Germany has increased restrictions regarding travel from the UK.

On Sunday, at 11pm UK Time, carriage between the UK and Germany will be prohibited, with the exception for nationals of Germany.

Everybody who enters Germany from Britain without a history of immunization will need to pass a negative PCR test. They must also be quarantined for 14 days.

These restrictions may last at most until January 3.

Germany also implemented its own health restrictions in response to Omicron’s high numbers of cases. They overwhelmingly voted against the ban on unvaccinated people from restaurants and commerce other than essential.  

The country remains short of millions of doses, despite aims to speed up its booster campaign.

Over the past week, reported daily cases have remained relatively steady at just above 50,000 each day.    


Many regions in Spain, despite protests have implemented stricter vaccination requirements during the holiday season.

You could use the Covid certificate for entry to bars, restaurants or other public areas.

Around 80 percent are jabbed. But Omicron, a rising force in vaccinations has spurred another drive. 

Friday’s infection rate was 511/100,000. This was an increase of 473 on Thursday. Health Ministry data shows that there were 33,359 cases of new infection and 41 deaths.

Spain has just approved booster shots for those over 40, as it does with most other European nations. 


Portugal declared an “state of calamity” in which it introduced tighter restrictions starting December 1.

This included a digital certificate proving vaccination or recovery from Covid being required to access restaurants, cinemas and hotels.   

Facial masks are required to be worn indoors and out, where social isolation is not possible. 

Mask-clad parents and children are seen in the inoculation area of the Feira Internacional de Lisboa in Portugal on Saturday

Mask-clad parents and children are seen in the inoculation area of the Feira Internacional de Lisboa in Portugal on Saturday

Brits need proof of negative results from all tests, regardless of their status. 

Portugal stated Friday that Omicron virus infections were increasing rapidly in Portugal and would account for up to 80% of all cases at the end December. 

Each day, an average of 4,300 new cases are reported. However, hospitalisations continue to be low.


Poland’s highest Covid-related deaths occurred on Wednesday, April 26, amid an increasing daily number of coronavirus infected people. 

It also confirmed that restrictions were being placed on nightclubs. To allow New Year’s celebrations, however, they will reopen December 31 and January 1. 

All services and shops are open as normal, with limited capacity. However, face masks and other accessories must be used inside.  

One person is allowed per 15 square meters in gyms, fitness clubs, and indoor games areas. 

Teachers, nurses, security personnel, such as police officers and military personnel, need to have their vaccines up-to-date by March 1. 

Poland had an average of 19.100 Omicron cases per day for the week. However, it only reported its first Omicron-related case on Thursday.


Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the closure of public venues including cinema, theatres and concert halls on Friday after the country recorded 11,000 daily confirmed cases for the first time during the pandemic.

While a full lockdown is not being considered, she said ‘it’s necessary to have new restrictions that limit activity in the community and reduce transmissions’.

Earlier this week, the country’s school children were sent home for Christmas a week ahead of schedule.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks during a press conference in the Prime Minister's Office in Copenhagen on Friday

Mette Frederiksen is the Danish Prime Minister. She speaks in a press conference at Copenhagen’s Prime Minister’s Office on Friday

The Government proposes closing cinemas, theme parks, and zoos in an effort to stop the transmission chain.  

Denmark had 8,600 additional cases in the week to the end of last week. But, Omicron has seen a spike in figures across the country. 

In 24 hours, 14,616 infections were reported by the institute. 


All non-essential shops, bars, and restaurants close on Sunday. They will reopen January 14th.

In a press conference, Prime Minister Mark Rutte reiterated the restrictions on Saturday night. He also stated that schools and universities will remain closed until January 9.

At the beginning of November, shops and bars were subject to a strict 5 – 5am curfew. 

Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks during a press conference announcing further Covid measures earlier this week. From Sunday, all non-essential stores, bars and restaurants will be closed until January 14.

The Prime Minister Mark Rutte spoke at a press conference earlier in the week to announce additional Covid measures. All restaurants, bars, shops and other non-essential establishments will close on Sunday.

Rotterdam saw riots break out after the restriction was first made public last month. Police opened fire against protestors who were opposed to the restrictions. 

The Netherlands has seen a drop in Covid cases since last month’s restrictions. However, it is only now that 1.5 million people have been given a booster shot after becoming one of Europe’s last countries to implement its drive. 

It follows the Dutch National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) reporting 14,616 new infections across the last 24 hours.


Norway’s December 12th announcement of stricter Covid policies was a result of record-breaking hospitalisations as well as infections.

They included an alcohol ban in all licensed establishments. Additionally, social distancing was reinstated.  

New measures are expected to be implemented for at least four weeks. 

Prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre acknowledged it felt like a lockdown, but said it was necessary to prevent the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.

According to official statistics, daily cases rose from 500 to over 4,000 in October to over 4,000 by December 12. A peak of more that 6,000 was recorded on December 6.


Christmas shoppers walk under Christmas illuminations inu Zurich, Switzerland, amid the spread of the coronavirus

Christmas shoppers stroll under Christmas illuminations at Zurich in Switzerland during the outbreak of the coronavirus

The restrictions will be in place starting Monday for people who have not been vaccinated.

Only Covid-recovering patients or those with a Jab will have access to restaurants, cultural venues and other indoor activities. 

These rules are effective Friday and require that every person submits a negative screening in all areas, even if masks can be used.  The testing requirements are only applicable to those under 16 years of age, who are either vaccinated in recent months or received a booster vaccine. 

On Friday, Switzerland had 9,941 infections. There were 1,627 hospitalized patients. 294 are intensively care. This raises concerns about the health system. 


According to the national health institute, Omicron has been spreading rapidly across Italy. 

Without a Covid Super Green Pass, which is a document that shows proof of vaccinations or recovery from the virus in the past six months, many public events are prohibited.

Italy requires EU citizens not vaccinated to be in quarantine for five consecutive days on arrival. 

Next week’s meeting will see the Government impose requirements on vaccinated individuals to pass a negative drug test in order to be allowed to enter crowded spaces, such as restaurants or sports events.

It is believed around 84 Omicron case have been reported so far. On Saturday, 7,576 Omicron cases were reported – this is the highest number of cases since March.    


France, Germany, Austria and Cyprus all tightened travel restrictions Saturday.

All travellers over the age of 12 must undergo covid screening. They will be required to remain in quarantine while the results are confirmed. 

Negative test results will receive five quick test kits, which they can use throughout their stay.

To enter certain venues, including shops malls, restaurants and sporting facilities for children aged six or older, you will need a Covid Certificate. 

The country’s health minister said the UK’s ‘drastic increase’ in cases was the reason for the new measures, which apply to travellers regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19. 

The average seven-day case load on the island was 608; this is lower than the 1 0009 cases reported per week in July 2021. 


Austria, contrary to Europe’s restraints on Covid vaccinations last week as infection rates are decreasing, lifted Covid restrictions.

After a spike in cases, the strict rules were relaxed and it was implemented three weeks later.

A 11 p.m. curfew is still in effect for restaurants. Masks are required at all public locations, shops and on public transport. 

Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer speaks to the press as he arrives for an European Union Summit at the European Council building in Brussels on Thursday

Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer addresses the media during his arrival at the European Union Summit at Brussels’ European Council Building on Thursday

Chancellor Karl Nehammer referred to the move as ‘opening with a seatbelt’ in which each of the country’s nine regions had the ability to loosen or tighten its own rules.   

People who are not vaccinated will still be subjected to lockdown restrictions.


Belgium made it mandatory to work from home on 26/11 and placed a limit of six people at a table in restaurants and bars.

The ban on private parties was lifted and all bars and nightclubs that do not allow social distancing were closed.

It comes as Omicron is believed to now account for one in 10 of all new cases in the country.

Belgium however has witnessed cases decline from 1,601 per Million on November 30th to just above 1,000 per Milion on Wednesday.


To access museums, theatres and stadiums as well as shopping centres, or restaurants, QR codes might be necessary. 

The codes will be given to people who have been recently vaccinated against a Russian virus, recovered from COVID-19, and/or with negative PCR tests. 

However, Russian authorities pulled back from plans to restrict unvaccinated persons earlier in the week after public outrage.