Christmas at a Coronavirus Dead End: Now What?

In the midst of the pre-Christmas period in many European countries, the epidemiological situation is getting out of control — despite all the measures taken. For example, a real lockdown is introduced in Germany this week. Government failures, conflicting statements, and recommendations — many observers feel depressed and desperate. But other opinions are also voiced — that the present time, like no other, is best suited for celebrating Christmas.

The German authorities got into a galosh

The disorder that has been committed in recent months is now returning to Germany like a boomerang, says the Neue Zurcher Zeitung:

“The testing capacity is still … insufficient, the testing strategy is chaotic. … The restrictions imposed under the November ‘soft lockdown’ were handled casually at best. … Schoolchildren who had to sit in hats, scarves, and warm jackets with open windows during lessons became a real symbol of the failed actions of the German authorities — and all because one of the leading industrial powers in the world failed to wisely take advantage of the summer respite — and to establish the learning process, which would be more or less adequate in a pandemic. And now — not because of an underestimated virus, but precisely because of these omissions — Germany will face not only a wave of new infections but also a huge wave of costs and expenses — both economically and humanly.“

Better shopping than sneaking coffee with neighbors

In Slovenia, severe anti-epidemic restrictions have been in effect for two months, but their effect is steadily declining. Delo urges the authorities to change their tactics:

“It’s high time to let people go shopping normally. Not only in case of urgent repairs or buying clothes for the season, but also so that they spend at least an hour or two in a controlled environment in which the likelihood of infection is reduced to a minimum. It’s much better than not finding a place for yourself at home and secretly going for a cup of coffee with your neighbors. … The agencies in charge of this issue should introduce rules that would allow people to spend some time outdoors, outdoors, in the snow. And instead of imposing formal restrictions one after another, they should encourage citizens to seek to reduce the risk of the spread of the virus themselves.“

Only severe measures will help

The German National Academy of Natural Sciences Leopoldina urged the authorities to take a wide package of restrictive measures: close schools from next week, and instead of easing the regime, introduce a hard lockdown until January 10. According to Der Tagesspiegel, there is simply no alternative:

“And here we are again asking ourselves: is this the right approach? Is it possible to act differently, more correctly? Can. … [However] practice so far shows only that we are not able to respond to challenges purposefully, balanced, flexible, solidary, efficient in terms of logistics, reliable in terms of communication, as well as relying on science and recognizing our gaps in scientific knowledge. … People have long wanted to feel safe, business too. If we are not able to achieve the goal in a reasonable way, then we will try to achieve this in a non-festive way — we need to hit the table with our fist and say: ‘No slackness!’

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