Super-Spreader Christmas: EU Commission urges caution | Free press


Brussels (dpa) – At Christmas, the European Commission is calling for the utmost caution and self-discipline on the part of Corona.

“We don’t want to cancel Christmas,” said Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides Wednesday. “But we can’t risk Christmas or New Year’s celebrations becoming super-spreading events.”

The commission recommended strict restrictions on the holidays – while Germany allows some relaxation.

The committee’s recommendations say that if relaxation of meeting rules should be considered at all, then only with strict quarantine conditions for at least seven days before and after. The number of contacts during the holidays should be limited to the same people as much as possible. EU countries should consider extending school holidays or online classes after the holidays to reduce the risk of infection.

Germany wants to relax some restrictions following the federal and state government agreements over the holidays. Instead of five people, ten people from different households could come together. There is already criticism in neighboring Belgium.

Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said in a press conference with Kyriakides that the committee was only making recommendations. But it is precisely to meet as few people as possible and ideally only from one household, and to limit contacts before and after as much as possible. He does not understand that this should only be possible under pressure from the government. He found uniform guidelines for all EU states “not useful” because the situation is different.

The European Commission also sees a problem in the expected travel during the holidays. “Airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations and rest areas are among the places where travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces,” the agency warns. In such places, the rules of hygiene and distance must be strictly observed.

EU countries are advised to set up the clinics for larger numbers of patients. “Given the high likelihood that Covid-19 cases will increase if measures are relaxed over the holidays, EU states must ensure their health systems are ready for a possible increase in admissions,” the recommendations said. For this purpose, among other things, special duty rosters must be drawn up.

The EU health authority ECDC warned that if corona requirements were relaxed shortly before Christmas, hospital admissions could increase in the first week of January. If the restrictions are lifted in early December, it could even happen over the Christmas holidays, said ECDC Director Andrea Ammon. “This is not the time to relax the measures.”

Italy even wants to tighten the corona restrictions around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Minister of Health Roberto Speranza announced. Travel between regions and also between trips between municipalities should be limited. “We have to limit contact between people as much as possible.” Otherwise, there will be “a third wave around the corner” in January and February, he warned.