Gatwick Airport: Major changes as France, Spain, Italy and Belgium update travel rules for COVID

While the UK has been experiencing a high rate of COVID in recent weeks, the same can be said for many other European countries.

Some countries are setting new records for daily cases as the Omicron variant continues to wreak havoc.

Increased vaccination rates have ensured that fewer people are hospitalized, however, and while some countries continue to strengthen restrictions, others have relaxed their mandates to ensure the hospitality sector thrives.

Read more: Gatwick Airport: Southern Rail cancels Gatwick Express and London Victoria trains

Spain, France, Italy and Belgium all made changes to their restrictions this week, some tightening and some relaxing.

Different approaches regarding constraint change highlight the uncertainty and volatility caused by the Omicron variant with different governments taking different approaches to address the spread.

While many countries such as Spain and France are seeing a higher number of cases than ever in this pandemic, hospitalizations are nowhere near their previous peak.

As a result, governments are under increasing pressure to keep industries open with as few restrictions as possible, while controlling the spread of the new variable.

These are the new restrictions that come into effect this week in Belgium, France, Spain and Italy.

Spain – Reducing the quarantine

The Spanish Ministry of Health has reduced the amount of time people who have tested positive for the coronavirus have to go into quarantine.

According to the new guidelines, people who test positive for the coronavirus will only have to self-isolate for seven days.

Spain set a new record for the number of coronavirus cases reported in a single day on Tuesday, December 28, with more than 100,000 cases recorded.

France – Paris makes masks mandatory again

Paris made masks mandatory again

On Wednesday, December 29, France set a European record for the largest number of cases reported in a single day with 208,000 cases.

That number is up from the 180,000 reported the day before.

Paris will make outdoor wearing masks mandatory again from New Year’s Eve on Friday.

New Year’s Eve celebrations in France will be silenced as nightclubs have been closed since December 10, and the ban has been extended until further notice.

Cafes and bars remain open but only provide table service.

Italy – No more contact tracing

Italy has canceled contact tracing for those who have been fully vaccinated
Italy has canceled contact tracing for those who have been fully vaccinated

The Italian government decided to cancel the quarantine period for people who received three vaccinations (first, second and booster doses) if they were exposed to a positive case.

While vaccinated people will be able to avoid self-isolation, stricter vaccination passports will take effect from January.

From January 10, Italians will have to show a permit to prove full vaccination or a recent recovery from COVID to use public transport including buses, metros, trains and domestic flights.

Belgium – Reopening places

In Belgium, entertainment venues including theaters, cinemas and concert halls will reopen today following a court ruling.

The Council of State ruled in favor of the hospitality sector, which protested the Belgian government’s move to close venues in order to curb Omicron’s growth.

Belgium’s highest court found that the government did not have sufficient reasons to close these places in the interest of public health.

Select venues will be allowed to reopen from today to an audience of up to 200 people, who must all remain seated, wearing masks and showing a COVID passport.


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