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Home office, hijab in schools. Despite Omicron, Europe is slowly narrowing

Great Britain

High school students in England will have to wear nose and mouth protection to bring back the Omikron variant when they return from Christmas holidays. This was announced by the Minister of Education, Nadim Al-Zahawi, on Sunday. The measure will be in effect until January 26. In England and Wales, there were nearly 137,600 cases of coronavirus on New Year’s Eve. For comparison – on December 1, 42,461 cases were registered.

“We want as many children as possible to go to school and for as long as possible,” Zahawi was quoted by the Sunday Telegraph as saying. Students will return to schools from next week, and coronavirus tests are awaiting them directly at schools.

The BBC reported that England was so far the only part of the four parts of the United Kingdom that did not recommend the wearing of a headscarf by schools. However, some English schools have made this commitment themselves. Under the new rules in England, the mandatory wearing of nose and mouth protection does not apply to teachers.

England has seen record daily increases in new coronavirus infections in recent days. Due to the large number of people isolated for at least seven days, many public institutions are facing staff shortages.

Reuters notes that the government has turned to public sector managers to prepare for the fact that in the worst case scenario, up to a quarter of employees could be absent from work in the coming weeks.

In England, nose and mouth protection is required in most public indoor spaces, and entry to nightclubs and high-profile events requires proof of the covid-19 vaccination.

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The authorities have also advised people in England to work from home if possible. Other parts of the UK are outlining coronavirus measures separately.


Also in France, tests on the holiday confirmed that far fewer people were infected than in previous days. For the new year, when less were tested, 58,432 new infections were added. But in the past four days, their numbers exceeded 200,000, and the seven-day moving average rose on Monday to 162,041, the largest number since the beginning of the pandemic, Reuters reported.

From Monday, children from the age of six will have to wear a nose and mouth guard on public transport in France; To date, this obligation has been applied to children from the age of eleven. Carriers will no longer be allowed to sell food and drink in their cars.

Prime Minister Jan Casteks has announced that, where possible, work from home will be introduced at least three days a week for a period of three weeks. From January 3, guests will not be able to eat or drink in bars and cafes for at least three weeks. “Consumption in bars and cafes is no longer possible to stand, but only to sit,” the prime minister said.


On New Year’s Eve, Italy recorded 141,262 new cases of SARS-CoV-2, about 3,000 fewer than the day before. Over the course of a month, the daily increase in the number of cases remained below 20,000, and on December 21 the increase was “only” 30,000. After the Christmas holidays, the numbers began to rise sharply.

Due to the spread of the omicron variant, stricter anti-coronavirus measures will be implemented in the country from January 10: Only people who have recovered from or have been vaccinated against covid-19 will be allowed in hotels, convention centers, ski lifts or public transportation.

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Four large Italian regions have moved to a higher degree of epidemic risk since Monday. Lombardy with the city of Milan, Lazio and the capital Rome, Piedmont with the metropolis of Turin and Sicily in the yellow level, that is, the medium risk category.

About 40 percent of the Italian population lives in the areas affected by the move to the yellow zone. As of Monday, most of Italy will be at moderate risk.


Schoolchildren who ended the Christmas holidays in parts of Germany on Monday welcomed tougher requirements for coronavirus testing in classrooms. Due to concerns about the omicron variable, children in Berlin await daily analyzes and in Thuringia remote teaching has begun, and schools will gradually switch to full-time this week. Kindergarten kids don’t avoid testing either.

Berlin schools also called on parents to comply with the mandatory quarantine of their children after staying in foreign-risk areas, which is 14 days without the possibility of default if they return from areas with Omikron.

Quarantine, with the exception of returning from the Omicron regions, as well as testing, does not apply to vaccination and treatment. However, schools and regional governments encourage parents to participate in testing with fully vaccinated children.

In Germany, there were 26,392 cases of coronavirus on New Year’s Eve. A slight increase occurred at seven days. This follows data released over the weekend by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

The state tightened its procedures before the New Year celebrations. A maximum of ten vaccinated people can meet in private, and large events have also been banned. In this context, Chancellor Olaf Schultz explicitly referred to football, which should take place without an audience.

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Strict measures continue to be applied to non-vaccinators. In private, they can only meet two more people from other families. They cannot shop in stores that do not sell essentials, and they are not allowed in restaurants.


Strict anti-epidemic measures were taken in the Netherlands from at least December 19 until January 14. Shops are closed, except for those selling basic necessities, restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums, theaters and other public places.

No more than two people can meet. Like other European countries, the Netherlands has imposed new restrictions after the rapid spread of the omicron variant, which would threaten to overwhelm an already overburdened healthcare system.


Poland’s Health Minister Adam Nidzelski warned on Monday that the government will have to tighten restrictions on Wednesdays or Fridays if daily infections with the coronavirus continue to rise in the coming days, as in the past three days.

The minister said that 6,422 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Poland had increased in the past 24 hours, “unfortunately more than a quarter a week ago.”

“If we see a continuation of the growth trend this week, and if about 20,000 (hospital) beds are filled, we will take tougher measures,” said Nidzelsky. The stress may relate to teaching in schools.