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Health News

Factbox-Coronavirus hits Christmas holiday plans across Europe

(Reuters) -Governments across Europe are trying to navigate between avoiding the spread of the novel coronavirus over the Christmas holiday season and allowing people to celebrate with family and friends.

FILE PHOTO: Starlings fly over the Christmas tree in Piazza Venezia, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rome, Italy December 11, 2020. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

Here are measures that will be adopted for year-end festivities by some European countries:

BRITAIN

Huge swathes of England would be placed under its strictest COVID-19 restrictions from Dec. 26, the government said, as a highly infectious variant continues to spread. Nearly everyone in Scotland and Northern Ireland will also be subject to the highest level of restrictions after Christmas.

People living in England in tier 4 areas will not be allowed to mix with others over Christmas. Everyone else will be able to see family and friends only on Dec. 25.

In Wales, two households will be able to mix on Christmas Day, and in Scotland three. In Northern Ireland, a Christmas bubble can be created for one day between Dec. 23 and 27.

THE NETHERLANDS

A negative test for COVID-19 no older than three days will be required for travellers entering The Netherlands from Dec. 29. The government has also limited gatherings to two people with a temporary relief raising the limit to three adult visitors over three days around Christmas.

SWEDEN

The country shut its border with Denmark on midnight on Dec. 21 for a month to avoid citizens to flock to Sweden for Christmas shopping.

IRELAND

Three households will be allowed to meet between Dec. 18 and Jan. 6. The country-wide travel ban will be lifted for that period. Restaurants, pubs serving food and some shops will be shut starting on Christmas Eve.

ITALY

A nationwide lockdown will be imposed for much of the winter holidays. Non-essential shops will be shuttered between Dec. 24-27, Dec. 31-Jan. 3 and Jan. 5-6. People will be allowed to travel only for work, health or emergency reasons.

POLAND

Poland will extend the closing of schools, restaurants and sports centres to hotels, ski slopes and shopping malls form Dec. 28 to Jan.

SWITZERLAND

Restaurants, sports and recreation centres will be closed for a month from Dec. 22. Shops are to stay open with a limited capacity.

CROATIA

Croats won’t be able to leave the county of residence between Dec. 23 and Jan. 8. No more than 10 people from maximum two households will be allowed at private gatherings during the holiday season.

CZECH REPUBLIC

A nighttime curfew will start at 9 p.m instead of 11 p.m., and public gatherings will be limited to two people outside families from Dec. 27.

PORTUGAL

The overnight curfew will be pushed back from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25, with no limit on how many people can gather per household for Christmas. The curfew will be kept at 11 p.m on New Year’s Eve.

SPAIN

Curfews will be loosened and up to 10 people per household will be allowed to gather for Christmas and New Year as a general rule.

Movement between regions will be restricted to visits of family and close friends between Dec. 23 and Jan. 6, unless the regions impose tougher rules.

DENMARK

Shopping malls will be closed from Dec. 17 while supermarkets and food shops which will close from Dec. 25 as part of a lockdown over Christmas and the New Year.

BULGARIA

Secondary schools, shopping malls, gyms and restaurants will be closed and group tourist visits banned until Jan. 31. Hotel restaurants will reopen on Dec. 22 at 50% of their capacity and only until 10 p.m.

GERMANY

Only essential shops will be open from Dec. 16 until at least Jan. 10. Private gatherings will remain limited to no more than five people from two households. Rules will be eased over the Christmas holidays when up to 10 people will be allowed to gather, not counting children.

GREECE

Hair salons and bookstores will reopen during the Christmas season. Other restrictions will remain in place until Jan. 7.

Churches will open for the Christmas and Epiphany masses on Dec. 25 and Jan. 6, with a limited number of worshippers.

FRANCE

The country lifted its stay-at-home order on Dec. 15 and replaced it with a nightly curfew, which will be waived for Christmas Eve.

HUNGARY

Hungary will maintain restrictions, including a curfew, to curb the spread of coronavirus infections until at least Jan. 11.

NORWAY

Norwegians will be able to invite up to 10 guests on two separate occasions between Christmas and New Year.

BELGIUM

Households will only be able to be in close contact with one extra person over Christmas. People living on their own will be able to meet two others. Fireworks will be banned on New Year’s Eve.

Compiled by Elizaveta Gladun, Aida Pelaez-Fernandez and Veronica Snoj in Gdansk; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, Alistair Bell, Barbara Lewis, Chizu Nomiyama and Alex Richardson

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