Ireland and the Czech Republic have announced plans to introduce new anti-Covid measures in response to a surge in coronavirus cases.
The announcements follow the return of anti-Covid measures in Austria and the Netherlands last week. The Netherlands reintroduced a partial lockdown on 13 November, while Austria introduced measures on 14 November which apply exclusively to unvaccinated citizens.
The Slovakian government is also due to decide on new restrictions as of 18 November.
Ireland introduces new Covid measures for service sector
Ireland has reinstated measures to combat a rise in active cases in the country, with 92,769 on record as of 17 November – the highest number since the previous peak in January.
However, the country's high vaccine rate has suppressed the fatality rate of the virus, with just 22 Covid-related deaths reported for the week of 10 November to 16 November - compared with 317 deaths due to Covid-19 in the week ending 29 January.
According to figures by the Irish government, 3,533,160 people have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine, and 236,299 people have received one dose out of a total population of 5.1 million people.
Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said that the ‘advice is now that everyone should work from home unless it is absolutely necessary.’ This marks a change in government policy since workers began to return to offices in September as restrictions eased.
Ireland has confirmed that from Thursday 18 November, Covid-19 vaccine passes will also be required to enter theatres and cinemas and theatres, and bars, restaurants and nightclubs will have an earlier closing time of midnight.
Czech Republic to restrict unvaccinated citizens
The Czech Republic is also due to introduce new regulations from Monday 23 November, which will restrict unvaccinated citizens from attending public events or entering restaurants, pubs as well as other services.
Citizens will be required to provide evidence that they have been vaccinated to enter establishments of this kind, however children under 18 will be able to present Covid tests as proof that they are not infectious instead.
Czech prime minister, Andrej Babis, said that the rules were necessary because ‘the only solution is vaccination’. 70 per cent of the new cases recorded in the Czech Republic were in people who were unvaccinated, and the country has recently reported its highest single-day cases on Wednesday, with more than 22,400 infections confirmed.
The move is also thought to be a last-ditch attempt by Babis’s outgoing government to encourage Covid vaccine take-up. In the Czech Republic, currently only 58 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.