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3 December 2021updated 06 Dec 2021 9:36am

As Christmas approaches, Europe is locking down

A resurgence of Covid-19 has caused the return of lockdowns across much of Europe.

By Ben van der Merwe

A resurgence of Covid-19 has caused lockdowns to be reimposed across much of Europe. On Thursday (2 December), the German government announced a lockdown for the 32 per cent of people yet to be fully vaccinated. 

More than 4,450 people are currently battling Covid-19 in the country’s intensive care units, the highest number since May.

Access to non-essential shops will be restricted to those who have been fully vaccinated, while the number of unvaccinated individuals at private gatherings will be limited to a maximum of two people from a single household.

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Meanwhile, Austria has extended its national lockdown to 11 December. The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in Austria is currently at its highest level since last December, before the mass roll-out of vaccines. Two thirds of Austrians are fully vaccinated, with 22 per cent having also received a booster dose.

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The role of the Omicron variant in the resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe is yet to be determined. Scientists are currently racing to determine whether the variant is more transmissible or more deadly than the currently dominant Delta strain.