Various countries in Europe have reintroduced COVID-19 restrictions, as a so-called pandemic of the unvaccinated continues to surge across the continent.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is set to declare Western Europe’s first partial COVID lockdown of the winter, with three weeks of restrictions for shops, sport and catering.

The measure is a response to record infections and rising intensive care cases in hospitals.

Austria is expected to back a lockdown for unvaccinated people this weekend, while Germany’s health agency has called for large events to be cancelled.

Even Denmark, which removed all restrictions in September after declaring the virus was no longer “socially critical”, has reinstated a COVID pass that had been phased out, while citizens will likely have to start wearing masks once again.

The situation in Eastern Europe remains dire, with Russia and Ukraine recording 40,123 and 24,058 new cases respectively.

‘Booster shot is having positive impact’, says Chris Fearne

Meanwhile, in Malta, Health Minister Chris Fearne said there was currently no need to increase measures, but neither was it the right time to lift restrictions.

Mr Fearne noted that, while the number of new cases was increasing in Malta too, none of the 16 people currently in hospital have received the booster dose, while six of them had not been vaccinated at all.

“This shows that the booster dose is working as intended and can prevent serious illness and possibly even death,” he said.

Mr Fearne urged people to continue to wear masks, explaining that when the numbers in the community spike, there is a greater chance of meeting someone who might be infected. 

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