Anti-Lockdown Protests Erupt in York, Austria and the Netherlands

Thousands of anti-lockdown protestors have descended on the streets of York, Austria and the Netherlands as new Covid restrictions are imposed across Europe in response to the (seemingly harmless) Omicron variant. MailOnline has more.

No one has died with the new super mutant Omicron Covid variant despite the strain being spotted in 38 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed.

But world leaders have been implementing extra measures including large fines to encourage populations to get fully vaccinated.

In Austria, unvaccinated people who breach lockdown rules – which have been extended to December 11th – face fines of up to €500. Anyone refusing to comply with vaccination status checks could be fined up to €1,450.

In Vienna, thousands protested on Saturday against restrictions on public life designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in York for a so-called ‘freedom protest’ and took part in musical performances in front of York Minster.

Meanwhile, several thousand people gathered in the central Dutch town of Utrecht on Saturday to criticise new coronavirus restrictions that came into force last weekend.

Protesters walked through the streets carrying banners saying “Medical Freedom Now!” and waving Dutch flags. A heavy police presence was visible along the route of the march.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: The Government has announced that all travellers to Britain will need to take a lateral flow or PCR Covid test 48 hours before departure from Tuesday. This is in spite of Grant Shapps ruling out pre-departure PCR tests yesterday. MailOnline has more.

European Countries Bring Back Winter Lockdowns

Bad news for our continental cousins: lockdowns are returning to various European countries.

The first one to announce a winter lockdown is Holland, where bars, restaurants and non-essential shops will be ordered to close at 7pm for at least three weeks starting tomorrow. The Telegraph has more.

People will be urged to work from home as much as possible, and no audiences will be allowed at sporting events in the coming weeks. Schools, theatres and cinemas would remain open.

Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s cabinet will take a final decision later on Friday, and will announce the new measures during a televised press conference scheduled for 6pm GMT.

New coronavirus infections in the country of 17.5 million have increased rapidly after social distancing measures were dropped late September and hit a record of around 16,300 in 24 hours on Thursday.

The new wave of infections has put pressure on hospitals throughout the country, forcing them to scale back regular care again to treat Covid patients.

To contain the outbreak, the government’s pandemic advisory panel on Thursday recommended imposing a partial lockdown and to limit entrance to public places to people who have been fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from a coronavirus infection.

A new lockdown would mean a drastic turn in policy for the Dutch government, which until last month thought that a relatively high vaccination rate would mean it could further ease measures towards the end of the year.

Worth reading in full.