When the Continent beamed down during March, the Easter holidays were never explicitly made-or-rested to emerge from locking hard work. But in European hivemind, the milestone and metaphor of Easter week as a time of renewal clearly looms large as a country, for the sake of the country, after the country bolted to social control last month. In Italy and Spain, the March mortality rate was dramatic, estimating current prices in London and New York, and the locking of the Continent became even more cruel, as evidenced by the extraordinary gunfire on Pope Francis who delivered his annual Urbi et Orbi Yesterday’s Easter message to the empty St. Peter’s Basilica.
But in Europe, the hopes – and promises of government leaders with very few exceptions – follow this line: If we get to Easter, it will be better on the other side.
The answer to that hope turned out to be bleak Yes-Maybe-IfThat is, like a snowstorm that changes the shape of the post-SARS-CoV-2 travel conditions. The bulk of Europe’s livelihoods depend on its industry, but much of Europe’s economy also depends on tourism. To exploit the cliches and songs from which it appeared, April in Paris is April in Paris for a number of very good reasons. According to the European Parliament, from 1.32 billion world tourist visits in 2017, 51% (or 671 million) of them are in Europe. In other words, Europe is a cultural destination that is loved like no other in the world.
MEPs further calculated that the classic Continent tourism industry – not including cultural “attractions” such as restaurants, museums, etc. – consists of several 2.3 million businesses employ more than 12 million people. The majority of businesses are small or medium sized, according to EU statistics. In general, the 2.3 million businesses have been closed, have gone bankrupt, or, in the best case, have lost their financial raison d’etre and survived their savings.
There is a small glimmer of good news for the travel and business sectors in Germany, Denmark and Austria. On April 14, in recognition of the EU small business statistics above as an economic motor, Austria will allow small shops to reopen, with larger stores following in two weeks, if difficult “R” numbers understood it was famous. , the infection rate, remains below 1%, said Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz now.
This was missed but confirmed as an act of actual surgery only recently. On April 6 in Vienna, Kurz gave a press conference to announce that medium to small shops would be allowed to open after Easter – although with all the disguises and quite a number of people special counts were permitted per 20 square meter shop, that is, one person . Kurz quickly pointed out that all this could be canceled at any time, if the curve that Austria was so busy leveling it up. Large gatherings remain prohibited.
Likewise, Denmark: Danish Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen that makes no sense signaling a kind of soft opening after Easter. Although he did not set a specific date, it was considered imminent, with what the prime minister called “stumbling” back to work. Denmark has been locked since March 11, in other words, for more than a month. A tough Danish will go crazy to get back to work. If all goes well, at a certain point after that, they will see the final destruction of the fortress around freedom of movement.
Meanwhile, the unreasonable German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, envisions a third type of soft opening, with priority schools, small shops, and even restaurants, even with limited numbers of people in closed rooms. With European cafe culture – and especially Berlin – wanting to bloom in the spring sunshine, it’s clear that the fight over what will legally be defined as “closed” space will come alive. As his counterpart in Denmark did, Merkel did not set a specific date for this at the time of this writing, but Germany has had great success in managing both the mortality rate, which is one of the lowest in Europe, and the “R”, or infection rate. With a sharp eye keeping below 1%, Chancellor Merkel is ready to begin the first easing steps immediately.
The result is, it’s about knowledge, which is another way of saying that it’s about aggressive testing, both for direct infection and for antibodies. Antibody tests are complicated, but are important in determining the percentage of immune populations. The Germans, whose laboratories and hospitals took the initial leadership in preparing for attacks and socially distancing measures relatively early, are now most aggressively testing their general population – at 100,000 per day.
What is clear in each of these three cases is that the amount of testing a country is capable of producing returns that are earlier, safer, gradual to restart the economy, without the specter of virus returns that haunt the country too much.