Companies seeking European references must be wary. A burgeoning third-wave of COVID-19 infections is striking the continent, forcing countries to re-implement lockdown measures. Yahoo News reported on March 15th that Italy, one of the countries worst affected by the virus, went back into lockdown. The virus has caused more than 100,000 deaths in the country, giving it the dubious honour of being second only to the UK in number.
Despite the European Medical Authority (EMA) deeming the Oxford/AstraZenica vaccine safe, many countries have suspended its use after fears of blood-clotting side effects emerged. These include Italy.
We’ll examine the new lockdown measures across Europe.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced at the beginning of March that her government would extent lockdown until at least the 28th. However, at the current time, Germany has relaxed strict measures – despite the advice of experts urging a national lockdown.
Nonetheless, many schools and businesses – such as hairdressers and florists – have reopened. This trend makes Germany one of the easier places to get European references. Moreover, the government has told regions with low infection rates that they can unlock more quickly.
On the other hand, infections are fast rising across the country. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases warned that the number of daily cases could exceed 30,000 by April 12th.
Another potential pitfall to employers seeking European references is the slow vaccination rollout. For example, the slow pace of vaccination has frustrated the German public. As a result, Chancellor Merkel’s CDC has been left trailing in opinion polls.
Portugal, on the other hand, provides some hope. The country is cautiously emerging from a two-month lockdown, during which it once had the highest death toll in Europe.
Whilst the government has promised to revaluate lockdown easing measures every 15 days, things are on a positive trajectory. Business such as book shops and hairdressers, as well as nurseries and primary schools have already re-opened.
Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for Italy. With a 10% spike in infections throughout March, the country went back into lockdown from March 17th. This leaves shops and schools closed across half the country – including major centres such as Rome and Milan. Furthermore, there will be a national shutdown over the Easter period from the 3rd to the 5th of April.
Due to case numbers rapidly exceeding 25,000 a day, prime minister Mario Draghi instructed all citizens to remain at home, except for work, health or essential reasons. Seven of the country’s 20 administrative regions have imposed the most severe tier of restrictions. This includes important hubs such as Lombardy and Lazio, where Rome and Milan are situated.
The situation in Italy is precarious, and companies should prepare for potentially extensive delays if they need European references.
The Czech Republic fares little better – plagued by vaccine procurement issues and more than 1.4 million cases of COVID-19. Prime minister Andrej Babis issued a bleak warning in February, of “hellish days ahead”. However, since he extended lockdown until the 21st of March, and announced a State of Emergency for the first time in the country’s history, things have been looking more positive. Infection numbers are currently falling from their peak. The country, despite being frustrated by EU vaccine procurement issues, is nonetheless beating the block average with 8% of its population vaccinated.
Nonetheless, the situation remains dire. The government extended the State of Emergency until at least April 30th. Schools are closed, and only supermarkets, pharmacies, opticians and florists are open. The government restricted travel to only the most essential – banning people from moving between districts except for work.
Companies seeking a reference from the Czech Republic must expect to encounter significant delays.
Credence is constantly monitoring the situation, and despite the challenges in Europe, it remains business as usual. We will provide tailored advice to companies seeking European references, criminal record and credit checks, and on any other needs.