The Constitutional Court in Croatia has ruled that the anti-pandemic measures introduced by the country’s government are legal under the provisions of the Constitution.
Faced with a mounting health crisis, from November 16th a series of measures had been introduced, including mandatory Coviod-10 certificates for anybody wanting to access schools or public or state institutions. Certificates are only eligible for those who have been vaccinated, are recovering from the virus, or have tested negative in a PCR or lateral flow tests.
The new requirements provoked a storm of protests across the country from the anti-vaxxer lobby, and opposition parties had declared them to be unlawful. Nevertheless, the Court has now backed the government’s position, who have argued that the measures are necessary to protect patients and social welfare workers.
Croatians are not alone, though, in seeing their personal; liberties curtailed once more.
With the World Health Organisation warning of a gathering Covid storm in Europe, governments across the continent are once again tightening measures, and many people face a second Christmas and New Year period in virtual lockdown.
Portugal has ordered all bars and restaurants to close from December 26th, whilst those in Ireland are only allowed to open until 8 pm until the end of January.
Germany has announced new post-Christmas restrictions, including limiting the number of people allowed to attend New Year events, whilst the world famous Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland, have been cancelled once more.
And the Netherlands has already gone into a strict lockdown.
The reality is that the new Omicron strain of the virus is spreading at a rate that has caught even health experts by surprise. Already millions of people have caught the new strain, and, even though early evidence is that it may not be as harmful, long-term, as the Delta variant, public health systems face being overwhelmed.
All this means that 2022 may start on a depressing note for many people and, even if where they live is not in lockdown, they may expect to endure a virtual one, with many public places of entertainment and leisure shut once more.
And, whilst that may not be good news for many sectors of the economy, it is an ill wind that blows no good, at least as far as on line businesses are concerned.
They thrived during the original wave of the pandemic, and can be expected to do so again.
Online casinos like Bet 365 Hrvatska are a prime example.
Operators like these experienced record revenues and profits in 2020 as increasing numbers of people turned to them as a source of entertainment, diversion and also as a means of relieving the stress of being confined at home for days and weeks on end. They can expect to prosper again in the new environment.
If there is any light in the gloom then it may come from South Africa, where the Omicron strain was first identified. There they are reporting that daily infections are starting to fall, and, if the same trajectory is followed in Europe, then the expectation can be that the picture will begin to look brighter in February.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, even if is very faint just now.