Europe’s Economic Outlook Clouded by Delta Variant

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Across Europe, governments and businesses are maneuvering to prevent the rise in coronavirus cases from the rapid spread of the Delta variant from hampering the continent’s recovery.

Over the past few months, the relaxation of pandemic restrictions and the increase in the number of vaccinated have pushed the economy forward. The European Commission recently raised its estimates for the region. Britain four months of economic growth and In some parts of the country, the number of employees on payroll is higher than before the pandemic.

But now the Delta variant has made the recovery path much more unpredictable and erratic.

in England, final lifting of restrictions Monday is expected to give new impetus to the economic recovery. But the rise in infections is creating an unexpected new hurdle for businesses trying to operate at full capacity. Businesses, including hospitality, theater and trucking is forced to shut down temporarily as staff begin to self-isolate as they are said to have either contracted the virus or been in contact with someone who has been infected.

fluctuation number of people self-isolating It’s been a curve even for businesses that have been successful in the last 16 months. Located on a residential street in South East London, Fowlds Cafe only had to close for five days during the initial quarantine, but its owner quickly turned it into a cafe and no-seat convenience store. Business was strong.

But after carefully navigating pandemic restrictions for over a year, Fowlds was recently forced to shut down for three days because a staff member was in contact with someone infected with the virus – so the rest of the team had to self-isolate and wait. coronavirus test results. Such shutdowns are becoming more frequent.

“I think that would be very devastating,” said Jack Wilkinson, owner of Fowlds. Trying to lessen its impact looking for more part time staff to reduce the chance of isolating the entire team at once. But he said it’s unlikely to restart seating at the cafe until next spring to help ensure the safety of staff and customers.

Increasing cases in other European countries collided with the return to normal life and restrictions were reinstated. In Spain, which once again has one of the highest infection rates in Europe, some regional governments have imposed restrictions again. The virus is spreading mainly among the younger, unvaccinated population, raising a new fear of withdrawals in international travel and canceled bookings.

Portugal Lisbon has slowed a second summer travel season by reintroducing curfews in Porto and other popular tourist destinations. When the European Commission released its latest economic forecasts last week, Portugal was one of two countries whose growth forecast was not upgraded as the coronavirus restrictions in June slowed the pace of recovery there.

“Spain and other Mediterranean countries have a really big problem,” said Guntram Wolff, director of the Brussels-based economic think tank Bruegel. “This health situation is impacting a critical industry in a big way,” he said.

This week, France and the Netherlands also announced new measures. In France, the government is trying to avoid another shutdown, whether users have been vaccinated or have recently tested negative, by bringing a “health card” to restaurants, to board planes and trains. The country has followed a “whatever it takes” policy to support paid leave workers and help businesses avoid bankruptcy. About 187,000 new jobs were created out of the nearly 300,000 destroyed last year.

The German economy is rapidly recovering. Masks are still mandatory in stores, but restaurants are open and full. The unemployment rate was 5.9 percent, almost back to its pre-crisis level.

But Germany’s recovery has also had its ups and downs, with the number of new cases doubling in the past week, with three-quarters attributed to the variant.

There has been no mention of renewed quarantines so far, but for travelers returning from Portugal and some other countries, quarantine rules will deter tourism. This is bad news for the rest of Europe: Germans are among the continent’s most avid travelers.

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