European countries that have again restricted residents’ movement in an effort to contain a second wave of the coronavirus are confronting a lack of adherence to the new rules that the World Health Organization attributed to “pandemic fatigue.”
“Citizens have made huge sacrifices to contain Covid-19,” Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, the W.H.O.’s regional director for Europe, said in a statement to the news media on Tuesday. “It has come at an extraordinary cost, which has exhausted all of us, regardless of where we live, or what we do. In such circumstances it is easy and natural to feel apathetic and demotivated.”
Many have expressed their opposition to their countries’ restrictions through demonstrations. In Spain, where the capital Madrid has become the epicenter of a strong second wave, an initial selective lockdown brought out protesters and underscored the divisions between rich and poor.
In Germany, where cases are surging, thousands of people filled the streets over the weekend to protest the measures that have come into force.
Recognizing the apathy and backlash against some restrictions, Dr. Kluge recommended closer consultation with communities to understand their frustrations and said countries should be working with their citizens to form policies that will have their backing.
To combat the fatigue as the holiday season approaches, the W.H.O. advised balancing science, social and political needs and placing empathy at the heart of their approach.