Across the four nations, 9.8million infections have been confirmed since the pandemic began last March.

He told LBC Radio : 'Our four-step plan meant that we were open up the economy in the summer.

he said he was confident that christmas will be business as usual this year, telling times radio : 'my advice is, order that turkey, because it 'll all be fine.

But they say this is unlikely to lead to a major spike.

German authorities have warned that everyone in the country will be either 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by the end of the winter.

'There's nothing I can see that would generate a potential surge this winter,' he told MailOnline.

We just don't have the room for them.

THE NETHERLANDS: A worker clears glass from a destroyed bus shelter in Groningen on Monday after groups of people vandalised and set off fireworks during protests. The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte today slammed three nights of riots in several cities a

He continued : 'They 've been much more assidious about lockdowns, about keeping away from the virus and then they released.

'They took their foot off the brake a month, six weeks ago, without a lot of testing in place to know what was going on.

The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group ( NERVTAG ) member said : 'The situation appears to have really been destabilised in some parts of Europe because of misinformation, particularly about vaccines.

He added : 'This is why we urgently recommend vaccination. '

The above graph shows the proportion of people fully vaccinated against Covid, who have received two doses, in western Europe. It reveals that the UK has a similar jab uptake to many European nations

the director of frankfurt university hospital said the situation in intensive care units in the state of hesse is 'critical '.

"We 're in a difficult situation.

otherwise it will be an endless loop with this coronavirus. '

Several of Germany's hardest hit regions, including Bavaria and Saxony, have gone even further by cancelling large events such as Christmas markets and effectively barring the unvaccinated from non-essential public life.

BELGIUM: Demonstrators gather around Nord Train Station to protest against mandatory Covid-19 vaccine, in Brussels on Sunday

German chancellor Angela Merkel admitted the country is in the midst of a new wave, while Austria began a ten-day lockdown on Monday.

The details of how the mandate will work aren't yet clear, but the government has said that people who do not adhere to the mandate will face fines.

most belgians will also have to work from home at least four days a week.

Meanwhile, three police officers were injured and taken to hospital and one protester was hurt after a firework exploded in his hand.

AUSTRIA: The streets in Vienna are empty on Monday morning at the beginning of a nationwide lockdown

Last week, Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said 'the alarm signals are all red' as he imposed tough restrictions, ordering people to work at home for at least four days a week.

Under new restrictions, all people in indoor venues such as cafes and restaurants will need to wear a mask unless seated and the rule will apply to those aged 10 or older.

Nightclubs may have to test their guests if they want to let them dance mask-free.

What we are currently doing is crisis management. '

BELGIUM: Tens of thousands of people in Belgium took to the streets on Sunday to protest against the return of strict lockdown rules aimed at curbing a rise in Covid infections

the health pass, required in french restaurants, cafes and many cultural venues, certifies that a person is fully vaccinated, recently recovered from covid, or has tested negative for the virus in order to access communal workplaces or public transport.

separately, outgoing chancellor angela merkel agreed with the governors of germany's 16 states to introduce a new threshold linked to the number of hospital admissions of covid-19 patients per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.

A rock thrown by rioters also smashed the window of a passing ambulance carrying a patient, the city's police force said.

The spokesperson could not confirm the number of people injured.

AUSTRIA: A man walks with his dog in Salzburg on Monday along an empty street during the nation's lockdown

'We fired warning shots and there were also direct shots fired because the situation was life-threatening,' she said.

Organisers said they opposed Prime Minister Mark Rutte's plans to exclude the unvaccinated from bars and restaurants.

At least one police car was set on fire during the protest, a police spokesman confirmed to AFP.

Riot police carrying shields and batons were directing groups of people away from the area.

ROMANIA: Activists armed with banners march during a protest against vaccinations, the introduction of the controversial health pass, and Covid lockdown-style measures in Bucharest, Romania on Sunday November 7

People are limited to having four visitors at home and have been advised to work at home unless absolutely necessary.

With cases soaring, government-approved plans to allow three households to mix for five days in England were scrapped within weeks of being made, while scientists urged families to connect over Zoom or host drinks on the pavement rather than meeting for a hug.

"There is no point having a very merry Christmas and then burying friends and relations in January and February," Gabriel Scally, a visiting professor of public health at the University of Bristol, said at the time.

Twelve months on, there has been little word from the UK government about how to safely celebrate Christmas 2021.

The above graph shows Covid deaths per million people from the virus. It reveals Austria and Belgium are starting to record surges

"Rates of transmission are still very high, numbers of Covid weekly deaths continue at around 1,000, the NHS is described by those running it as 'hitting breaking point' and ‘ unsustainable ’, with Covid cases taking up hospital beds with the potential to tip the NHS into crisis.

Michie added the current situation was unstable and could change quickly – for better or worse.

However, for those already tackling yuletide logistics, experts say there are measures that should be taken to reduce the risks.

"These include all those we considered last year – thinking about the vulnerability of those you are visiting; maximising the chance that you are not infectious [ for example ] by testing, restricting contact beforehand; and making indoor spaces as safe as possible in terms of ventilation, limiting numbers and crowding, and using sanitiser and face masks," said Michie.

The above graph shows Covid hospital admissions per million people in Europe. It reveals that Belgium and the Netherlands are recording a rise, but that they remain flat in the UK. Austria is not included in this graph because no data was available

“ The Delta variant is highly contagious, with many people now catching it despite double vaccination and cautious behaviour. ” According to the latest data, more than 88 % of people aged 12 years and over in the UK have received at least one Covid jab, with many now eligible for a booster.

Dr Elise Paul, of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health at UCL, agreed.

"Getting the vaccine as well as a booster if you are called is the most important thing you can do to protect loved ones and those who are more vulnerable than you," she said.

"I would say that although the primary benefit of the vaccine is that it greatly reduces the likelihood of severe illness and death, even those who have been fully vaccinated can still fall ill from and therefore transmit the virus," she said.

THE NETHERLANDS: People march during a protest against the latest measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the cancellation of the event after violence marred protests in Rotterdam on Saturday

These are especially important when family and friends who may be more vulnerable are present. ” Edmunds also backed the use of testing.

A contingency plan for rising cases of the coronavirus has been called for to reduce the amount of people catching the virus ahead of the Christmas period.

The UK government has so far insisted that it does not wish to go down the route of any more restrictions, instead preferring to encourage people to get the first or second dose of their vaccine, or the booster.

Plan B is a contingency plan to try and bring cases down, but health secretary Sajid Javid is playing down the chances of it happening.

AUSTRIA: Police officers control the occupants of a vehicle at a check point at the German-Austrian border on Monday

But the winter may force their hand and experts might just conclude that this is the ideal situation for keeping the rising in hand.

Experts are also calling for some restrictive measures to increase social distancing to be reintroduced.

Viruses in winter are already a problem and high cases of Covid-19 puts the stretched health service under strain.

The seven-day average for cases across the UK is now around the 40,000 mark, though this is lower than the end of October, it is not ideal for the NHS.

AUSTRIA: Demonstrators pass the State Opera during a rally held by Austria's far-right Freedom Party in Vienna on Saturday

England's deputy chief medical office warned there will be "hard months to come in the winter".

Countries around the world are also experiencing a rise in cases.

boris johnson currently don't seem to be any plans are not a lockdown.

It is unlikely anything would actually close.

The government says plan B "prioritises measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impact."

People will also recognise some measures put in place as akin to some of those put in place in lockdown.

But the effects of plan B would be unknown, it may mean that some people are discouraged from going out and some in the already heavily hit hospitality sector have warned against this.

The government would be keen not to see such a hit to its economy and local economies across the UK with the introduction of plan B measures.

CROATIA: Demonstrators march in the centre of Zagreb to protest against Covid-19 measures such as obligatory certificates for public sector on Saturday

Face coverings will become compulsory, but exactly in what setting is again unclear.

It may well include in restaurants, bars and most likely in shops.

Like shops, face coverings will also have to be worn on public transport, as well as in hospitals if the measures are introduced.

The public will be clearly communicated to and people will be encouraged to act more cautiously.

ITALY: Demonstrators listen to speakers and show their mobile phones during a protest against restrictions for the unvaccinated, at Rome Circus Maximus, on Saturday

College and secondary school staff and pupils will have to test regularly.

There will also be mandatory 'vaccine-only' Covid-19 status certification in certain settings liked nightclubs, crowded indoor and outdoor settings and any setting with 10,000 or more attendees like football matches.

Doctors treating Covid patients in Lanarkshire say they expect to see a further rise in hospital admissions after Christmas- but they hope it won't be "another huge spike".

staff working in the infectious diseases ward at university hospital monklands also told bbc scotland that vaccinations are a critical part in stopping the hospital from being overwhelmed.

AUSTRIA: The streets of Vienna were largely empty on Monday after the country entered a nationwide lockdown

More than 100 coronavirus patients are currently being treated across NHS Lanarkshire's three acute hospitals, compared to more than 350 during the January peak.

"We really are not here for anything and everything, we are here for emergencies and we want to be able to see the sickest patients first and in a timely manner and we can't do that when we are overwhelmed by patients."

Dr Hunter also conceded her staff can not offer the level of care they want to due to the pandemic.

She added : "We used to be a well-performing site in terms of meeting the national figures, and now we are one of the poorer sites, and if you compare that with the number of Covid patients in Lanarkshire, I think you 'll find there is a link there and we can't continue to see the amount we are seeing."

AUSTRIA: The nationwide lockdown - which had initially applied to the unvaccinated - stops Austria's 8.9 million people from leaving their homes unless for specific reasons such as buying groceries, going to the doctor or exercising. The streets were empt

Almost all of the available beds in the hospital are occupied and about 15 % of them are currently taken up by virus patients.

In the infectious diseases ward, they account for about half of the total.

"Hopefully not to the extent that we had last year.

He added : "Nevertheless, it is a bit of a wake-up call if you 're in your 30s, 40s or 50s because people are still ending up in hospital.

THE NETHERLANDS: Riot police were forced to clear the wreckage of smouldering scooters and burnt-out bicycles (left) that were set ablaze by the anti-vax mob and left to block roads

Dr Kennedy said : "An older hospital like this lacks side rooms, so it's trying to get the right patient into the right bed.

"But we want to provide excellent care, never mind good care, and that's the challenge."

He said that following a spike in hospital admissions in September, case numbers have levelled off for now.

But looking ahead, Dr Kennedy warned : "My personal prediction would be that the next few weeks won't be too bad, but we are very apprehensive about what happens after Christmas and into the new year.

Hopefully it will be an increase rather than a huge spike."

She admitted : "On a daily basis we don't really know what's coming next.

Covid is still there and we 've got flu that may come later in the winter and we don't know how big the flu epidemic will be this year."

Dr Sykes is genuinely worried about what could lie ahead.

AUSTRIA: Protesters carrying a banner reading 'Control the border. Not your people' at the anti-lockdown demonstration held by the far-right Freedom Party in Vienna on Saturday

she said : "even if you do end up in hospital, you 're approaching this winter in a state where we 're already broken.

"Last winter was terrible but we worked as hard as we could to deliver the highest standard of care we could.

"I think we 'll do it again but there will be a cost, and probably that cost will be the wellbeing of staff, our family lives, our relationships and our lives outside work are probably going to suffer, but we will get through the winter."

He continued : "Although you know quite a number of people who get vaccinated do end up in hospital, what you don't see is all the people who don't end up in hospital.

THE NETHERLANDS: A scooter set on fire during a protest against the 2G policy in Coolsingel, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 19 November 2021. Hundreds of demonstrators have gathered to protest against the tightened coronavirus measures

You 've got about a 90 % protection.

He said even small increases in vaccine coverage of the population would make a difference to the pressures they are facing as they head through the next few months.

"For nursing staff and medical staff it definitely won't be a normal Christmas."

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