On Wednesday, France became the latest European country to toughen anti-coronavirus measures, imposing a curfew in Paris and eight other cities from Saturday.
“We have to act. We need to put a restraint on the expanse of the virus,” President Emmanuel Macron told public television, declaring a COVID-19 shut down between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. that will persist in force for as lasting as six weeks.
Curfews in all of France
Other critical French cities such as Lyon, Mediterranean port Marseille and southwestern Toulouse will similarly command curfews, with around 20 million people affected in all, out of an entire community of some 67 million.
Just minutes before Macron’s statement, his government had said it would lengthen a state of a health emergency.
— FRANCE 24 – Breaking (@BreakingF24) October 15, 2020
With over one million coronavirus deaths and nearly 40 million cases globally, regions like Europe that contained the first outbreak are again suffering tough choices on controlling a new wave without the economic desolation brought by nationwide lockdowns.
COVID-19: Like France, like Germany
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel also announced more stringent measures on gatherings and mask-wearing.
“I am convinced that what we do now will be decisive. Conclusively, it will determine how we come through this pandemic,” the leader said.
New infections in Germany continued to rise Wednesday, accelerating past 5,000 cases in 24 hours. Consequently, this level is unseen since a lockdown inflicted on Europe’s biggest economy in the spring.
“We’re in a situation where I think we can still level the exponential growth,” Lothar Wieler, head of Germany’s disease control agency said. “But for that, we all need to attempt,” he added.
The worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic
In Spain, bars and restaurants will shut across Catalonia’s northeastern region for the subsequent 15 days. The country undertakes one of the highest infection rates in the European Union. These include nearly 900,000 cases and more than 33,000 deaths.
Measures also appeared in force across the Netherlands, including constraints on alcohol sales and new mask requirements. However, Northern Ireland announced a four-week cessation of pubs and restaurants.
Ireland’s prime minister Michael Martin declared a raft of new curbs. This curb is along the frontier with the British province of Northern Ireland. This barrier includes the closing of non-essential retail outlets, gyms, pools, and leisure centers.
A lockdown or a disaster?
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also under progressing pressure to impose more stringent measures. These measures are to cut spiraling rates in England. Consequently, these rates include a two-week “circuit-breaker” lockdown.
Johnson also said a new UK-wide lockdown would be a “disaster.” However, he refused to rule it out as the government’s science advisory committee sponsored a temporary shutdown.
And in Italy, authorities also reported 7,332 new cases on Wednesday. This number is the highest daily count the hard-hit country has yet observed.
Rome has already inflicted new, more stringent rules to control the virus’ resurgence. This included an end to parties, amateur football matches, and snacking at bars at nighttime.
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