Coronavirus: France Enters Third National Lockdown
France has imposed a third national lockdown as the country battles a surge in cases of Covid-19 that threatens to overwhelm its hospitals.
All schools and non-essential shops will shut for four weeks, and a curfew will be in place from 19:00 to 06:00.
On April 2, the number of seriously ill Covid-19 patients in ICU increased by 145 – the biggest jump in five months.
President Emmanuel Macron has promised more hospital beds for Covid patients.
France is currently battling a peak of about 5,000 Covid patients in ICUs. On April 2, the country recorded 46,677 new cases and 304 deaths.
As well as the restrictions that came into force on April 3, from April 6 people will also need a valid reason to travel more than 6 miles from their homes.
President Macron had hoped to keep France’s coronavirus cases under control without having to impose another lockdown.
However, France has struggled with an EU-wide delay in the vaccine rollout, as well as several new strains of the virus.
Italy Under Partial Lockdown to Stem New Covid-19 Wave
In Germany, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on people to play their part and get vaccinated.
Speaking in a TV address to the nation on April 3, he said Germany was in the middle of a third wave and that it faced more restrictions.
The German also admitted that mistakes had been made – specifically in testing and in the vaccine rollout – and talked about there being a “crisis of trust” in the state.
Last month, German officials announced that the country would be placed in a strict Easter lockdown – only to reverse the decision just days later.
Chancellor Angela Merkel called the plan for a lockdown from April 1 to 5 a “mistake”, and said she took “ultimate responsibility” for the U-turn.
Italy also entered a strict three-day lockdown on April 3 in order to try to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases over the Easter weekend.
All regions are now in the “red zone” – the highest tier of restrictions – as the country records about 20,000 new cases a day.
Non-essential movement is banned, but people are allowed to have an Easter meal in their homes with two others. Churches are also open, but worshippers are being told to attend services within their regions.
On April 4, for the second year, Pope Francis will deliver his Easter message to an empty St Peter’s Square.