A broad but limited German lockdown will now start on Monday, November 2, under terms agreed during a video conference involving Chancellor Merkel and the 16 state premiers:
Schools and kindergartens will remain open
Social contacts will be limited to two households with a maximum of 10 people and tourism will be halted
Bars will close and restaurants will be limited to takeaways
Tattoo and massage parlors will shut
Smaller companies badly hit by the lockdown will be reimbursed with up to 75% of their November 2019 takings
Chancellor Merkel and the state premiers are expected to reconvene on November 11 to reassess the situation
“We have to act now,” she explained, to avoid a national emergency.
In France, the defense council and cabinet were deciding the extent of the planned four-week lockdown on October 28, but reports suggest schools will stay open and online study will be encouraged for older children and universities.
The changes could kick in from October 30.
France recorded 523 deaths on October 27, including 235 in residential homes, and the hospital federation has appealed for as broad a lockdown as possible.
Starting with October 6, Paris will shut all bars completely as the French government raises the city’s coronavirus alert to maximum following a sustained period of high infection rates.
The restrictions will last two weeks, with full details to be announced on October 5, PM Jean Castex’s office announced.
On October 4, France reported 12,565 cases of Covid-19.
The southern city of Marseille closed bars and restaurants last week.
France’s maximum alert level comes into force when the infection rate in a locality exceeds 250 per 100,000 people and at least 30% of intensive care beds are reserved for Covid-19 patients.
The prime minister’s office explained in a statement: “These measures, indispensable in the fight to curb the virus’ spread, will apply to Paris and the three departments immediately surrounding it, for a duration of two weeks.”
Paris restaurants will have to put in place new sanitary arrangements in order to stay open and university lecture halls must be no more than half-full.
Restaurants and bistros that serve food as well as alcohol can stay open, as long as they register contact details from customers and shut their doors at 22:00.
Working from home must be prioritized “now more than ever”, the statement said.
On September 26, Marseille, France’s second city, closed all bars, restaurants and gyms for two weeks. Public venues including theatres, museums and cinemas have also had to close unless they could introduce strict anti-viral measures.
The measure prompted anger from local officials who said they were not consulted.
On October 4, France reported nearly 17,000 infections, its highest rate since the country started widespread testing.
The French government says it doesn’t want to order another nationwide lockdown, but will enforce tougher measures in those cities where the virus is concentrated.
Elsewhere in Europe, a state of emergency has been introduced in the Czech Republic as the government struggles to control a resurgence in coronavirus. From Monday new measures will be in place for two weeks, including closing secondary schools and limiting restaurants and bars to six customers per table. Primary schools will remain open. Over the past two weeks the Czechs had the second highest number of new cases per 100,000 in Europe after Spain, and the fourth highest number of deaths.
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