Tuesday, December 5, 2023

France, Germany impose nationwide lockdowns as coronavirus cases spike

To ameliorate lockdown effects, Germany will set aside up to €10 billion to partly reimburse businesses for lost sales.

• October 29, 2020
Coronavirus used to illustrate the story.

France and Germany have announced nationwide lockdowns as both countries fight to curb the spread of coronavirus cases ahead of a second wave. 

The surge in new COVID-19 infections threatens to spiral out of control in France, President Emmanuel Macron said in a televised address Wednesday. France has recorded above 36,000 new cases a day in recent days. 

France’s nationwide lockdown is set to begin on Friday and will continue till December 1, restricting free movement as people are forced to stay indoors.

The exceptions include buying essential items, seeking medical attention or using allocated hours of exercise.

Going to work in France will be permitted by the government if employers deem it difficult for staff to carry out their duties from home, the government said. Schools are said to remain open.

In the following weeks, the French will be required to carry about a document stating why they are outside their homes. This document can be checked by the police. 

Germany, which was less affected than its European counterparts when the virus first broke earlier in the year, reported 16,774 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, the highest since the pandemic began, according to the country’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

Following the German government announcement to implement lockdown measures, bars, restaurants and theatres will be shut from November 2 through till November 30.  Schools will remain open, and shops will be allowed to operate with strict limitations.

World stock markets, in a report by Reuters,  dipped in response to the announcements that the biggest european economies were imposing nationwide restrictions.  European stock markets closed at their lowest levels since late May on Wednesday.

In an effort to soften the economic impact of the lockdowns, Germany will set aside up to €10 billion ($12 billion) to partly reimburse businesses for lost sales.

At least 1.3 million new cases were reported by the World Health Organisation in the past week, almost half the 2.9 million cases reported worldwide. Over 11,700 deaths were recorded, marking an increase of 37 percent from last week.

As of October 28, Nigeria has recorded 62,371 in coronavirus cases since its first index situation was uncovered in February, out of which 1,139 have died.

So far, Johns Hopkins University has recorded more than 42 million cases and more than 1.1 million deaths worldwide from the virus, first identified in the central Chinese city of Wuhan around November 2019.

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