Nov. 28 (UPI) — More than 150 people were arrested during anti-lockdown protests in Britain Saturday, while Germany surpassed 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Friday.
More than 62 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began and 1.5 million people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker.
The United States has logged the most deaths and cases worldwide, with 265,938 deaths and 13,220,516 — and is also recording the highest number of new cases worldwide.
But case counts and deaths are surging in many parts of the world: France reported the second highest number of new deaths Friday, with 956 deaths, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s COVID-19 trend tracker.
France logged 12,335 new cases of the virus Friday, adding to the nearly 2.2 million cases logged in the country since the virus was first detected there. Of those infected in France, 51,566 have died.
Turkey reported the second highest number of new cases Friday, with 36,008 new infections. Turkey also reported 174 new deaths Friday. The country has logged 503,738 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and 13,014 deaths.
Under the country’s current restrictions, schools and most stores are still open, but bars and gyms are closed and restaurants are only open for takeout.
“We’re in for a tough winter, but it will come to an end,” Merkel said in an address to Germany’s parliament. “And right now, as people start to think about Christmas and the New Year, my wish for us all is that we act responsibly and stand up for each other.”
Merkel has promised to ease social distancing measures over Christmas, increasing the number of people allowed to gather privately from five to 10 — but the government has asked people to avoid social contact the week before visiting relatives for Christmas.
And in London, more than 150 people were arrested Saturday during anti-lockdown protests on the city’s West End.
The Metropolitan Police said people were arrested on a number of different charges, including breaches of COVID-19 restrictions, assaulting a police officer and possession of illegal drugs.
Protesters, some dressed as Christmas elves, carried signs reading “All I want for Christmas is my freedom back”, “Ditch the face masks” and “Stop controlling us,” where police had warned them that protests were not acceptable exemptions to the ban on gathering under current coronavirus regulations in England.
On Friday Britain recorded 14,739 new cases and 520 new deaths. Since the pandemic began 1.6 million people have contracted the virus in Britain and 57,551 have died.