Both France and Germany on Wednesday announced plans for lockdowns in response to a fresh wave of coronavirus infections that’s moving through Europe.
In an address to the nation Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced France will go into its second national lockdown of the pandemic starting Friday to stave off a worsening outbreak in the country.
Under the new restrictions, nonessential businesses like restaurants and bars will close and residents will be required to remain in their homes except when going out to buy essential goods, seek medical attention or exercise. People will also no longer be able to travel between regions of the country. Schools and places of work will remain open and retirement homes will still accept visitors.
Macron said the restrictions will be in place until Dec. 1.
“The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated,” Macron said in his address, according to Reuters. “We are all in the same position: overrun by a second wave which we know will be hard, more deadly than the first.”
France has reported an average of more than 38,000 daily cases over the past week, an increase of more than 54 percent compared to a week ago, according to The New York Times. On Monday, France reached a record level of more than 52,00 new confirmed cases in a single day, while more than 500 deaths were reported over 24 hours Wednesday.
The country is also dealing with a steep rise in hospitalizations.
Just before Macron’s announcement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said restaurants, bars, cinemas and other facilities will shut down for four weeks starting on Nov. 2. Stores, schools and daycares will stay open but with limited capacity.
“These are tough measures,” she said. “We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency,” Merkel told reporters Wednesday, according to CNBC.
Germany has confirmed more than 464,000 cases and more than 10,000 deaths. Cases began to triple in the first few weeks of October and the country is now averaging more than 10,000 cases per day.
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