Thursday , October 22 2020 8:51 am

Coronavirus: New Europe restrictions imposed to fight second wave

The Czech Republic has shut schools and bars, Dutch cafes and restaurants are closing and France could impose curfews, as European governments fight to keep a second wave of Covid-19 infections under control.

The partial lockdown in the Netherlands comes into force at 22:00 (20:00 GMT).

Two hours earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron is set to detail new measures for Paris and other cities.

Spain’s Catalonia region is also considering its own temporary measures.

Across Europe, infection rates are rising, with Russia reporting a record 14,321 daily cases on Wednesday and a further 239 deaths.

But even in countries that have had greater success than most in keeping transmission down, infections are rising.

Germany has seen more than 5,000 new infections for the first time since April and 47 areas with an average rate of over 50 people per 100,000 residents.

Germany’s RKI public health agency officials speak of seeing an “accelerated rise in transmission in the population”.

Will France impose a curfew?

Until President Macron confirms what the new measures will be on national TV at 19:55 on Wednesday, all we know for sure from the government is that “nothing has been ruled out”. But like all European leaders he is doing everything to avoid a return to a national lockdown.

There are widespread reports that curfews were discussed at a Tuesday night cabinet meeting, but it is not known what they would involve. Paris and Lille were under consideration as cities most likely to face an evening curfew, news channel BFM reported.

This kind of measure would involve prohibiting movement overnight except for a limited number of people, and would be enforced by greater numbers of police on the streets. It would also hit restaurants very hard, when bars and gyms are already shut in several cities placed under maximum alert.

French Guiana has been under curfew but the hours have been gradually shortened.

What’s happening elsewhere?

A three-week partial lockdown began late on Tuesday in the Czech Republic, with schools, university dorms, bars and clubs all shut.

There have been 1,106 deaths from Covid-19 since 1 March, and more than 8,000 new cases were announced on Wednesday, for only the second time since the pandemic began.

According to the European Union’s ECDC health agency, the Czech Republic has the highest rate of infection in Europe over the past two weeks, at 521.5 cases per 100,000 people.


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