France and Germany to reinstate national lockdowns

France and Germany to reinstate national lockdowns

France and Germany to reinstate national lockdowns

France and Germany have announced a return to some form of national lockdown, as the continent confronts a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.

The moves could put pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to change policy from a regional approach after the UK yesterday (Wednesday) announced 310 new deaths and 24,701 new cases.

From tomorrow people in France will only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons. The new nationwide lockdown will be enforced initially until December 1, although schools and creches will remain open.

Anyone outside their home will need to carry a written statement justifying their presence outside.

Germany, meanwhile, is imposing a softer national lockdown.

The measures coming into force on Monday are less severe than in France, but they include the closure of restaurants, bars, gyms and theatres.

In an address to the nation last night, France’s President Emmanuel Macron said: “The virus is spreading across France at a speed that even the most pessimistic did not predict.”

He admitted that a curfew for Paris and other major cities imposed two weeks ago had failed to slow down a second wave of cases that has sent the death toll in France to nearly 35,000.

“As elsewhere in Europe, we are overwhelmed by a second wave that will probably be more difficult and deadly than the first,” Macron said.

“If we did nothing… within a few months we would have at least 400,000 additional deaths,” he said.

Already more than 3,000 intensive care patients are forcing hospitals to scramble for beds, and “no matter what we do, nearly 9,000 people will be in intensive care by mid-November,” he warned.

In Germany unlike the first lockdown, schools and shops will be allowed to stay open. Takeaway services are also allowed.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who announced the move last night after agreeing it with regional governors, said it was necessary “to act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency”.

In France, Covid daily deaths are at the highest level since April. On Wednesday, 36,437 new cases and 244 deaths were confirmed, according to figures from the BBC.

German health officials said today another 89 people had died in the past 24 hours, with a record 16,774 infections.

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