RTL Today – Global roundup: France, Germany join nations to tighten controls to stop virus outbreak

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                        L'Allemagne et la France ont élaboré des règles plus strictes jeudi, en ligne avec un nombre croissant de pays luttant contre une résurgence des infections à coronavirus, Paris rendant les masques obligatoires dans tous les lieux publics afin de freiner la montée de nouveaux cas dans la ville.                        

European countries are seeing an increase in infections even as they struggle to balance new restrictions and the need for their economies to recover from the devastating impact of the first cycle of lockdown.

Britain, South Korea and Rwanda are also tightening their restrictions as fears grow of a return to the draconian anti-virus brakes put in place earlier in the year.

The pandemic has killed more than 826,000 people worldwide since it emerged in China late last year and more than 24 million infections have been recorded.

Germany, the European Union’s biggest economy, will impose stricter mask-wearing rules and bar football fans from entering stadiums at least until the end of the year, according to a draft proposal seen by AFP.

The measures – such as a minimum fine of 50 euros ($ 59) for failing to meet mask-wearing requirements – are expected to be formally approved later Thursday.

As in other countries, the surge in coronavirus cases in Germany in recent weeks has been mostly blamed on summer travel and gatherings of friends and family.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday that masks would be mandatory in all public places in the capital Paris, one of the hardest hit regions in France.

Official figures released in France on Wednesday showed more than 5,400 new confirmed cases in just 24 hours, with admissions to hospital and intensive care units on the rise.

Castex has warned that a new lockdown cannot be ruled out even though the government will try to do everything to avoid one.

European government officials are also trying to instill discipline in their ranks to maintain public confidence in measures that restrict freedoms.

European Union trade boss Phil Hogan has been forced to resign for violating guidelines in his home country, Ireland.

Britain, which left the EU in January, has reversed its course and called on students to wear masks when they return to class from next week.

Keeping mask wearing and other restrictions in place, Rwanda extended its evening curfew and barred movements from entering and leaving the western Rusizi area after a recent surge of infections.

Rwanda on Tuesday recorded a record 217 cases in one day and recorded a third of its 3,625 cases in the past 10 days, with authorities attributing the peak of complacency and fatigue to social distancing measures.

In South Korea, parliament was closed on Thursday and a group of lawmakers were in self-quarantine as the country recorded more than 400 new coronavirus infections.

The country suffered one of the worst early epidemics of Covid-19 outside of mainland China before largely bringing it under control through extensive research and testing.

The United States, however, has broken the tightening trend, even though it leads the world in virus deaths and infections.

US authorities now say asymptomatic people do not need to test for Covid-19 if they have been exposed to someone diagnosed with the virus.

They had previously encouraged these people to get tested, but US media reported political interference from the White House.

  • “Historic” Swiss dive –

President Donald Trump has long been accused by critics of trying to downplay the scale of the pandemic and focus on economic recovery ahead of his re-election in November.

The U.S. recovery from the coronavirus economic downturn is “highly uncertain” and many companies will continue to struggle, a senior Federal Reserve official said on Wednesday.

Switzerland was the latest example to show how the pandemic brought the global economy to its knees.

Switzerland, according to official figures, plunged into recession after the coronavirus pandemic caused a “historic” 8.2% drop in economic activity in the second quarter.

Economies have generally recovered since then, although there are fears that the recovery appears to be slowing as coronavirus cases multiply again, fueling fears of a repeat of the economically damaging lockdowns seen earlier this year.

In the airline industry which has seen stranded planes around the world, British aerospace giant Rolls-Royce on Thursday posted a net loss of 5.4 billion pounds ($ 7.1 billion) to the first semester of 2020.

And the national airline Air New Zealand reported an annual net loss of around US $ 300 million after demand plummeted due to the pandemic.

Hopes for an economic recovery rest in part on the development of a vaccine, which companies and governments around the world are rushing to develop.

Peru began registering volunteers for clinical trials of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday.

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