France’s European neighbors toughen up with Covid with new restrictions

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                Avec plus d'un million de décès de coronavirus et près de 40 millions de cas de Covid-19 dans le monde, des régions comme l'Europe qui ont payé un lourd tribut lors de la première épidémie sont à nouveau confrontées à des choix difficiles sur la façon de contrôler une nouvelle vague sans la dévastation économique provoquée par les verrouillages à l'échelle nationale.
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                                    <p>La France est devenue mercredi le dernier pays européen à durcir les mesures anti-coronavirus, imposant un couvre-feu à Paris et dans huit autres villes à partir de samedi.

Here is an overview of the new or strengthened measures put in place by some of France’s European neighbors.

Germany

New cases of coronavirus infections have climbed to 6,638 in the past 24 hours, official data showed Thursday, reaching a daily level not seen since the start of the pandemic.

The alarming rise in the number came just hours after Chancellor Angela Merkel met with leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states to agree on tighter restrictions.

Under the new measures, if an area registers more than 35 new infections per 100,000 population for seven days, masks will become mandatory in all places where people are in close contact.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with leaders of federal states to discuss new restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, October 14, 2020 Pool / AFP
    </div>Le nombre de personnes autorisées à se rassembler sera également limité à 25 dans les espaces publics et 15 dans les espaces privés.

Once a threshold of 50 new infections per 100,000 is exceeded, even more severe restrictions will apply, such as limiting private gatherings to 10 people or two households, and closing restaurants after 11 p.m.

Spain

Bars and restaurants will close in the northeastern region of Catalonia for the next 15 days starting Thursday evening as the country tackles one of the highest infection rates in the European Union , with nearly 900,000 cases and more than 33,000 deaths.

The announcement came as regional leaders in Madrid were locked in a political stalemate with the central government over imposing a partial lockdown in the capital and eight surrounding cities to slow the rampant spread of cases.

The restrictions, under which some 4.5 million people cannot leave city limits and bars and restaurants must adhere to an 11 p.m. curfew, initially went into effect on October 2 but were briefly suspended through the courts, which prompted the central government to intervene, the dominant regional opposition.

The Netherlands

Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Tuesday that the country will enter semi-lockdown, its toughest measures since March.

Cases of the virus hit a record high of more than 7,000 cases on Tuesday, making it the country with the third highest infection rate relative to its population, after Belgium and the Czech Republic.

Rutte said the partial lockdown – under which masks have been made mandatory in indoor public spaces, but schools remain open – will be reviewed after two weeks, but is expected to last at least four.

Much like restaurants, coffeeshops can sell their products for take out only, but must stop at 8:00 p.m. Supermarkets and shops are banned from selling alcohol after the same period.

Republic of Ireland

Prime Minister Micheal Martin has announced a series of new curbs along the border with the British province of Northern Ireland, including the closure of non-essential outlets, gymnasiums, swimming pools and recreation centers.

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A person wearing a mask walks past a closed pub in Dublin city center on September 3, 2020.
A person wearing a mask walks past a closed pub in Dublin city center on September 3, 2020. REUTERS / Clodagh Kilcoyne
    </div>Plus tôt mercredi, le gouvernement décentralisé d'Irlande du Nord a annoncé son intention de fermer les pubs et les restaurants pendant quatre semaines, de resserrer les restrictions sur les rassemblements sociaux et de prolonger les vacances scolaires à mi-parcours pour contrer la flambée du nombre de cas.

Martin also announced a ban on home or garden visits between separated households anywhere in Ireland – which has suffered 1,835 coronavirus deaths to date.

Britain

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also under increasing pressure to impose tougher measures to reduce the rate spiral in England, including a two-week ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown.

Johnson said a new UK-wide lockdown would be a ‘disaster’ but declined to rule it out because the government’s science advisory committee approved a temporary lockdown.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Thursday said the city of 9 million people would move to level two or high alert restrictions from this weekend.

“This would mean that different households could not mix inside,” he added, as MPs in London said the restrictions would go into effect from midnight Friday to Saturday.

Italy

Italian authorities recorded 7,332 new cases on Wednesday – the highest daily number the hard-hit country has ever seen.

Rome has already imposed new, stricter rules to control the resurgence of the virus, including the end of parties, amateur football matches and bar snacks at night.

(with AFP)

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