– Germany will extend its lockdown until April 18, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, adding that the government would ask citizens to stay at home during the Easter holidays in an attempt to curb a “third wave” of cases.
– France will open 35 mass vaccination centers “in the coming days” with warning from government advisers more restrictions might be needed, as hospitals face a “Unprecedented violent shock” if the country does not curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus,
– Fines of $ 6,900 will be imposed on people from England trying to travel abroad before the end of June for no good reason, said UK Health Minister Matt Hancock. However, he added that the government had there are no plans to add all of Europe to its “red list” of trips, which would imply mandatory quarantine in hotels on arrival.
– Spain will extend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 18 to 65 when he resumes using the jab this week, Health Minister Carolina Darias said.
– Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that the country’s economy would not be reopened until all citizens aged 65 and over were vaccinated.
– Denmark plans to ease restrictions next month, including the opening of services, including hairdressers, but the the reopening of its economy would depend on “corona passports”, that indicate whether the holder has been vaccinated, infected or tested in the last 72 hours.
– Czechia’s death toll has passed the 25,000 mark, making it one of the highest per capita death rates in the world.
– Ukraine tightens border controls and requiring visitors to present negative tests before entry, said Health Minister Maksym Stepanov, after the country recorded its highest daily death rate.
– Vaccine manufacturers should follow AstraZeneca’s lead and license their technology to other manufacturers to overcome “grotesque” inequalities in vaccines, said the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
– UK to hold minute’s silence to mark more than 126,000 dead on the first anniversary of the country’s lockdown. Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised Britain’s “great spirit” in tackling the virus, saying he had allowed the country to start “on the cautious path” to ease restrictions.
– The coronavirus variant first found in the UK could be linked to severe cases of heart disease in pets that have caught the virus from humans British vets have reported.
– The EU will use “all the tools at our disposal” to secure AstraZeneca vaccines, said the European Commission’s chief vaccine negotiator, following threats from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to tighten export controls on vaccines that do not do not respect their supply contracts.
Ryan Thompson in Frankfurt
Germany is on track to have the longest nationwide lockdown in Europe, after state prime ministers agreed overnight to extend shutdown measures until the middle of next month.
There had been consensus in early March that some relaxation of the rules was possible, but leaders chose not to end the lockdown and instead installed an “emergency brake” in case the infections would start to increase again.
With a national incidence rate exceeding 100 per 100,000 for more than three consecutive days, they are now pulling that emergency trigger. Top epidemiologists at the Robert Koch Institute have warned of an “exponential increase” in cases at Easter.
Announcing the new rules overnight, Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters: “We are facing a new virus of the same type but with very different characteristics. More deadly and more contagious ”. The revised lockdown aims to significantly limit contact, especially during the Easter holidays. All businesses will be asked to close for five days, including essential businesses.
Many criticize the new measures, saying they are unlikely to be very effective. “You can tell who really holds the power in this country: the businesses, the lawyers, the churches and the travelers of Mallorca,” Christian Odendahl of the Center for European Reform wrote on Twitter.
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Penelope Liersch in Budapest
Hungary has reported another record-breaking coronavirus death day, 252 in the past 24 hours. The number of people hospitalized and on ventilators is also the highest to date, 11,873 and 1,389 respectively.
Local media are reporting that some hospitals have reached capacity and are converting additional floors into intensive care units. This contrasts with Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s assurances last week that the healthcare system could manage the growing number of hospitalizations.
It comes as the Hungarian medical chamber issued a statement saying the situation was more serious than ever. The group called on Hungarians to try to shop only once a week, to avoid popular exercise areas, public transport and any Easter meeting. The government is due to announce restrictions for the Easter period on Friday.
Czechia has now recorded more than 25,000 deaths from coronaviruses. The country has one of the highest per capita death rates and the numbers have more than doubled since the start of the year.
Ross Cullen in Paris
The number of people in intensive care in France is now more than 4,500, which approaches the peak of 4,900 during the second wave of last fall.
More than 6 million people have now received their first dose of vaccine and the government plans to open 35 “vaccinodromes,” or mass vaccination centers.
A new slogan has been launched by the Prime Minister’s Office to try and communicate more clearly who you are allowed to see and where under the current restrictions: “Inside with family, outside with others” .
The number of new cases recorded on Monday was over 15,000 – a very high number for a Monday, when there is usually a drop in infections due to fewer tests being done on Sunday.
Navied Jabarkhyl à Londres
It has been a year since the UK first entered the coronavirus lockdown. Since then, the country has officially recorded more than 126,000 deaths and has seen its economy fare worse than any of its main rivals.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said every individual in the UK has shown a ‘great spirit’ over the 12 months. He will be among the many to pay homage with a moment of silence at noon.
Elsewhere, people traveling overseas from England next week will face the threat of a fine of nearly $ 7,000 if they do not have a valid reason for their trip. Politicians will vote on measures under the new legal powers to tackle the virus on Thursday.
Stuart Smith in Brussels
In Belgium, the infection rate is up 40% from last week and the reproduction rate, or R, is above 1.14, which means the infection rate is increasing.
To try to deal with this, the Belgian government has decided to take measures to lower this figure.
Contact scans show that schools are a major source of infection, so a return to full-time face-to-face education is postponed for high school students until regular teacher testing (and more. late pupils) are possible.
A plan to allow more people to congregate for outdoor activities is also on indefinite suspension, while only window seats can now be used on trains to tourist destinations.
If the situation does not improve, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke says the timetable for reopening schools (April 19) and cafes / restaurants (May 1) could be threatened.
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