BERLIN (AP) – Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to come together as they did in the spring to curb the spread of the coronavirus, just as the country posted another daily record of new cases on Saturday. Meanwhile, new restrictions went into effect in several other European nations in an effort to stem the resurgence of the pandemic.
“Difficult months await us,” he said on his weekly video podcast. What will winter be like and what will our Christmas be like? That will be decided in the coming days and weeks, and it will be decided by our conduct ”.
In Paris and eight other French cities, restaurants, bars, cinemas and other establishments were forced to close before 9 p.m. in an attempt to reduce contact between people. The country was deploying an additional 12,000 police officers to enforce the new rules.
Many restaurant owners are furious with the order. An earlier shutdown of several months devastated the sector.
“I have the right to question the government’s approach, I think it is a catastrophic move for the sector,” said Xavier Denamur, owner of Les Philosophes and several other bistros in the elegant Le Marais district of Paris. He said that at the very least the curfew should be 11pm.
“At least that wouldn’t destroy us,” he said. “There is no evidence that this difference of a couple of hours has any effect on the circulation of the virus.”
In Britain, a three-tier regional approach to fighting the pandemic introduced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson came into effect. Each level brought progressively stricter restrictions.
On Saturday, Tier 2 cities like London and York were subject to a ban on gathering indoors with people from other households, while Lancashire County joined Liverpool at Tier 3, which has the strictest restrictions. Among other things, that means that pubs were forced to close and meeting with other people is prohibited, even in many outdoor settings.
In Northern Ireland a four-week lockdown went into effect on Friday. All pubs and restaurants must close, except for takeout services, and schools will close for two weeks for an extended mid-school holiday.
The World Health Organization has warned that intensive care units in several European cities could reach full capacity in the coming weeks if the number of infections does not decrease.
The Lombardy region, in northern Italy and where the coronavirus outbreak began in Europe at the end of February, adopted new measures on Friday to contain the outbreaks, limiting the activity of bars and the sale of alcohol, banning the sports of contact and closing the bingo rooms.
The regional government also asked secondary schools to adopt a hybrid schedule for students to alternate face-to-face classes with online teaching.
The measures were taken after Lombardy, the most populated region in Italy, once again became the main focus of the second wave of the pandemic in the country, with more than 2,000 infections in one day. Hospitals are under increasing pressure and intensive care units are filling up.
According to the new rules, bars will only be able to serve at the table after 6:00 p.m. and the sale of alcohol to go thereafter is prohibited, as well as the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public spaces in an attempt to prevent crowds form in the squares.
In the other Italian region hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, Campania, in the south, similarly stringent measures were adopted, including closing schools for two weeks. Following protests from parents, the governor backed down on Friday and allowed the nurseries to continue operating.
On the other hand, the Czech Republic broke its new record for daily infections for the third consecutive day and surpassed the 10,000 barrier for the first time. According to the Health Ministry, 11,105 new cases were reported on Friday, almost 1,400 more than the mark reached the day before.
Since the start of the pandemic, the country has confirmed 160,112 cases of COVID-19, with 1,283 deaths.
Despite the restrictions decreed by the government to slow the spread of the virus, Health Minister Roman Prymula said he expects the positives to continue to rise in the next two weeks.
If the measures do not achieve their goal, the number of new cases could reach a quarter of a million in the second half of October, according to the forecast of the Ministry of Health.
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