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29 October 2020 18:30

Matt Hancock Press conference Lockdown

Germany, France re-impose Covid lockdowns

Angela Merkel said Germans had the chance to show Covid-19 "you have chosen the wrong host" as she defended her government's second "soft" lockdown, to shouts and heckles in parliament. Bars, restaurants, theatres, swimming pools and fitness studios will close until the end of November, and public gatherings will be limited to two households or up to 10 people. Merkel said on Thursday morning that Germany was in a dramatic situation as it entered the winter. The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care had doubled in the last 10 days, and hospitals would be overwhelmed within weeks unless further steps were taken to curb the spread of the virus, she said. The new German restrictions are considerably less draconian than those announced by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, on Wednesday, but Merkel's "wavebreaker" lockdown has been met with cries of despair, particularly from the hospitality sector.

The Green party said it approved of the new measures, but accused the government of having underestimated the threat of a second wave in the summer. The lockdown measures introduced in March had broad public support, but the closure of schools and nurseries was widely criticised. Germany's disease control agency announced a record 16,774 new infections in the last 24 hours on Thursday, though for now the country's infection rate is still considerably lower than in neighbouring countries such as France and Belgium. LONDON/BERLIN (Reuters) - Europe began counting the cost of the sweeping restrictions on social life imposed to contain a surge in coronavirus infections while Britain continued to hold out against following Germany and France in ordering a second lockdown. As the pandemic raced ahead across the continent, Europe has moved back to the centre of the global pandemic, facing the prospect of a prolonged economic slump alongside a public health crisis which has so far seen more than 44 million infections and 1.1 million deaths worldwide.

France and Germany have imposed controls almost as strict as the lockdowns of the first phase of the crisis in March and April, shutting bars and restaurants and restricting movement, while allowing schools and most businesses to remain open. But Britain, the country with the largest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe, said it would stick with a system of local lockdowns despite a new study which showed cases in England doubling every nine days. Germany has set aside some 10 billion euros ($11.82 billion) to help small businesses hit by the new measures but Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the economy was not experiencing an industrial collapse as it did in the initial phase of the pandemic. Governments have been desperate to avoid a repeat of the spring lockdowns but have been forced to move by the speed of new infections and a steadily increasing mortality rate across the continent as winter approaches. Even the well-equipped health systems of countries like France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland have been pushed close to their limits by the exponential surge in cases recorded this month.

On Thursday, Sweden, which alone among European countries never imposed a lockdown, reported its third record increase in cases in a matter of days. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her government had moved quickly to prevent intensive care facilities being overwhelmed and called for a joint effort to face the crisis. It affects us all, without exception," Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament, adding new restrictions to reduce social contact were "necessary and proportionate". "We want to do everything so that French people can be with their families and their friends for the festivities at the end of the year," French Health Minister Olivier Veran said. While the latest restrictions have put a spotlight on Europe, the United States has also seen a surge in new coronavirus cases in the run-up to next week's presidential election, with more than 80,000 new cases and 1,000 deaths reported on Wednesday.

ANGELA Merkel has slapped Germany with a second coronavirus lockdown amid a record rise in cases. 8 Angela Merkel has signed off a second lockdown for Germany 8 Europe is in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus infections Mrs Merkel signed off on a second covid lockdown for all of November after an emergency meeting with state premiers from across Germany. Germany was widely praised for keeping cases and deaths below those of its neighbours early in the pandemic but, like much of Europe, the country is now in the midst of a second wave. Under the measures, due to come in on Monday morning, people will be restricted to meeting members of just one other household in public. Bars, restaurants, gyms, and cultural venues will be ordered to close and hotels can only stay open for non-tourism related stays. Schools and nurseries will be allowed to stay open as will shops so long as they impose hygiene measures and limit customer numbers. The new measures marked a "hard and bitter day" for Germany, Berlin's mayor, Michael Müller, said, according to The Guardian. During a speech in parliament on Thursday, Mrs Merkel said: "The winter will be hard - four long, hard months - but it will end." She said the new restrictions to reduce social contact were "necessary and proportionate". In France, Emmanuel Macron ordered bars, restaurants, and secondary schools to shut as of midnight on Thursday. The French President imposed almost five weeks of stricter measures from Friday as he warned France was being "overwhelmed" by a second wave of infections. 8 Schools will remain open in Germany and France amid the second lockdown 8 Europe is facing a second wave of coronavirus infections France's second lockdown will see bars, restaurants and non-essential businesses close and people banned from travelling to different regions. Residents can only leave home for essential work, exercise, to go food shopping or for medical reasons, but schools and workplaces will remain open. Mr Macron said people must use official passes to leave their homes, as they had to when March's lockdown was imposed. It comes after 527 more deaths were recorded yesterday in France, the highest daily death toll since April, with 33,417 new confirmed cases in 24 hours. Authorities in Belgium, which has the highest case rate in the EU, are eyeing a second national lockdown as early as this weekend. Bars will be forced to close in France from tomorrow as the country goes into a second full lockdown, while venues in Germany will also be ordered to shut next week as Covid-19 cases rise. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, announced yesterday (28 October) a second nationwide lockdown amid a surge of coronavirus cases. The country's daily death toll reached 523 on Tuesday (27 October), its highest level since April, and more than 33,0000 new cases of the virus were recorded. From tomorrow (30 October), people in France will only be allowed to leave their homes for work or medical reasons, and must provide a document stating their exemption. Only schools, factories and essential businesses such as food stores will be allowed to remain open. The new restrictions in France come just weeks after the government ordered the closure of bars and cafés in Paris for two weeks. Neighbouring country Germany will also enter into a partial national lockdown on Monday (2 November) until the end of November after coronavirus cases surpassed 11,000 on Tuesday. The nation's chancellor Angela Merkel has ordered the closure of bars and restaurants, however they can still offer takeaways. Leisure facilities, theatres, and tattoo and massage parlours will also be asked to close, while schools and the majority of businesses can remain open. Merkel also said small firms badly affected by the lockdown will be reimbursed with up to 75% of their November 2019 takings. Germany and France are re-entering national lockdowns following a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths, risking further business disruption in two of Europe's biggest economies In France, daily deaths from Covid-19 are at the highest level since April, while Germany logged a record 16,774 infections in a single day. In a televised address to the nation French President Emmanuel Macron said the country risked being 'overwhelmed by a second wave that no doubt will be harder than the first'. In response, France will go into national lockdown from Friday, with the restrictions not set to be reviewed until 1 December. Bars and restaurants will also close, as will all non-essential businesses. Shops will be allowed to stay open provided they meet a new condition of a maximum of one person per ten square metres in order to respect social distancing. Germany's finance minister said small firms would be compensated with up to 75% of their revenue for the same time last year, for the period they were forced to close, while bigger businesses should receive up to 70% from the state.