BRUSSELS – France announced another nationwide lockdown and Germany on Wednesday turned to the extreme edge of one as it tested its epidemic-fed population as it tried to stem a new wave of coronavirus infections filling hospitals and undoing hopes of economic recovery.
Other European countries, from Belgium to Italy to the Czech Republic, have taken new steps in anticipation of new sanctions. While they were mostly short of the total lockdown of the spring of Tuna – when the “lockdown light,” the Germans called it – they made the dark winter decorations of the respective prisons, and the leaders of Paris and Berlin followed in their footsteps at the urging of the public. New rules.
“I am tired and know the spirit of the day that has no end that will defeat us all,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a national address on Wednesday. “We must live together and unite, and not give in to the poison of division. This period is certainly difficult because it is testing our resilience and our unity. ”
Understanding the need for urgent action, he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, trying to keep parts of the economy open and deeming daily life necessary or less dangerous, while keeping all other matters closed, led German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Any rigorous course risks popular uprisings.
In Europe, as in the United States, epidemics and new lockdowns boosted stock markets, with the larger index down nearly one percent on Wednesday.
Starting Friday, France will go into a nationwide lockdown in which only schools and essential businesses will remain open until December 1, while in Germany, the new measures will close cultural spaces such as restaurants, bars, gyms and theaters for a month, but exemption schools and shops.
Months ago, when Italy became the first European country to impose a nationwide lockdown in March, control over independence stunned Europeans who had not experienced anything like it since World War II. But then curfews and bans have become routine, if sporadic, a feature of life in Europe, which they use to defeat the virus before summer, then relieve them, triggering a second wave of infection.
The growing toll of the virus made it clear that the road available to European governments was rapidly shrinking, and they could no longer delay taking revenge for some drastic measures, especially if they wanted to save any part of the winter holiday period.
Spain was back in a state of emergency last week, when the Italian government closed restaurant restaurants until 6pm on Sunday, with restaurants in Belgium, currently the continent’s highest infectious rate, closed this month, followed by museums and gyms over the weekend.
But this second wave is significantly different from the first. Unlike springtime lockdown, a new raft of steps will not open-end. Most of the recent bans announced in European countries have been in place for almost a month, which scientists and policymakers believe could act as a “circuit breaker”.
And while hospitals are recruiting at an alarming rate, due to the average age of patients and better treatment protocols for hospitalized people, the mortality rate of this wave is significantly lower than at first.
Still, many Europeans are tired, emotionally and financially exhausted, by the new curbs, by the new curbs in their liberties, after having tasted the unpredictable movement during the summer.
European Union President Ursula von der Leyen, unveiling new plans to fight the virus in the European Union, said: “We are dealing with two enemies: we are dealing with coronavirus and corona fatigue. We are living. ” “People are fed up with remedies,” he added.
The epidemic situation on the continent is dire. Europe’s new infection rate has tripled in the past month, topping 200,000 a day.
France, Spain, Italy and Britain are among the European countries reporting spikes in new cases – and the highest number of their deaths in months. France has the highest daily death toll since April this week, while Italy and the UK have the highest since May.
In France, where strict measures were announced on Wednesday, 288 people died of the virus in hospitals on Tuesday and 235 in nursing homes in the previous four days.
The beds in France’s intensive care unit were half full, and modeling the spread of the virus indicated that the country’s health care system was two weeks away from hospitalization, the peak of the first wave. Mr Macron insisted that the situation was similar in most of Europe, “overwhelmed by the second wave that we know will be harder and more deadly than the first.”
Most compulsory businesses in France will close – including bars and restaurants – and movement outside one’s home will be strictly limited. Private and public gatherings will be banned. But schools will remain open. Some economic activity – public services, factories, farms and construction sites – will continue, and restrictions on retirement home visits and burials will not be as strict as in the spring.
In Germany, restaurants and bars will be closed for the month starting Monday, professional sports teams will play in empty stadiums, while theaters, gyms and nail salons and spas will be closed. But supermarkets, shops, schools and day care centers will remain open, Chancellor Merkel said Wednesday.
Mrs Merkel, who has overseen a wide range of stimulus measures to support struggling businesses and workers, said the government would compensate small and medium-sized businesses affected by the closure for losses of up to 75 per cent.
The measures are aimed at reducing stress on the country’s hospitals, where the number of patients has doubled in just 10 days, and will prevent the rapid spread of the virus before the coming holidays, without bringing complete stability to the economy.
Ms Merkel laughed when she predicted last month that if people did not change their behavior, the country would face 19,000 infections every day by Christmas. Now, it looks like that number will reach in November.
“Within a week we will reach the limits of our health system,” Mr Merkel told a news conference after agreeing on nationwide action with 16 German governors.
“The choice was made very carefully, knowing that it would be tough and many people have developed a way to stay safe and behave responsibly,” he said. “But in deciding how to reduce the number of contacts without affecting the economy and schools, we have made these decisions and think it is reasonable and politically acceptable.”
The chancellor held a video meeting with governors on Wednesday, and several thousand people working in the entertainment business marched into the heart of Berlin, rejecting the move to dismiss them from early March.
More people are protesting the sanctions, and Ms. Merkel acknowledged that the introduction of new measures two weeks ago would have helped, but there was no political acceptance for such measures.
“Look at the lack of visibility and understanding that there is,” he said. “We have to be prepared to defend this move even in court.”
The move came in the wake of several new lockdowns by others over the past few weeks, in two leading countries in the region, Germany and France, and in some cases faced a backlash.
The Italian government announced new bans this week – ordering the rest early rants to close as soon as possible and closing cinemas, gyms and theaters for a month – quickly met with protests. Starting in Naples before the protests spread to other cities, including Rome and Milan, protesters set off fireworks, burned trash cans and clashed with police.
In a central square in Turin on Tuesday, peaceful protesters placed white tablecloths with plates, cutlery and wine glasses on Cotina stones and sat in silence.
Belgium, which suffered terrible conditions in the first wave, became the second European country with the highest infection rate this week. It has closed restaurants, bars and cafes and closed cultural centers, museums and gyms over the weekend and introduced a curfew from 10pm to 6am.
The Czech Republic seems to have survived the onslaught of coronavirus in the spring, with more than quadrupling its case load to hospitals in October. Its daily death toll has risen to the world’s highest in the past week.
“What happened was somehow predicted but no one expected its scope,” Czech Prime Minister Andrzej Babis said after announcing the second national lockdown.
Officials also imposed a curfew on Wednesday that would ban the movement after 9pm and told its European Union and NATO allies to send medical staff to help prevent the epidemic.
Despite being frightening and devastating, new sanctions are inevitable in the wake of the epidemic resurgence, said Peter Piot, a renowned infectious disease expert.
“The current situation in many countries is that there is widespread infection in the community. Some kind of lockdown is needed to stop the virus and save lives.”
Reported by Li Relin Briden in Paris, Melissa Eddy in Berlin, Gaia Pianigini in Rome, Isabella Cavai in London, and Hannah de Goij in Prague.