Health

France, Germany reimpose lockdowns

Paris/Berlin Oct 28 (efe-epa).- France and Germany will reimpose nationwide lockdowns to curb the alarming and rapid spread of coronavirus, the leaders of the two countries said on Wednesday.

The measures in France, which will be less severe than those during the first wave of the pandemic, will take effect on Friday and last at least one month, Emmanuel Macron said during an address on French national television.

“The virus is circulating in France at a speed that even the most pessimistic forecasts had not anticipated. (…) We must recognize that, like all our neighbors, we have become overwhelmed by the sudden acceleration of the epidemic,” the president said.

“Difficult measures have been taken… but they have not been not enough to combat the second wave,” which he said would be “harder and more fatal” than the first.

Macron insisted that the country needed to “brutally” stop the spread of the virus to avoid hospitals becoming oversaturated. France reported over 52,000 new infections on Sunday.

Unlike March and April, when patients from hotspots could be transferred to less affected regions, Covid-19 is affecting every part of the country in equal measures, he said.

Macron advised that schools would remain open, while remote working will be recommended wherever possible. Visits to nursing homes will be permitted, as will funeral services.

“Factories, farms and public works will continue to operate. The economy must not stop or collapse,” he said. “Non-essential” businesses that will be forced to close include bars, restaurants, theaters and museums.

Macron stressed that France’s internal European Union borders will remain open “and, with few exceptions, the external ones will remain closed,” although French people abroad will be able to return to the country and everyone arriving in the country will be tested on arrival.

His announcement came hours after his counterpart in Germany, chancellor Angela Merkel, said that a partial lockdown would also be enforced in her country from Monday.

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