Tightening Covid-19 Lockdown: Europe‘s Economic Recovery Threatened by Coronavirus Resurgence

Written by | Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

Several countries in Europe have tightened restrictions once again amid fears that a second wave of Covid-19 is looming large on the horizon. Germany’s public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute, has said it was very concerned about rising cases of coronavirus in the country, which has led it to introduce tests for travellers returning from high-risk areas. France has had a couple of consecutive days with more than 1,000 new cases and Spain has seen a rise in cases in Catalonia, prompting the region to go into lockdown, while Belgium has reimposed stricter social distancing rules after a spike in infections. WHO Europe said that 29% of the cases reported in the past week were reported from Russia.
On the other side of the English Channel, additional lockdown restrictions have been reimposed over large swathes of northern England after a surge of coronavirus cases caused largely by people who had failed to abide to social distancing rules. It is the first time new lockdown measures have been applied to such a large geographic area, covering millions of homes. In a separate but related development, people in the UK who have tested positive for Covid-19 or present symptoms must now self-isolate for 10 days instead of seven. The UK’s Chief Medical Officers said in a statement that given “widespread and rapid testing” is now available and that lockdown measures have been reduced, the extension “will help provide additional protection to others in the community”. The UK’s updated guidance is in line with France, where the self-isolation period for people who test positive is set at eight days plus two days without symptoms – a total of 10 days.
With the number of new Covid-19 infections rising sharply also in Europe’s immediate vicinity, including in Algeria and Morocco, people from these two north African countries will no longer be able to travel into the European Union, according to EU diplomatic sources. Two weeks ago, also Serbia and Montenegro had their permission to travel to the EU removed after an increase in cases. Meanwhile, Brussels says it has secured enough of Covid-19 drug remdesivir, manufactured by US pharmaceutical company Gilead, to treat 30,000 people with the disease. Remdesivir, which is one of just two drugs proven to treat Covid-19, was also approved by the US and Japan. Reflecting the huge toll of Covid-19 pandemic, Germany has announced that its economic output made a historic decline in the second quarter of 2020, when it dropped by 10.1% compared to the previous quarter and by 11.7% compared to the same quarter from 2019. In a press release, Federal Statistical Office Destatis said that a “massive slump was recorded for exports and imports of goods and services as well as for household final consumption expenditure and capital formation in machinery and equipment”.

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