Back to the Lockdown? – EU Countries Tighten Restrictions to Avoid Full-Scale Second COVID-19 Wave

Written by | Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

As some countries across Europe are entering the so-called second wave, there are some that appear to be – at least for now – bucking this trend. While the UK, Spain, France and the Czech Republic have lately been witnessing a significant spike in daily COVID-19 cases, by comparison, Italy – whose population is six times larger than that of the Czech Republic that recorded 4,456 daily cases – has reported 2,677, Germany is at 2,828, and no new cases have been recorded in Sweden. “There is no hiding the fact when looking at the numbers in France compared to Germany or Italy, that something different is going on right now,” says Amr Aswad, a virologist and Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow at the Freie University in Berlin. He and many other analysts say expert-led measures, better compliance and learning from past mistakes are helping some nations manage the virus.
Countries with rising COVID-19 cases have sought to tighten their restrictions further to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Bars will be forced to close in four more French cities after the government moved to tighten restrictions as new coronavirus infections continue to surge. The news comes as 18,129 new positive cases of COVID-19 were reported on Thursday (8 October) in the country — the second day the number of infections stayed above the 18,000 mark. “The health situation in France, unfortunately, is continuing to worsen. Every day in France, more and more people are being infected, more and more are falling ill, and more and more are suffering serious effects that require hospitalisation,” French health minister Olivier Véran warned. Also the UK recorded more than 17,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, as the government mulled bringing in further restrictions in hot spots. 17,540 new cases and 77 deaths recorded across the UK brought the total since the start of the pandemic to 561,815 and the total official death toll to 42,592, the highest in Europe.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is due to hold an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday (9 October) to consider declaring a state of emergency for Madrid and its surrounding region in order to impose stronger anti-virus restrictions on the reluctant regional governors. It comes as the high court in Madrid a day before rejected measures forced on the region by the central government “because they harmed the fundamental rights and freedoms.” As a result of the decision, fines cannot be handed out to citizens who break the rules. Meanwhile, even the better-off Germany could see up to 10,000 new coronavirus cases each day if social distancing and hygiene measures aren’t followed, Germany’s disease control agency warned, as the country recorded its highest daily infection total since April. With more than 4,000 cases in a a 24-hour period recorded on Thursday, the announcement by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) raised fears the pandemic is picking up pace in a country that so far has coped better than many of its European neighbours.

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