France and Germany on lockdown as coronavirus cases soars


French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a second national lockdown in the country that will last at least for another one month due to an upsurge in cases of COVID19.

Mr. Macron said that under the new measures, starting on Friday, most nonessential 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,

Covid19 daily deaths in France are at the highest level since April. On Tuesday, 33,000 new cases were confirmed.

Mr. Macron said the country risked being “overwhelmed by a second wave that no doubt will be harder than the first”

Elsewhere in Germany, restaurants and bars will close for a month starting Monday, professional sports teams will play to empty stadiums, while theaters, gyms and nail salons and spas will be shuttered. But supermarkets, shops, schools, and day-care centers will remain open, Chancellor Merkel said on Wednesday.

Ms. Merkel was laughed at when she predicted last month that if people didn’t change their behavior, the country would face 19,000 infections per day by Christmas. Now, it looks like that number will be reached in November.

“Within weeks we will reach the limits of our health system,” Ms. Merkel said at a news conference.

“The selection was carefully made, knowing that it will be hard and knowing that many people have developed ways to stay safe and acted responsibly,”. “But deciding how to reduce the number of contacts, without affecting the economy and schools, we made these decisions and think they are reasonable and politically acceptable,” she said.