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Europe starts locking down again as COVID cases rise: Here’s the latest update

A jump in coronavirus cases has prompted some EU countries to reinstitute lockdowns. France and Germany are putting modified restrictions back in place.

Europe starts locking down again as COVID cases rise: Here’s the latest update
View of an empty restaurant terrace in Berlin on October 29, 2020, prior to a “semi-lockdown” starting on November 2, 2020, which will see a closing of bars and restaurants in Germany. [Photo: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images]
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A rise in COVID-19 cases in Europe has prompted some countries to reinstitute lockdowns.

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France and Germany, among the most vital on the continent, are putting modified restrictions back in place.

In France, travel will be limited to work, medical appointments, helping loved ones, doing essential shopping, or taking a walk near one’s home. Nonessential businesses, like bars and restaurants, will be closed. Preschools through high schools will remain open “with reinforced health protocols,” but universities will be online. Public service counters, factories, farms, and construction sites will remain open. Nursing home visits will be allowed “in strict compliance with health rules” and cemeteries will be open for All Saints’ Day, according to the federal government’s website.

The new COVID-19 lockdown begins tomorrow and will run at least until December 1.

“We are all in Europe surprised by the evolution of the virus. Some countries, like Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, took harsher measures earlier than ours. However, we are all at the same point: overwhelmed by a second wave which, as we now know, will undoubtedly be harder and more deadly than the first,” French president Emmanuel Macron said in a speech yesterday.

Germany’s reissued restrictions go into effect on Monday until the end of November.

Residents are being asked to reduce or eliminate contact with people, except those they live with. Gatherings between two households are allowed, but with not more than 10 people. They also should not travel unless it’s essential. So-called recreational businesses, such as movie theaters, brothels, and gyms, will be closed as will restaurants, bars, and salons.

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Schools and nurseries may open as can salons following hygiene and social-distancing rules and whole and retail stores. Also permitted are medical treatment facilities, like podiatry offices and physical- and speech-therapy centers.

“If the virus continues to spread at this rate, our health system will be pushed to its limits within weeks,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “We must act and we must act now.”