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Back to lockdown: France and Germany impose new virus restrictions

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Emmanuel Macron attend the face-to-face EU summit in Brussels, Belgium October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool

Back to lockdown: France and Germany impose new virus restrictions

France and Germany are set to return to lockdown as cases of COVID-19 surge across Europe.

Back to lockdown: France and Germany impose new virus restrictions

On Wednesday local time, French president Emmanuel Macron declared France would enter a four-week lockdown on Friday. Only schools and essential businesses will be permitted to remain open.

The announcement came just hours after German chancellor Angela Merkel also announced a four-week lockdown to commence across her nation on Monday.

Restaurants, gyms and museums will be closed for one month in Germany, while schools and shops will be able to stay open.

It comes as a second wave of COVID-19 batters Europe, with many nations recording their highest daily caseloads since the pandemic started this week.

Daily deaths from COVID in France are at the highest level since April, and President Macron has declared the country risks being “overrun by a second wave which we know will be harder, more deadly than the first”.

Meanwhile, Germany has seen a record rise in cases, reporting almost 15,000 new infections over a 24-hour period on Wednesday – more than double from a week earlier.

Merkel said the country could reach the limits of its health system “within weeks”.

“It is completely clear that we must act, and act now, to prevent a national health crisis,” she said.

According to the World Health Organisation, the European region accounted for almost half of the 2.8 million new coronavirus cases reported across the globe last week.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said Europe is “deep in the second wave”.

“I think that this year’s Christmas will be a different Christmas,” she said.

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