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Rabu, 28 Oktober 2020

Germany to impose national lockdown due to COVID-19, with France tipped to follow - ABC News

Germany will go into a national lockdown from the start of next week in an effort to curb rocketing COVID-19 infections, with France tipped to be the next European country to do so.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made the announcement during a televised address on Wednesday afternoon (local time) saying the Federal Government had come to an agreement with states to lockdown the entire country from November 2 – for at least two weeks.

Shops, schools and kindergartens will remain open but private meetings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people from two households, and all bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, pools and gyms are to be closed.

German citizens will be asked to avoid all non-essential travel and hotels will only be open for essential non-tourism purposes.

"Our health system can still cope with this challenge today, but at this speed of infections it will reach the limits of its capacity within weeks."

Ms Merkel added that health authorities were no longer able to trace the origin of around 75 per cent of infections, which made it difficult to say which measures exactly would have the biggest impact.

"We have to reduce contacts somewhere. If we wait longer, we will have to reduce contacts even more," she said.

A 10 billion euro (A$16.64 billion) aid package will pay companies that have to close a share of their lost sales during the shutdown.

Smaller companies, with up to 50 employees, will receive 75 per cent of the year-earlier revenues for the month of November.

Germany was widely praised for keeping infection and death rates below those of many of its neighbours in the first phase of the crisis but is now in the midst of a second wave.

Cases rose by 14,964 to 464,239 in the last 24 hours, Germany's infectious diseases agency, the Robert Koch Institute said, while deaths jumped by 85 to a total of 10,183.

The Chancellor and state leaders will reconvene two weeks into the partial lockdown to assess how effective the measures are.

The announcement came on the same day hospitality and entertainment industry staff took to the streets of German capital Berlin to voice their opposition to the partial lockdown which is currently in place.

Protesters crowd a Berlin street, they are against a new lockdown in Germany.
Hospitality and entertainment industry workers hit the streets of Berlin to rail against coronavirus restrictions.(Reuters: Hannibal Hanchke)

Thousands of protesters marched through the city centre and passed the Federal Chancellery.

France may follow suit with national lockdown

In France, which has seen more than 50,000 new cases a day, President Emmanuel Macron will give a televised address in the evening and is expected to announce further curbs on movement following the curfew measures introduced across much of the country last week.

News television BFM TV reported that the Government was considering a month-long lockdown from midnight on Thursday, but there was no confirmation from Mr Macron's office.

France reported 288 new virus-related deaths in hospitals in the 24 hours leading up to Tuesday and 235 deaths in nursing homes over the previous four days.

Both figures marked the biggest such rise since May.

Meanwhile, European stock markets hit their lowest levels since June on Wednesday, as the Euro fell against the dollar and the Cboe Volatility Index .VIX, known as Wall Street's "fear gauge", surged to its highest level in nearly two months.

ABC/wires

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2020-10-28 18:25:00Z
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