BERLIN (AP) – Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to come together as they did in the spring to slow the spread of coronavirus as the country posted another daily record of new cases on Saturday.
“The difficult month is ahead of us,” he said in his weekly video podcast. “How it will be winter, how it will be our Christmas, it will all decide in the coming days and weeks, and it will decide our behavior.”
Meanwhile, new restrictions have taken effect in many other European countries in an effort to stop the re-emergence of the pandemic.
In Paris and eight other French cities, restaurants, bars, cinemas and other establishments were forced to close no later than 9 pm to try to reduce contact with people. The country is deploying 12,000 additional police officers to implement the new policies.
Many restaurant owners bristled in order. An earlier month lockdown ruined the sector.
“I have the right to question the government’s strategy, I think it is a catastrophic step for the industry,” said Xavier Denamur, who owns Les Philosophes and many other Paris chic bistros in the Le Marais district. , saying that if not, the curfew should be 11 pm
“At least that won’t hurt us,” he said. “There is no evidence that this time difference will have any effect on the virus cycle.”
In Britain, a three-tier regional strategy to combat the pandemic introduced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken effect, with each level bringing stricter restrictions.
On Saturday, tier-2 cities like London and York were subject to a ban on socializing with people from other households indoors, while the province of Lancashire joined Liverpool in tier 3 strictly restrictions.
Among other things, that means that pubs are forced to close and socializing with others is prohibited even in many outdoor settings.
In Northern Ireland a four-week lockdown took place on Friday. All pubs and restaurants should be closed except for takeaway services, and schools will be closed within two weeks for an extended half-term holiday.
Data since Friday showed that an additional 136 people died in the UK within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, bringing the total number of officers to 43,429.
The World Health Organization warns that intensive care units in a number of European cities could reach maximum capacity in the coming weeks if the number of infections is not slow.
Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg has joined the list of top politicians who have tested positive for the virus, and has been quarantined even though he has shown no symptoms, his office told the news agency APA of Austria.
In the meantime, the Vatican said a resident of the same hotel, Pope Francis, was positive for the virus, adding that 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Swiss Guards were protecting him.
In Germany, which has been widely praised for the rapid slowdown in the spread of the virus when the pandemic first broke out, the number has risen rapidly.
On Saturday, the country’s disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 7,830 cases a night, a new record.
Like most countries, the Germans are arguing over how to keep schools and businesses open while trying to prevent people from interacting with each other.
Germany registered a total of 356,387 cases of coronavirus and relatively fewer than 9,767 died.
Merkel urged the Germans to avoid unnecessary travel, cancel parties and stay home as long as possible.
“What brought us to the first half of the pandemic?” he asked. “It is that we stand together and follow the rules without regard and common sense. This is the most effective remedy we have against the pandemic and it is more necessary now than ever before.”
In the nearby Czech Republic, the number of new infections exceeds 10,000 for the first time, rising to 11,105 on Friday, the Health Ministry said. The country has now registered a total of 160,112 cases, including 1,283 deaths.
Despite new stricter measures to slow the surge, Health Minister Roman Prymula said he still expects an increase in positive tests in almost two weeks.
Next door, Slovakia said it is taking 13 million rapid antigen tests – enough to test each member of the population twice – and will establish 6,000 test sites.
Prime Minister Igor Matovic said the trial will take place over the next two weekends, starting with the three or four poorest provinces being hit. It is not immediately clear whether the tests are mandatory.
The northern Lombardy region of Italy, where the European outbreak began in late February, has taken new steps to contain rebounding infections, restrict bar service and alcohol sales, banning contacts in sports and closing bingo parlors.
The regional government late Friday called for high schools to use hybrid schedules, along with students alternative to personal study online.
The measures were taken after Lombardy, Italy’s most populous region, once again became the most affected, adding more than 2,000 infections a day. Hospitals undergo and fill intensive care units.
The new initiatives only allow table service for bars from 6pm, banning the acquisition of alcohol sales from that time and banning all booze consumption in public spaces.
The other poorest region assigned by Italy, south of Campania, has taken similar drastic measures, including the shutdown of schools for two weeks. After the parents protested, the regional governor withdrew on Friday and allowed the daycare centers to remain open.
In the capital, Rome, residents murmured as cases escalated, fearing a return to stricter measures across the country imposed when the virus spread out of control.
“The situation is critical thanks to the morons, because I call them morons, who do not respect the rules,” said resident Mario Massenzi. “And if we go back to the same situation as in March, we’re done.”
Thomas Adamson in Paris, Sylvia Hui in London, Nicole Winfield in Rome, Colleen Barry in Milan and Karel Janicek in Prague contributed to this report.
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