Several European nations have put in place new measures and restrictions to contain the second wave of coronavirus, which is rapidly spreading across the continent and with cases skyrocketing.
Much of Europe has put in place measures such as bar closings or early closing, but now rising infection rates are also testing the determination of governments to keep schools and non-COVID medical supplies going.
On Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned her citizens to expect "difficult months" as the country posted a new record of over 7,800 new coronavirus cases every day, and urged Germans to join forces as they did in the spring to allow the US to spread slow down coronavirus.
"We have difficult months ahead of us," she said on her weekly video podcast. "How winter will be, how our Christmas will be – it will all be decided in the days and weeks to come, and it will be decided by our behavior."
In Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is expected to announce further measures on Sunday to counter the new wave of COVID-19 cases, his office said, with school closings being considered. The country posted a new daily infection record on Saturday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) has told her citizens that "difficult months lie ahead" as Covid-19 cases continue to surge in the country praised for its response to the virus. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (right) is expected to announce further measures on Sunday to counter the new wave of COVID-19 cases
Europe exceeded more than 150,000 coronavirus cases a day on Friday – just a week after reporting 100,000 cases in a day for the first time since the pandemic began – with around half of European cases in the UK, France, Russia, the The Netherlands, Germany and Spain accounted for new cases this week, according to a Reuters tally.
While Europe reports more daily cases than India, Brazil and the United States combined, the increase is partly due to far more testing being done than during the first wave in the spring.
France, Germany and Italy saw record numbers of new daily coronavirus cases on Saturday, with France reporting the highest 7-day average of new cases in Europe at 21,210 infections per day.
The UK reports 16,228 new cases per day for an average of seven days and the country has a tiered system of stricter restrictions in place in some areas.
Europe exceeded 150,000 daily coronavirus cases on Friday – just a week after 100,000 cases were reported in one day for the first time since the pandemic began. While Europe reports more daily cases overall than India, Brazil and the United States combined, part of the increase is due to far more testing being done than during the first wave. Pictured: Charts showing the average number of 7-day cases (top) and deaths (bottom) related to coronavirus per million people
In Germany, which has received widespread praise for slowing the spread of the pandemic when it first broke out, the numbers have risen rapidly in recent times.
On Saturday, the country's disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 7,830 cases overnight, a new record in Germany.
Like most countries, Germany has struggled to keep schools and companies open while at the same time preventing people from coming into close contact with one another.
In total, Germany has registered 356,387 coronavirus cases, although it has recorded a relatively low 9,767 deaths compared to other large Western European countries.
In the face of the numbers rising again, Ms. Merkel urged Germans to avoid unnecessary travel, cancel parties and stay home whenever possible.
"What got us through the first six months of the pandemic so well?" She asked. “We stood together and followed the rules out of consideration and common sense.
"This is the most effective remedy we currently have for the pandemic and it is more necessary now than ever."
"We have to go further," said Merkel. “I appeal to you: meet fewer people, either at home or outside. Please give up any trip that is not strictly necessary, any party that is not strictly necessary. Stay at home wherever possible. & # 39;
Pictured: People are waiting in front of a Berlin bar and instead of their closing time display a sign with a question mark after a Berlin court has suspended the closure of bars and restaurants from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (picture) went into quarantine after a bodyguard tested positive for Covid-19 and joined a number of important European political figures who came into close contact with the virus
Merkel's appeal came when President Frank-Walter Steinmeier went into quarantine after a bodyguard tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said. Steinmeier, whose role is largely ceremonial, has also been tested and is waiting for the result.
The German heads of state and government could not agree on stricter measures to contain a second wave. Courts in several regions have now lifted the bans on hotel stays for visitors to sources of infection.
Politicians and health experts have appealed to the public to take voluntary action beyond what is already mandated – including wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing.
Merkel's comments come the day after a Berlin court suspended the closure of bars and restaurants from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. after it was determined that such a measure could help fight the coronavirus.
In a case filed by eleven restaurant owners, the administrative court found that new infections in Germany are currently due to private gatherings of family members and friends, in communal facilities, meat processing plants, religious gatherings or in connection with travel.
The court ruled that the closure of food and beverage companies was a "disproportionate interference with the freedom" of the industry.
The German authorities now have to decide whether to take the matter to a higher court to force bars and restaurants to close.
Meanwhile, Europe exceeded 150,000 cases a day on Friday – just a week after the first 100,000 cases were reported in one day.
The unwanted milestone comes as new restrictions came into effect in several other European countries to stop the pandemic from resurgence.
On Friday, the World Health Organization warned 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 slowed.
In Paris and eight other French cities, restaurants, bars, cinemas and other facilities had to close by 9 p.m. at the latest to reduce contact between people.
The country is deploying an additional 12,000 police officers to enforce the new rules as many restaurant owners reluctant to order. An earlier lockdown lasting several months devastated the sector.
"I have the right to question the government's approach. I think this is a disastrous move for the industry," said Xavier Denamur, who owns Les Philosophes and several other bistros in Paris's chic Le Marais district, saying, that the curfew should not last then be 11 p.m.
"At least that wouldn't destroy us," he said. "There is no evidence that this couple of hours difference has any effect on the circulating virus."
On Saturday, the French Ministry of Health reported a record 32,427 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, after 25,086 reported on Friday.
The total number of infections since the start of the year now stands at 867,197, while the total number of deaths stands at 33,392, an increase of 90 from Friday.
In Paris and eight other French cities, restaurants, bars, cinemas and other facilities had to close by 9 p.m. at the latest. Pictured: People are spending time in a restaurant in Paris before the 9 p.m. curfew
After the curfew at 9 p.m., a street in Paris is empty to limit the spread of the coronavirus
On Sunday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is expected to announce further measures to counter the new wave of COVID-19 cases after the country set a new daily record for infections on Saturday.
Conte's office said the government is discussing new restrictions with local and health authorities to help curb contagion while limiting the impact on individuals and businesses.
The country is reportedly considering introducing a nationwide curfew and closing high schools. Officials are due to meet on Saturday evening to discuss the measure of closing cafes and restaurants from 10 p.m.
Cinemas could also be closed, and football games – for both professionals and amateurs alike – are expected to be banned as part of the measures, while only emergency and essential travel will be allowed.
Italy was the first major European country to be affected by COVID-19 and had managed to get the outbreak under control by the summer thanks to a strict two-month lockdown on business and popular movement. But the infections have increased sharply in the past few weeks.
The country recorded 10,925 new infections on Saturday, the highest daily number to date, compared to the previous record of 10,010 cases on Friday.
People sit at a bar at the Colosseum on the 75th anniversary of the FAO (Food and Agricolture Organization) in central Rome on October 16. Residents of Rome fear a return to the tough nationwide restrictions that were imposed at the time the virus spiraled out of control
Government ministers have ruled out a repeat of the lockdown imposed at the beginning of the crisis, but officials have considered a number of alternative measures to reduce social exposure.
The head of the northwestern region of Liguria, Giovanni Toti, said on Facebook that the government will urge schools to switch between online and face-to-face classes and encourage companies to step up remote working.
The government has already tightened restrictions twice in 10 days, making it compulsory to wear masks outside the home, and imposing restrictions on public gatherings, restaurants, sports and some school activities, with schools in some areas already closed and provoking protests.
According to Italian newspapers, the new restrictions could also target non-essential activities such as gyms, pools and amateur sporting events.
Pictured: parents, children and teachers gathered to protest against the closure of schools and to demand the reopening of all schools in the Campania region
The President of the Campania Region, Vincenzo De Luca, ordered the closure of schools of all levels and universities across the region. The reason for this decision is the growing number of Covid-19 positives across the Campania region
At the Vatican, officials said someone who lives in the same Vatican hotel as Pope Francis has tested positive for coronavirus, adding to the 11 cases of Covid-19 among the Swiss guardsmen protecting him.
The hotel serves as a residence for priests from the Vatican as well as for clergy and lay people. Francis chose to live there permanently after his 2013 election and avoid the Apostolic Palace because he said he had to be with ordinary people. The hotel has a common dining room and a chapel where Francis celebrates Mass every morning.
The Vatican, a tiny city-state in central Rome, has stepped up its anti-COVID-19 measures in the wake of the resurgence of the outbreak in Italy. Protective masks are required indoors and outdoors, but Francis has largely avoided them even when keeping the audience in public.
At 83 years old and part of a lung that was removed due to illness at the age of 20, the Pope is at high risk of COVID-19 complications.
Last week the Vatican confirmed a group of 11 cases among the Swiss guardsmen who serve as ceremonial guards at papal masses, guard the gates of Vatican City and protect the Pope.
Italy's northern Lombardy, where the European coronavirus outbreak began in late February, has taken new measures to curb recovering infections, restrict bar service and alcohol sales, ban contact sports and close bingo parlors.
Someone who lives in the same hotel in the Vatican as the Pope (pictured left) tested positive for the coronavirus, officials confirmed today
The regional government also called for high schools to introduce hybrid timetables, with students alternating in person with online learning.
The measures came after Lombardy, Italy's most populous region, was again hit hardest by the Covid-19 resurgence, causing more than 2,000 infections daily. Hospitals are being pressured and intensive care units are filling up.
The new measures only allow table service for bars from 6 p.m., prohibit the sale of take-away alcohol from this point onwards and prohibit any consumption of beverages in public places in order to prevent crowds from forming in the squares with take-away beverages.
Italy's other hardest hit region, Southern Campania, has taken similarly stringent measures, including closing schools for two weeks. After parents protested, the regional governor withdrew on Friday and allowed daycare centers to remain open.
In the capital, Rome, residents grumbled as the numbers rose, fearing a return to the tough nationwide restrictions imposed when the virus spread out of control.
"The situation is critical thanks to the idiots because I call them idiots who did not follow the rules," said resident Mario Massenzi.
"And if we fall back into the same situation as in March, we'll be done."
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