World News – United States – France, Germany lock in as second wave COVID-19 sweeps across Europe


BERLIN / PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered their countries to be locked down on Wednesday, as a massive second wave of coronavirus infections threatened to overwhelm the ‘Europe before winter

Global stock markets plunged in response to news that Europe’s largest economies were imposing nationwide restrictions almost as severe as those that drove the global economy this year into its deepest recession for generations

« The virus is circulating at a speed that even the most pessimistic forecasts did not anticipate, » Macron said in a televised speech « Like all our neighbors, we are overwhelmed by the sudden acceleration of the virus »

« We are all in the same position: invaded by a second wave which we know will be harder, more deadly than the first, » he said « I have decided that we have to go back to lock that stopped the virus « 

Under new French measures that take effect on Friday, people will be required to stay in their homes except to buy essentials, see a doctor or exercise for up to an hour a day They will be allowed to go to work if their employer considers it impossible for them to do homework Schools will remain open

As in the darkest days of spring, anyone leaving their home in France must now be provided with a document justifying being outside, which can be checked by the police

Germany will close bars, restaurants and theaters from November 2-30 as part of measures agreed between Merkel and heads of regional governments Schools will remain open and shops will be allowed to operate with limits strict access

“We have to act now,” said Merkel “Our healthcare system can still cope with this challenge today, but at this rate of infections, it will reach the limits of its capacity in a matter of weeks »

Its Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, posted on Twitter: « November will be a month of truth The growing number of infections is forcing us to take severe countermeasures to break the second wave »

France topped 36,000 new cases per day Germany, which was less affected than its European neighbors earlier this year, has seen an exponential increase in cases

A new wave of infections in the United States has set records six days before Election Day President Donald Trump has played down the virus and shows no signs of canceling public rallies where his supporters often refuse to wear masks or keep a safe distance

European stock markets closed Wednesday at their lowest level since the end of May In the United States, the S&P 500 is down 3%

To mitigate the economic impact, Germany will set aside up to 10 billion euros ($ 12 billion) to partially reimburse companies in the event of lost sales Italy has set aside side more than 5 billion euros

As leaders desperately wanted to avoid the crushing cost of lockdowns, the new restrictions reflect alarm over the escalating pace of the pandemic from Spain, France and Germany to Russia, Poland and the United Kingdom. Bulgaria

« If we wait until the intensive care units are full, it will be too late, » said German Health Minister Jens Spahn, whose country has already received patients from its neighbor in the Netherlands, where hospitals have reached their limits

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said on Wednesday that hospital beds were 90% of their capacity in 16 regions of the country, while officials warned that even well-equipped health systems like those in the France and Switzerland could reach a breaking point in days

Hopes that new treatments could curb the spread were sullied when the head of the UK Vaccine Procurement Task Force said a fully effective vaccine may never be developed and early versions would likely be imperfect

The latest figures from the World Health Organization on Tuesday show that Europe has reported 13 million new cases in the past seven days, almost half of the 29 million people reported worldwide, with more 11,700 deaths, a jump of 37% from the previous week

So far, more than 42 million cases and more than one million deaths have been recorded worldwide from the virus, which was first identified in central Wuhan city from China at the end of last year

Governments across Europe have been criticized for lack of coordination and for failing to use a lull over the summer to bolster defenses, leaving hospitals unprepared

Since the weekend, police and protesters have clashed several times in Italian cities from Naples to Turin Restaurant owners and business groups have been critical

“At 6 p.m. public transport is often crowded You take the risk because you have to get to work You wear a mask, you take hand gel with you,” Elio Venafro said after stepping down from a bus in the center of Rome on Wednesday « This is the new normal »

Reports from Reuters offices; Writing by Peter Graff and James Mackenzie; Edited by Nick Macfie, Hugh Lawson and Howard Goller

All quotes were delayed for at least 15 minutes See here for a full list of exchanges and delays

Emmanuel Macron, Lockdown, Coronavirus, France

News from around the world – United States – France and Germany strand as second wave COVID-19 sweeps across Europe



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