The announcements came as countries across Europe tightened restrictions after numbers of Covid-19 cases soared in most countries.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the French capital and the cities of Aix Marseille, Grenoble, Montpellier, Toulouse, Saint-Etienne, Lille, Rouen and Lyon will face a curfew from 9 pm until 6 am, starting at midnight Friday.
“The goal is to reduce private communications, which are the most dangerous communications,” Macron said on Wednesday.
Violating the night curfew will impose a fine of 135 euros (about $ 160) for the first offense and 1,500 euros ($ 1,760) if the offense is repeated.
France recorded 22,591 new cases and 95 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total number of injuries to 779,063 cases and 33,037 deaths.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Thursday that London will move from Level 1 “medium” to “High” Level 2 alert level for coronavirus restrictions starting Saturday morning.
This means that Londoners will be prohibited from mixing with other families at home anywhere, including in bars and restaurants. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to six people and people should also avoid using public transportation where possible.
Hancock said: “We know from the first climax that the infection can spread quickly and put tremendous pressure on the NHS, so we must act now to prevent the need for more stringent measures at a later time.”
Earlier on Thursday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the capital had reached a “critical moment” in fighting the epidemic, warning that the virus was spreading rapidly “in every corner” of the city.
“The number of hospitalizations has increased, more patients are going to intensive care, and it is regrettable that the number of Londoners who die every day is increasing again,” he told the London Society.
He also called for more measures at the national level and affirmed his support for closing the “circuit breaker”.
A preprint paper written by scientific advisers to the UK government claims that thousands of coronavirus deaths could be avoided before the end of the year if a circuit breaker shutdown is imposed for two weeks soon.
The paper notes that it could reduce deaths between now and the end of the year by as much as 49%, depending on the growth rate of the virus. But the authors cautioned that it was not an expectation of the lives that would be saved because “worst-case scenarios would never be allowed to continue without intervention.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the three-tier Covid Alert System across England on Wednesday, stressing domestic restrictions but rejecting opposition demands for a national “circuit breaker” lockdown.
British government data showed 19724 new infections and 137 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total number to 654,644 and 43,155, respectively.
Northern Ireland is closing schools, bars and restaurants after it reported 1,217 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, a record for the nation, taking the total to 23,115.
Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakford announced on Wednesday that Wales will ban travelers from entering the country from coronavirus hotspots in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland starting Friday.
Merkel is “troubled” about “exponential growth” in cases
“About 80% of countries across European regions are seeing growth” in Covid-19 coronavirus cases, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO chief of coronavirus technical, said on “New Day” on CNN Thursday.
“We are definitely seeing a very worrying situation across Europe, where we are seeing a resurgence. We are seeing an increase in transmission in a large number of countries across the region,” Van Kerkhove told CNN reporter Alicin Camerota.
She said many countries controlled the virus earlier during the pandemic, and could do so again, adding that interventions must be targeted.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel imposes stricter restrictions in the country Coronavirus hotspots, saying she felt “uncomfortable” about the “exponential growth” of coronavirus cases in the country.
Social gatherings will be limited to 10 people only and bars and restaurants should close by 11 pm in areas with high infection rates.
Merkel said at a press conference on Wednesday that restrictions will be imposed if a region records at least 35 new infections per 100,000 people over a period of seven days. Further measures could be introduced if this number exceeds 50 new infections per 100,000.
The restrictions will be evaluated in the next 10 days to see if they have slowed the virus rate. Merkel also addressed German youth, urging them to “dispense with a few parties.”
The number of cases in Germany rose at a record rate of 6,638 cases in 24 hours, according to data published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Thursday, bringing the total number to 341,223. The second highest daily increase was 6,294 on March 28.
Germany also recorded 33 new deaths during the past 24 hours, the International Institute for Côte d’Ivoire added, bringing the total number of deaths to 9,710.
The Czech Ministry of Health announced that the Czech Republic recorded 9,544 new cases on Wednesday, 926 more than the previous record set last Friday.
The total number of cases was 139,290, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.
“The outlook is not good, the numbers are very disastrous,” Prime Minister André Babis said on Thursday.
The Czech government data showed that 35 deaths were recorded on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 1,172, while 2,678 people are still in hospital due to the Corona virus.
New restrictions were imposed on Wednesday, with schools closed and bars and restaurants allowed to operate through windows until 8 pm
Russia also reported a record number of coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours at 286, according to the country’s Coronavirus Response Center data released Thursday. Russian officials said the total number of dead has now reached 23,491, although the number is likely to be higher due to the way the country calculates deaths and reports of a high death rate this year.
Another 13,754 new cases were also reported, bringing the total number of injuries to 1,354,163.
Russia faced a series of record daily increases, with health officials reporting about 2,000 more cases per day than during the peak of spring, when the country officially reported around 10,000-11,000 cases per day.
Moscow is seeing record increases in daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have risen 15.5% over the past week, but city officials have not moved to close any facilities so far.
Starting Monday, visitors to nightclubs and bars open after midnight will need to scan a QR code or send a text message to a special number to help trace contacts.
Poland reported 8,099 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday – an increase of 24% from Wednesday’s record number of 6,526, according to the Ministry of Health.
Nada Bashir, Amanda Watts, Fred Plettgen, Martin Guillando, Thomas Itzler, Peter Taggart, Sarah Dean, Stephanie Hallasz, Thomas Itzler, Joe Shelley, Mary Ilyushina, Nina Avramova, Zahid Mahmoud and Artur Usensky contributed to this report.
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