France, Germany look to more limits to curb rebounding virus

Daniel Fowler
October 29, 2020

Merkel said the goal is to limit the economic impact of the measures to a bare minimum and to keep schools and daycare centres open. However French people will only be allowed outside to go "to work, to go to a medical appointment, to care for a relative, to do shop for essential goods and to get some air", Macron said.

"We have to act now to avoid an acute national emergency", said Merkel, pointing to increased admissions to intensive care units and 14,964 new infections recorded across Germany during the preceding 24 hours.

According to NBC News, half of all ICU beds in France are now occupied by COVID-19 patients.

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

According to a government position paper, Merkel is seeking to limit outdoor gatherings to include no more than the members of two households.

The coronavirus pandemic has been intensifying in the European Union as winter approaches, with infections skyrocketing through the continent.

France's death toll, at over 35,000, is the seventh highest in the world, according to Reuters data.

NEW YORK, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Stocks sank across the globe on Wednesday on concerns that rising COVID-19 cases in Europe, the United States and elsewhere would disrupt fragile economic recoveries, while the US dollar rose on safe-haven demand.

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The spread of the novel coronavirus has been on the rise worldwide, with 452,000 new cases reported Tuesday - a 36% increase over the past two weeks - and 7,265 deaths.

The French Hospital Federation, which represents 4,800 hospitals, warned of capacity issues in a statement on Wednesday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday (October 28) that the situation was, quote, "very serious" and the country needs to take action now.

But Thomas Gitzel, chief economist at Liechtenstein's VP Bank Group, said a temporary lockdown could be less harmful than a prolonged slump in consumer spending as infection levels remain stubbornly high.

The European continent has been particularly hard hit by a second wave of coronavirus infections, as the World Health Organization notes that nearly half of all new cases worldwide last week were in the European region.

Merkel is meeting with Germany's 16 state premiers, who she must convince to agree to the restrictions, which were described by Bild as "lockdown light".

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.

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