Germany, France re-impose Covid lockdowns

Germany and France are re-entering national lockdowns following a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths, risking further business disruption in two of Europe's biggest economies

In France, daily deaths from Covid-19 are at the highest level since April, while Germany logged a record 16,774 infections in a single day.

In a televised address to the nation French President Emmanuel Macron said the country risked being ‘overwhelmed by a second wave that no doubt will be harder than the first’.

In response, France will go into national lockdown from Friday, with the restrictions not set to be reviewed until 1 December.

French residents will not be allowed to leave their home except for essential reasons, such as work, exercise or food shopping. Schools will remain open but travel between regions will now be banned. Bars and restaurants will also close, as will all non-essential businesses.

Macron indicated that if the situation improves in the next 15 days, non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen.

However, for this to happen France’s daily infection rates would need to drop to 5,000, and they currently stand at around 35,000,

Germany’s measures are slightly less stringent, with all 16 federal states imposing a partial lockdown from 2 November.

This will mean all bars and restaurants will close until at least 30 November, along with gyms, leisure facilities and theatres.

Shops will be allowed to stay open provided they meet a new condition of a maximum of one person per ten square metres in order to respect social distancing. Restaurants will be able to offer takeaway services, and schools will remain open. Contacts are to be reduced to a maximum of two households, and no more than 10 people.

Germany’s finance minister said small firms would be compensated with up to 75% of their revenue for the same time last year, for the period they were forced to close, while bigger businesses should receive up to 70% from the state. It is estimated the month-long lockdown will cost the state between €7bn (£6.3bn) and €10bn (£9bn).

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