German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany's state premiers have announced a new partial lockdown to begin on Monday, November 2. The so-called nationwide "lockdown light" is a less intense version of the measures that brought German society and economic activity to a standstill in the spring. Merkel said in a press conference: "We are in a very serious situation. We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency."
She said the number of people in intensive care units has doubled in the past 10 days, and that in many areas it was no longer possible to track and trace infection chains. In 75% of cases, the source of infection is unknown.
"If infections continue at this rate, we will be at the limits of the capacities of our health system," she said.
"That is why this is a difficult day today, also for political decision-makers, I want to say this explicitly because we know what we are putting people through," she said.
State and federal leaders will meet again in two weeks to assess if the new measures are having enough of an effect, and recalibrate if needed.
New restrictions for the next month in Germany:
â€” Restaurants and bars will close, except for take-away
â€” Large events will be cancelled again
â€” Unnecessary travel is strongly discouraged
â€” Overnight stays in hotels for tourist purposes is banned
â€” All those who can work from home should do so and employers should ease a transition into working from home
â€” Meetings in public will be restricted to just two households of up to 10 people total.
â€” Entertainment facilities such as theatres and cinemas will be closed
â€” Public recreation centers such as swimming pools, gyms and saunas will be closed
â€” No crowds at sports events
What is allowed
â€” Schools and kindergartens will remain open
â€” Church services and protests will be allowed to continue due to constitutional concerns
â€” Nursing home residents will be allowed to receive visitors
â€” Shops will remain open, with one customer allowed per 10 square meters (108 square feet)
â€” Borders remain open
Meanwhile, shortly after Merkel's announcement, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a new lockdown across France from October 30. More than 3,000 people are currently in intensive care in France, according to the latest figures, with more than half of intensive care beds now occupied by COVID-19 patients. France has the highest number of infections in Europe, with more than 36,000 new infections detected in the past 24 hours.
New restrictions in France
â€” People can only leave home to go to work, to go to school, for a medical appointment, to give assistance to loved ones, for essential shopping or for one hour of physical exercise
â€” People will need to show documentation when leaving the house
â€” Travel between regions is banned
â€” Bars, restaurants and nonessential businesses will be closed
â€” Work must be done remotely wherever possible
â€” Universities and higher education will mostly be taught online
â€” International borders will remain largely closed
What is allowed
â€” Schools will remain open
â€” Essential businesses will remain open
â€” Most public services will remain open
â€” Factories, farms and construction sites can continue work
â€” EU borders will remain open
â€” French citizens can return from overseas
â€” Retirement homes can accept visits
â€” Funerals are still possible
The rules apply to all of France, but there will be an exception for the upcoming All Saint's holiday weekend.
Authorities will reassess the situation in 15 days. French Prime Minister Jean Castex will announce further details on Thursday, just before the lockdown goes into effect.
"We were all surprised by the acceleration of the epidemic. We must remain united and in solidarity and not give in to the poison of division. This is a difficult time, but it is a sign of who we are, women and men who are bound together," Macron said.
"I have confidence in us, in you, in our ability to overcome this ordeal. We must each take our place in transparency, in debate, in the determination to apply the rules we set for ourselves. We are a united and supportive nation, and that is the only way we will succeed. We are France. I am counting on you. We will all get there together," he concluded.