France and Germany have become the latest countries to announce new national lockdowns as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across Europe.
Both countries are to enter four-week lockdowns in the coming days – in France, new restrictions will become effective on Friday (30 October), while new measures will take effect in Germany on Monday (2 November).
France is currently among the countries in Europe to be recording the highest number of new COVID-19 cases. In Germany, cases have risen sharply, though case numbers are still significantly lower than in the UK which has no national lockdown in place.
The lockdowns in France and Germany will aim to limit the social contacts between people, however, schools will remain open.
The ‘circuit-break’ lockdowns come at a time when a number of other countries have entered such lockdowns, including Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the Labour Party is calling for a circuit-breaker lockdown across the UK.
Leisure facilities to shut in Germany – though schools and shops to remain open
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that new national lockdown measures will be implemented in Germany from Monday, including the closure of restaurants (except for takeaways), bars, cinemas, theatres, gyms, cinemas and other leisure facilities.
Under the new rules, private gatherings will also be limited to a maximum of 10 people or people from two households and people will be asked not to travel for private non-essential reasons.
The lockdown won’t though be as severe as earlier in the year, as shops and schools are to remain open.
The measures, which were agreed by Germany’s 16 state governors on Wednesday, are to be reviewed 2 weeks after them becoming effective.
Tougher measures for France including tight travel restrictions – schools to remain open
In France, French President Emmanuel Macron has announced new lockdown measures which will be effective from Friday 30 October until Tuesday 1 December.
People will be ordered to stay at home, except to exercise for one hour a day, to seek medical care or to buy essentials. Like earlier in the year, people in France will have to carry a document to justify any trip outside of their home.
In addition, non-essential shops, restaurants and bars will close, while some external borders will be closed and a number of travel bans will be implemented.
Universities will move to online teaching only, however, schools will remain open, unlike in the Spring lockdown.