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Pedestrians walk along a sign that reminds to wear a face mask in Frankfurt, Germany
Image: Ralph Orlowski/REUTERS

Coronavirus: Germany enters partial lockdown

November 2, 2020

UK's Boris Johnson and Germany's Angela Merkel have defended new lockdowns in their countries and urged the public to cooperate and help bring down the rapidly rising infection rates. Follow DW for the latest.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed the importance of protecting the National Health Service in his explanation of the new coronavirus restrictions to the lower house of the UK Parliament on Monday. The new lockdown comes into effect on Friday provided that parliament passes the government's bill.

He warned those opposing the new lockdown that an overwhelmed NHS could lead to doctors having to turn patients away and choosing "who would live and who would die."

He also put forward a plan to massively expand the deployment of quick-turnaround tests, with the support of the army, in the following few days and weeks. The prime minister also stressed that the restrictions were time-limited and that after December 2 the country would return to the regional tier system.d

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also urged citizens to cooperate with the countries new lockdown "light", coming into effect on Monday, in order to bring soaring case numbers back under control. She hoped that a turnaround in the fight against the pandemic would allow people to hold small family celebrations for Christmas.

The new restrictions in Germany are a lighter version of the lockdown seen in the spring, as schools and shops will remain open, churches will be allowed to hold services and protests will not be banned. Nevertheless, all restaurants and bars will be closed, meetings in public will be restricted to members of just two households and all recreational centers, such as pools and gyms, will be shut.

State and federal leaders will meet again in 10 days to assess if the new measures need to be tightened further still or whether they may be eased in December, depending on the rate of infections.

Read more: Coronavirus: Merkel promises to shore up German economy

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is in quarantine after having contact with someone who tested positive for the virusImage: Bundeswehr/Torsten Kraatz

German Health Minister Jens Spahn urged citizens to significantly reduce their contacts in order to deal appropriately with the "situation of the century" and that a "national effort in November" is required, he told public broadcaster ZDF.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced she is self-quarantining after coming after her ministry said she had come into contact 8 days ago with someone who tested positive. Her own test had come back negative, the ministry said Monday. Kramp-Karrenbauer is also the current leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat (CDU) party.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is going into isolation for at least a few days after he revealed he had been in close proximity of someone who has since tested positive.

"I have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for #COVID19. I am well and without symptoms but will self-quarantine over the coming days, in line with WHO protocols, and work from home," Tedros said in a tweet.

Europe

Prince William contracted the coronavirus in April but did not announce it publicly for fear of worrying people.

The heir to the throne in the UK had struggled to breathe due to the virus, according to a report in the British tabloid the Sun, and corroborated by the BBC.

He contracted the virus around the same time as his father, Prince Charles, was confirmed to have it.

Slovakia tested millions of citizens over the weekend in an effort to stamp out the virus by conducting mass checks.

Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said that 2.58 million Slovaks took the test on Saturday, and 25,850, or 1%, tested positive and must go into quarantine.

The scheme, a first in a country of comparable size, is being closely monitored by other nations looking for ways to stem the spread of the virus and avoid overwhelming their health systems.

The testing was free and voluntary, but the government will impose a lockdown on those who do not participate, including a ban on going to work.

Americas

Machu Picchu in Peru has reopened after almost eight months without receiving visitors due to the pandemic.

The Inca citadel will allow 675 tourists a day for social distancing purposes, a figure that would normally be nearer 3,000 pre-pandemic.

US President Donald Trump has criticized several European countries for announcing "draconian" lockdowns as his reelection campaign enters its final straight.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Michigan, he warned voters that his Democratic rival Joe Biden would mimic those tough measures.

jsi,ab/nm (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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