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Coronavirus digest: French cities begin monthlong curfew

October 17, 2020

Cafes, restaurants, cinemas and theaters in Paris and eight other metropolitan areas will be forced to close at 9 p.m. from Saturday. Meanwhile, Belgium has announced a nationwide curfew.

Frankreich | Coronavirus | Nachtleben in Paris
Image: Lafargue Raphael/abaca/picture-alliance


France is starting a monthlong curfew affecting around 20 million people in Paris and eight other metropolitan areas. Establishments like restaurants, cinemas and theatres will be forced to close at 9 p.m. from Saturday.

French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot told the Le Parisien newspaper that she is negotiating for exceptions to the curfew.

France is deploying 12,000 extra police to enforce the new measure. The country recorded over 30,000 cases of the coronavirus on Thursday — the highest single-day jump since the beginning of the pandemic — signaling a second wave.

Germany has again reported a record daily increase in coronavirus cases, with 7,830 new infections in the past 24 hours.

The Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases reported there were also 33 newly reported deaths, raising the national death toll to 9,734.

Belgium's prime minister, Alexander De Croo, has announced a nationwide curfew set to come into effect on Monday. 

De Croo ordered all cafes and restaurants to close for four weeks to curb rising coronavirus cases in the country. 

"Week after week, the figures are doubling, they're skyrocketing ... it's an exponential increase," he said.

The measures include a curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. and a ban on the sale of alcohol after 8 p.m.

The measures include a curfew from midnight to 5 am and a ban on the sale of alcohol after 8 pm
The measures include a curfew from midnight to 5 am and a ban on the sale of alcohol after 8 pmImage: Zhang Cheng/Xinhua/Imago Images

Belgium's deputy prime minister, Georges Gilkinet, said that the closure of cafes and restaurants was necessary in order to prevent a nationwide lockdown that was imposed earlier in the year.

Belgium is one of the worst affected countries in Europe, with over 10,300 deaths from the coronavirus.

Ratings agency Moody's has cut the United Kingdom's debt rating. The company lowered the rating from Aa3 to Aa2 on Friday, citing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of "clear budget plans" from the government.

The UK's growth has been "meaningfully weaker than expected and is likely to remain so in the future," the ratings agency said.

Read more: Spain's overcrowding exacerbates pandemic

The UK is now at the same level as Belgium and the Czech Republic on Moody's ratings.

The downgrade comes at a time when Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is facing severe criticism over its handling of the pandemic. The UK's national debt has surged to £2 trillion ($2.6 trillion; €2.2 trillion) in 2020, which is over 100% of the gross domestic product.


Authorities in Nigeria say that 181 students and staff at a private boarding school in the capital city of Lagos have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

"Positive students and staff have been isolated on the premises ... and are being monitored in isolation within the school premises," said Akin Abayomi, the commissioner for health of Lagos state.

Abayomi said that the cases were discovered when a 14-year-old girl fell sick and tested positive on October 6. The outbreak came after government schools were given the all-clear to reopen following a decline in infection rates. The country currently has 60,982 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

am/nm (Reuters, AFP)