- Brussels to discuss EU-wide measures
- Germany prepares return to partial lockdown
- France mulls new measures
- Czech Republic and Poland suffer new records
- Texas cases see biggest jump in 2 months
- Mainland China reports 42 more cases
- BoJo faces pressure for new lockdown
- UK vaccine task force warns: prepare for imperfect vaccines
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The drumbeat of European economies moving back toward lockdown intensified Wednesday morning after German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed for stronger curbs on movement and contact, including closing bars, restaurants, gyms and other nonessential businesses through the end of November.
It comes as Italy and Spain impose their toughest nationwide restrictions since the end of lockdown, while France, which has relied heavily on localized restrictions targeting the worst-hit metro areas, weighs a potential return to lockdown, with President Emmanuel Macron reportedly favoring a one-month return to nonessential business closures.
France, widely seen as Europe’s epicenter as it booked upwards of 50k new cases a day over the weekend, reported 523 new deaths, including 235 in nursing homes and other government facilities, the highest total death toll since April.
Among the smaller Western European economies, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark are all struggling with outbreaks raging well beyond their springtime levels. Belgium, the seat of the EU, has become the worst hit country in the bloc.
Merkel has pledged to do all she can to avoid imposing another lockdown as strict as the one that hammered Europe’s biggest economy in the second quarter. The latest measures — which would take effect Nov. 4 — are designed to stem the spread of the disease while broadly allowing activity to continue, though they’re likely to provoke protests from industry groups and from citizens already weary of what they see as government intrusion into their private lives. She’s expected to join talks with local leaders of Germany’s 16 states on Wednesday to discuss proposed new curbs. According to a draft seen by Reuters, Merkel wants to keep schools and nurseries open, while much else would shut.
Thanks to surging case numbers in the US and Europe, global cases topped 44 million on Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins, while global deaths numbered 1,168,568. Worldwide, another 450k+ new cases were reported yesterday.
European stocks were understandably rattled by the surprisingly rapid acceleration in the virus over the past week, and US stock futures pointed to a lower open.
Already, though, Germany’s latest restrictions are provoking a backlash with the vice president of Germany’s lower house of parliament to declare on national radio that he won’t follow the new rules. The country saw new cases rise Wednesday by a record 14,964 to a total of 464,239.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is expected to release a set of proposals later on Wednesday ahead of a Thursday conference call with EU leaders. Charles Michel, her counterpart at the European Council of EU leaders, called for enhanced bloc-wide measures, including to boost testing capabilities and the deployment of vaccines once they are ready.
Here’s some more news from overnight and Wednesday morning:
Texas cases +7,055 which is the largest daily increase in more than 2 months and deaths +81 (Newswires/Twitter).
New York Governor Cuomo is said to be seeking to keep 95% of the US out of New York due to COVID-19 after he included California to the list of 39 states that would require quarantines. Elsewhere, Illinois Governor announced to suspend indoor dining in Chicago beginning on Friday (Newswires).
Cases in Belgium rose by 13,571 and that COVID-19 hospitalizations in Belgium were expected to surpass the peak of the first wave within 24 hours (Newswires/Twitter).
India’s total cases are on the edge of crossing the 8 million mark as the country reports 43,893 new infections for the past 24 hours, up from 36,470 the previous day. The country’s death toll climbed by 508 to 120,010 (Source: Nikkei).
Mainland China reported 42 new COVID-19 cases for Tuesday, the highest daily toll in more than two months due to a rise in infections in the northwestern Xinjiang region (Source: Nikkei).
UK PM Johnson is said to be pressured for a new lockdown as the government assumes a deadlier second wave, with a lower but longer peak expected for COVID-19 deaths (Source: the Telegraph).
UK vaccine task force chair Bingham said the first generation of COVID-19 vaccines will likely be imperfect and that people should be prepared vaccines may not prevent infection but rather lessen symptoms, while she also suggested that vaccines may not work for all people or for long period (Source: the Lancet).