Covid-19 Measures

Regional News • Europe • France
Compulsory masks for schoolchildren aged 6 and over in France
Compulsory masks for schoolchildren aged 6 and over in France
Credit: unsplash.com / Kelly Sikkema

France makes masks mandatory in class for schoolchildren aged six and over, PM Castex said. Up until now, masks were only mandatory for children aged 11 and older.

"From Monday, when children return to school, the sanitary protocol will be made stricter. The requirement to wear a face mask will be extended to primary school children over the age of six."

Regional News • Europe • France
Macron orders France into second national Covid-19 lockdown
French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron Credit: Twitter Reproduction

"Hospitals won’t manage if we don’t take drastic measures,” said French President Emmanuel Macron in a prime-time televised address Wednesday, when he announced new lockdown measures for France.

Macron said that under the new measures, starting on Friday, people would only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons, that EU borders would still be open. Still, travel between regions in the country is banned.

The French government had been loath to impose a new lockdown that will pummel the economy even harder, and business chiefs have warned a total shutdown will force another wave of layoffs and bankruptcies.

Governments across Europe have been under fire for lack of coordination and for failing to use a lull in cases over the summer to bolster defences, leaving hospitals unprepared and forcing people on to packed public transport to get to work.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany decides on extended restrictions from Monday on due to rising Covid-19 numbers
Germany decides on extended restrictions from Monday on due to rising Covid-19 numbers
Credit: Screenshot live stream Bundespressekonferenz

The German federal and state governments agreed on extended restrictions following a rise in Covid-19 cases. The restrictions will take effect in all of Germany from next Monday on and last for four weeks.

Only members of two households - a maximum of ten people - will be allowed to meet in public. "Groups of people celebrating in public places, homes and private institutions are unacceptable in view of the seriousness of the situation in our country", the decision states. Schools and shops will remain open, restaurants and other activities for personal entertainment or leisure will be forced to close.

Regional News • Europe
Italy: Protests against Coronavirus measures

Following new Coronavirus restrictions, protests broke out across Italy on Monday. Clashes involving petrol bombs happened in both Milan and Turin. In Naples, protestors called for the resignation of its governor. Italy has imposed a curfew in many Italian regions and has ordered the closure of eateries, gyms and cinemas after 6pm.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Police prohibit demo but do not break it up
Archive image from "hygiene demonstration" 29.08.2020 in Berlin
Archive image from "hygiene demonstration" 29.08.2020 in Berlin Credit: Thomas Neugerriemschneider / Wikimedia Commons

The police spoke of about 2000 people who gathered on Alexanderplatz in the Mitte district to protest the Covid-19 measures in Germany. Many of them ignored the required social distancing and mask rules. The police let most of the participants walk the planned demo route along Karl-Marx-Allee without being disturbed, even though these people violated the conditions of the demonstration.

At about 4 p.m. the demonstration was ended by the organizers, as the Berlin police announced on Twitter.

Regional News • Europe
Covid-19: Spanish government approves new state of alarm for the whole country
Council of Ministers of Spain
Council of Ministers of Spain

The Spanish government decreed a new state of alarm and announced a night-time curfew for the entire territory of the European nation from 11 pm to 6 am, as authorities grapple with the second wave of Covid-19. The country returns to the state of alarm seven months after the Council of Ministers on March 14 decreed it to contain the first wave of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said he would ask the Spanish parliament to keep the emergency mechanism in place for six months, until May 9.

Regional News • Europe
Rome to impose a nightly curfew
Rome during the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020
Rome during the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020 Credit: Camelia.boban (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Lazio region in Italy that includes the capital Rome plans to introduce a curfew from midnight to 5 am to try to reduce the surging Covid-19 infections.

According to Reuters, sources in the regional government said the new rules would be effective from Friday. Also, the source said, the region would introduce restrictions on schools and universities.

Regional News • Europe
Belgium bars and restaurants to be closed for a month
Alexander De Croo (right)
Alexander De Croo (right) Credit: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Belgian federal government announced Friday that bars and restaurants would have to close for a month, and there will be a curfew from midnight to 5 am. The measures are a response to the surging second wave of Covid-19 and will be in effect from October 19.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said, during a news conference: "The coming weeks will be very difficult, but we must take those measures to avoid the worse."

Belgium has one of the highest per capita Covid-19 fatality rates in the world with 10,283 deaths.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Berlin court overturn 11 pm Covid-19 curfew for restaurants and bars in the city
Berlin court overturn 11 pm Covid-19 curfew for restaurants and bars in the city
Credit: Berlin IckLiebeDir (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A Berlin court suspended the 11 pm curfew on bars and restaurants that was in effect for a week. The court stated there was no evidence that establishments sticking to the existing rules on mask-wearing and social distancing contributed to an increase in the infection rates.

The court ruling was in response to a legal action brought by restaurant owners who contested the curfew, but not a ban on the sale of alcohol after 11 pm.

Regional News • Europe • France
Bars and restaurants to be shut in four more cities in France
Lyon Restaurants
Lyon Restaurants Credit: Pedro Szekely (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

After Marseille and Paris, the cities of Lyon, Lille, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne will close their bars and restaurants from Saturday.

The maximum-alert level in the country comes into effect when infection rates in a locality exceed 250 cases per 100,000 people, and at least 30% of intensive care beds are reserved for Covid-19 patients.

The French government announced the measures as the country had a near-record of 18,129 new cases in a day.

Regional News • Europe • Spain
Spain updates Official State Gazette to enable work from home for 2.5 million public employees
Spain updates Official State Gazette to enable work from home for 2.5 million public employees
Credit: unsplash.com / Agnieszka Boeske

Around 2.5 million public employees will be potentially able to work from home due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The agreement reached by the Government and the main representatives of this group of workers (CSIF, CC OO and UGT) to update the Basic Statute of the Public Employee (EBEP) was published this Wednesday in the Official State Gazette (BOE).

The autonomous communities now have six months for the adaption of the new regulations.

Health
Spain: Government warns of "serious risks" for Madrid residents without tougher restrictions
Meeting between Spanish Government and Madrid Covid 19 task force
Meeting between Spanish Government and Madrid Covid 19 task force Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

The Spanish government has warned that Madrid's residents will face "serious risk" if the city's authorities don't implement tougher Coronavirus restrictions.

Spain's Health Minister Salvador Illa said that Madrid's authorities need to "put the health of citizens first" and to control the pandemic as "there is a serious risk for inhabitants, for the neighbouring regions." Illa urged authorities to "act with determination."

Health
Fauci: Covid-19 vaccine won't eliminate need for masks and social distancing
Fauci: Covid-19 vaccine won't eliminate need for masks and social distancing
Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:White_House_Press_Briefing_(49668784568).jpg

Masks, social distancing and hygienic measures will have to be maintained even after a Covid-19 vaccine is available, so Dr Anthony Fauci on Thursday. The Covid-19 vaccine won't likely be 100% effective and taken by 100% of the population, therefore given the virus room to spread further. Fauci said that it would be a good accomplishment if 75 to 80% of the population got vaccinated, but this won't "eliminate the need to be prudent and careful with our public health measures."

Regional News • Europe • Spain
Spain: Prime Minister meets Madrid chief over joint Covid-19 measures
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Madrid regional premier Isabel Díaz Ayuso
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Madrid regional premier Isabel Díaz Ayuso Credit: La Moncloa

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met Madrid regional premier Isabel Díaz Ayuso on Monday to coordinate measures against the spread of the new coronavirus, as the Madrid region has become the epicentre of the Covid-10 crisis in Spain, with more than one-third of all newly reported infections.

Sánchez stated that "Madrid needs a special plan."

The harshness of the second wave in the Community forces a change in the political climate, and the face-to-face between Pedro Sánchez and Isabel Díaz Ayuso signalled a thaw in months of frosty relations.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Johnson considers new restrictions amid surging COVID-19 cases
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Credit: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

PM Boris Johnson is considering tougher restrictions in England as the country sees "a second wave" of COVID-19, among them a ban on households mixing and reducing opening hours for eaters.

Mr Johnson said he did not "want to go into bigger lockdown" but that stricter measures might be necessary to curb infections. "Clearly when you look at what is happening, you have got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in on Monday," Johnson added.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump contradicted CDC on vaccine timeline and importance of mask-wearing
Dr. Robert R. Redfield addresses a briefing on the latest information about the Coronavirus.
Dr. Robert R. Redfield addresses a briefing on the latest information about the Coronavirus. Credit: The White House (Public Domain)

President Donald Trump claimed Dr Robert Redfield was "confused" when he stated masks may be effective Covid-19 protection and that results from coronavirus vaccination would be visible on the second or third quarter of 2021.

Redfield, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), made both claims during a session of the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday.

Trump, answering reporters, said: "I think he made a mistake when he said that. It's just incorrect information."

"I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine, because the immunogenicity may be 70%. And if I don't get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me. This face mask will," the director of the CDC told lawmakers in the Senate.

Regional News • Asia
Indonesia: Villagers who refuse to wear masks forced to dig graves
Indonesia: Villagers who refuse to wear masks forced to dig graves
Credit: KOMPAS.COM/istimewa

Indonesian villagers who refuse to wear masks are now being forced to dig graves for Covid-19 victims as punishment. The punishment was enforced for the first time on September 9th.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
International Criminal Court rejects action against Jair Bolsonaro
International Criminal Court, The Hague
International Criminal Court, The Hague Credit: OSeveno (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, rejected the complaint filed in early April by the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy (ABJD) against the President Jair Bolsonaro for a crime against humanity committed during his government's conduct in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Prosecutor Mark P. Dillon, head of the ICC's Information and Evidence Unit, stated that "the conduct described does not appear to fall within the strict definitions of the Rome Statute".

Dillon also said, "The information submitted will be kept in our files, and the decision not to proceed (the investigations) may be reconsidered if new facts or evidence provide a reasonable (evidence) basis for believing that a crime under the jurisdiction of the Court has been committed."

Regional News • Europe • France
Marseille, Bordeaux: Stricter Coronavirus measures to curb spread of virus
Bordeaux, France during lockdown in March, 2020
Bordeaux, France during lockdown in March, 2020 Credit: Patrice CALATAYU from Bordeaux, France / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Marseille and Bordeaux announced stricter measures to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus. Work from home should be implemented wherever possible. Public transport companies are asked to reorganise to prevent overcrowding during rush hours. Major events are ordered to cancel or postpone. Sale of alcohol on the street after 8pm is now also forbidden in Marseille.

Christophe Mirmand, the government’s top official in greater Marseille area: "The virus has accelerated despite the obligation to wear a mask introduced earlier this summer. We need to take action to ensure health services can cope."

Regional News • Europe • France
"Clear worsening" of Coronavirus spread in France, 42 départements on "red" alert
"Clear worsening" of Coronavirus spread in France, 42 départements on "red" alert
Credit: unsplash.com/Camille Brodard

France recorded almost 10,000 new Coronavirus cases on Thursday – highest daily record since March. 42 départements are now put on 'red' alert. The French government is currently avoiding tougher restrictions even though the Coronavirus is "circulating more and more"

Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that testing for priority cases will be fast-tracked and additional testers will be recruited. Mandatory quarantine for people who have tested positive is down to seven days instead of fourteen.