Lockdown

Regional News • Americas • United States
San Francisco Bay Area issues stay-at-home order, ahead of state mandate
San Francisco Bay Area issues stay-at-home order, ahead of state mandate
Credit: Billie Grace Ward from New York, USA, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Five Bay Area counties, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara and the City of Berkeley, said Friday in a joint announcement that they will adopt the state's stay-at-home order ahead of the state mandate in hopes to curb the further spread of Covid-19 and numbers of hospitalizations.

"The virus is spreading rapidly throughout the city like never before. We need to move fast, keeping ahead of this virus as much as possible," so Dr Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s director of public health, during a news briefing Friday afternoon, warning that at the current rate San Francisco's hospitals will run out f hospital beds the day after Christmas.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria to ease lockdown restrictions on Monday; quarantine mandatory for arriving travellers
Sebastian Kurz
Sebastian Kurz Credit: Пресс-служба Президента России (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Austria will ease its lockdown measures on Monday, reopening stores, museums and schools while hotels and gastronomy have to remain closed until January 7th. The 24-hour-lockdown is being lifted, but a nighttime curfew between 8 pm and 6 am will still apply. Ski slopes will be opened on December 24th "so that the Austrian population has the chance to engage in sporting activity over the holidays."

Starting mid-December, arriving travellers will have to go into quarantine for 10 days but will be able to take a free test after five days and can leave quarantine early if the test comes back negative. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz appeared to blame Austrian residents with family abroad for bringing back the virus to Austria after returning from visits at the end of the summer, sparking criticism in the country.

"We had very, very low infection rates in the summer after the lockdown, and then the virus brought back into the country by people returning from their home countries, especially those who had spent the summer in their countries of origin," so Kurz.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany extends partial lockdown until January 10th
Berlin Alexanderplatz Berlin 11 during the first Covid-19 lockdown
Berlin Alexanderplatz Berlin 11 during the first Covid-19 lockdown Credit: Neomicro (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that the country's partial lockdown will be extended until at least January 10th, aiming to reduce the seven-day incidence (confirmed Covid-19 infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days) to less than 50.

Hotels, eateries, bars and cultural and leisure facilities will remain closed and gatherings will now be limited to a maximum of five people from two households. During December 23 and January 1, up to ten people will be able to gather to allow for families to celebrate.

"If the infection situation continues to develop as in the last days, we will meet again on January 4th and the states are extending the directive (for a shutdown) to January 10th," Merkel said following a five-hour meeting with the 16 German state leaders on Wednesday.

Regional News • Oceania
South Australia to enter "circuit breaker" lockdown after coronavirus cluster grows
South Australia to enter "circuit breaker" lockdown after coronavirus cluster grows
Credit: unsplash.com / Marcus Wallis

South Australia will begin a six-day lockdown from midnight on Wednesday night to prevent the further spread of a coronavirus cluster.

It's set to be the harshest lockdown implemented anywhere in Australia, with the closure of schools, universities, cafes, pubs, takeaway shops and restaurants.

The cluster originated at a hotel quarantine, with a worker spreading the virus to family members.

There have been 22 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state after Australia had recorded over a week with no local cases.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austrian government announces hard lockdown starting on Nov 17th, hopes for "mood of solidarity"
Closed café during lockdown in Vienna
Closed café during lockdown in Vienna Credit: Herzi Pinki, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Austrian government has announced a "hard lockdown" starting November 17th to contain rising numbers of Covid-19 infections. The country has seen an increase in cases in recent weeks, averaging over 7000 daily cases in the past seven days. Aa partial lockdown was introduced two weeks ago but was deemed ineffective in stopping the spread of the virus.

The new and stricter measures, which will be in effect until at least December 6th, include the closing of schools and all non-essential businesses as well as a 24-hour curfew. People are urged to stay inside their homes except for a few exceptions, e.g. for emergencies, job-related purposes, "necessary basic needs of daily life", help and care of family members and "physical and mental recovery". Restaurants, gyms and museums have already been closed since early November. 

Regional News • Europe • Austria
9,262 new Covid-19 infections in Austria

Austria has recorded 9,262 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours, including late reports of new infections from the last few days due to technical problems in the reporting system.

Health Minister Rudolf Anschober appeals to operators and customers of shopping centers to adhere to Covid-19 regulations, after pictures of people crowded together in shopping centers surfaced.

Regional News • Europe
Portugal and Hungary impose partial lockdown

Portugal and Hungary are imposing stricter Covid-19 measures, including a night curfew. While Hungary's curfew will run from 8pm to 5am, Portugal's curfew is set to run from 11pm to 5am on weekdays and from 1pm to 5am on weekends.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria goes into 4-week partial lockdown starting Tuesday, imposes curfew and restrictions on private gatherings
Sebastian Kurz
Sebastian Kurz Credit: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Starting Tuesday, November 3, Austria enters its second lockdown which is set to last until November 30. Newly imposed restrictions include a nightly curfew from 8 pm to 6 am during which citizen are not allowed to leave their homes except for emergencies, job-related purposes, "necessary basic needs of daily life", help and care of family members and "physical and mental recovery". Restaurants, bars and gyms must be closed, and all events will be cancelled throughout November. The Austrian government has further introduced a "two-household-rule", meaning gatherings are restricted to a maximum of six people from not more than two different households.

"We are aware that these measures are unpopular", said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) on Saturday.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austrian chancellor considers second lockdown as a measure of last resort
Austrian chancellor considers second lockdown as a measure of last resort
Credit: Bundesministerium für Finanzen, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz has stated that he considered a second lockdown as a measure of last resort to contain the further spread of Covid-19 and prevent hospitals reaching capacity.

"We have a massively increasing, exponential growth. It is an extreme challenge. The situation is very, very serious, even for those who still refuse to believe it," so Kurz.

Health
Czech Republic enters partial lockdown, schools and bars closed
Old Town Square during COVID-19 pandemic
Old Town Square during COVID-19 pandemic Credit: Aktron (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Under a new imposed three-week partial lockdown, the Czech Republic is closing schools, bars and clubs. Restaurant service will be limited to deliveries and takeaways. Until the end of the shutdown on November 3, public consumption of alcohol will also be banned.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
"National lockdown is the last line of defence" – Matt Hancock
"National lockdown is the last line of defence" – Matt Hancock
Credit: Richard Townshend / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock won't rule out a second nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, telling Sky News that while a "national lockdown is the last line of defence", the government would do "whatever is necessary to keep people safe in a very difficult pandemic."

Regional News • Europe • Spain
Madrid to impose targeted lockdowns amid rising Covid-19 infections
Madrid to impose targeted lockdowns amid rising Covid-19 infections
Credit: Diario de Madrid / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Madrid, one of the worst-hit regions in Spain, will introduce targeted lockdowns and other restrictions in areas with faster spreading Covid-19 infections.

"Madrid wants to flatten the curve before the arrival of autumn and the complications that cold weather could bring," so deputy regional health chief Antonio Zapatero, adding that regional lockdowns will most likely affect southern, working-class neighbourhoods where Covid-19 infections have been rising since August.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Aberdeen under lockdown again after new COVID-19 outbreak
Empty streets in Aberdeen
Empty streets in Aberdeen Credit: Rab Lawrence from Aberdeen/Scotland / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Aberdeen has gone back into lockdown due to the city's growing COVID-19 outbreak. Restaurants and pubs had to close by 17:00 on Wednesday and further restrictions, including no-house-visits, have been imposed until at least next Wednesday.

Nicola Sturgeon spoke of a "significant outbreak" after infections rose to 54 confirmed cases, all linked to the Hawthorn Bar. Patrons of the Hawthorn Bar who are linked to the cluster had visited a total of 28 other venues, possibly infected others there.

Regional News • Africa
Botswana: Capital under two-week lockdown due to rise in Coronavirus cases
Botswana: Capital under two-week lockdown due to rise in Coronavirus cases
Credit: Brandon Gregory / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Botswana's capital Gaborone was placed under a 14-day lockdown again as Coronavirus infections doubled in the past week. Dr. Lemogang Kwape, the country's health minister, said this was a necessary move as the capital was experiencing a "worrying rise" of infections. The lockdown started Friday. People, except essential workers, will need temporary permits to move around.

Dr. Lemogang Kwape said: "During the course of this week the disease has taken an unexpected turn. This now requires that we place the greater Gaborone zone under lockdown for a minimum period of two weeks to enable us to contain the disease."

Regional News • Africa
Namibia: Rise of coronavirus cases, schools ordered to close again
Hage Gottfried Geingob
Hage Gottfried Geingob Credit: Kremlin (Public Domain)

Namibia is reporting rising numbers of Coronavirus infections, recording 2129 cases on Saturday. To curb the spread of the virus, schools will close again on August 4th for 28 days. Namibian President Hage Geingob said this was a necessary move to "eliminate the risks associated with the spread of the virus." Public gatherings will be reduced from 250 to 100 people and liquor will not be served at bars or taverns.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Boris Johnson Halts Further Lockdown Easing
Boris Johnson Halts Further Lockdown Easing
Credit: U.K. Prime Minister / Wikimedia Commons (Open Government Licence v3.0)

PM Johnson halts lockdown easing in England for at least another two weeks to slow down rising coronavirus infections, saying it was time to "squeeze the brake pedal." This results in venues such as bowling allies, casinos and close-contact services having to remain closed until 15 August. Mandatory face masks will be extended to indoor venues, including cinemas, museums and places of worship.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Over 150 US doctors sign letter calling for second lockdown
Over 150 US doctors sign letter calling for second lockdown
Credit: U.S. PIRG

An open letter signed by over 150 medical professionals from the United States the government is called to "hit the reset button" and enact a second lockdown, pointing to the over 117,000 Americans that have died from due to the Covid-19 pandemic and comparing these numbers to Germany, South Korea, and other countries.

The letter states that "The best thing for the nation is not to reopen as quickly as possible, it’s to save as many lives as possible. And reopening before suppressing the virus isn’t going to help the economy" and later adds that "Non-essential businesses should be closed. Restaurant service should be limited to take-out. People should stay home, going out only to get food and medicine or to exercise and get fresh air. Masks should be mandatory in all situations, indoors and outdoors, where we interact with others."

The letter has been published on the website of the United States Public Interest Research Group and written by its public health campaigns director Matthew Wellington.

Regional News • Africa
South Africa: Alcohol ban and curfew imposed to suppress spread of Coronavirus
South Africa: Alcohol ban and curfew imposed to suppress spread of Coronavirus
Credit: unsplash.com/SJ Objio

South Africa sees a rapid spread of the Coronavirus. The country is accounting for roughly 40% of all African cases. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa begged the citizen to follow the rules and reduce personal contact. He reintroduced a ban on all alcohol sales and imposed a nationwide curfew in hopes to suppress the spread of the virus.

Ramaphosa said: "This is in our collective hands. Let us remember that every individual action that we undertake does and can make a big difference. Now more than ever we are responsible for the lives of those around us."

Hospitals also have started to turn people away. Ramaphosa wants to avoid a second lockdown as it would cause more harm than good on the economy.

Regional News • Middle East
Israel: Health Minister considers nationwide lockdown if daily coronavirus cases suprass 2000
Portrait of Yuli Edelstein
Portrait of Yuli Edelstein Credit: ראובן קופיצ'ינסקי / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said he's considering a nationwide lockdown in case the country surpasses 2000 daily Coronavirus cases. Israel reported 1600 cases between Wednesday and Thursday evening.

Edelstein reportedly told associates: "If we reach 2,000 patients a day, this will be a flashing red light. We’re trying not to get there, but this will likely lead us to a general lockdown."

Regional News • Oceania
Melbourne supermarkets impose buying limits as people return to panic-buying
Empty shelves in a supermarket
Empty shelves in a supermarket Credit: unsplash.com/John Cameron

As Melbourne goes into its second lockdown of the year, panic-buyers are returning to the supermarkets to empty shelves. In response, Australian supermarkets chains Coles and Woolworths have imposed a buying limit on essential products such as milk, hand sanitisers and pasta.