Curfew for 20 million French people, ban on meeting in London, schools closed in Poland: draconian measures entered into force on Saturday in Europe in the hope of stemming the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In France, where the number of contaminations reached a new record on Saturday with more than 32,000 new cases listed in 24 hours, a dozen large cities, including Paris and its suburbs, are now subject to a curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for at least four weeks, a measure that affects more than 20 million people.
The streets of the French capital gradually froze in silence, a situation that Paris had not known since 1961, in a completely different context, when a strict curfew had been decreed for the French Muslims of Algeria.
“It’s speaking, it is 9pm and there is no one left, the situation is almost clean”, welcomes Commissioner Patrick Caron, of the Parisian police.
But the situation is deteriorating across the continent, with the number of new infections up 44% this week, enough to deem the situation “very worrying” by the World Health Organization (WHO), while the Latin America, the Middle East and Asia are on the decline, according to an AFP count.
In the United Kingdom, the most bereaved country in Europe (43,429 dead, 15,000 new cases on Friday), the authorities also tightened the restrictions on Saturday: in London and in several other areas, or 11 million people, indoor meetings between relatives and friends from different homes are prohibited. Lancashire (north-west) and Liverpool are on maximum health alert, which means the ban on meetings between different households indoors and outdoors, and the closure of pubs not serving meals.
In Northern Ireland, pubs and restaurants closed for a month on Friday and school holidays were extended.
In Germany, which recorded 7,830 new cases in 24 hours – a record for the country -, Angela Merkel solemnly asked her fellow citizens on Saturday to reduce their social relations as much as possible.
New restrictions are also coming into force in Warsaw and other large cities in Poland: middle and high schools will be closed to practice distance education, restaurants will have to close at 9 p.m., wedding ceremonies will be prohibited and the number of people admitted to schools will be closed. shops, public transport and religious services limited.
In the Czech Republic, which has the highest rate of infections and deaths per 100,000 mainland residents, the government has asked the military to build a 500-bed field hospital outside of Prague.
Worldwide, all indicators are red: at least 1,105,691 deaths and nearly 39.4 million infections have been identified since the start of the pandemic, according to a count made on Saturday by AFP. For Friday alone, 6,118 deaths and 403,629 new cases were recorded.
Italy, already hard hit in the spring, reported 10,010 new cases on Friday, its absolute daily record, while bars and restaurants closed from midnight in Lombardy (north), the most affected region and Campania (south -west) had already decided to close its schools this week.
Only note of hope, the American laboratories Pfizer and Moderna have announced that they plan to apply for the authorization of their vaccines by the end of November in the United States, which would mark a speed record for the development of a vaccine. .
But the possible launch of vaccination by the end of the year will be too limited to contain on its own the epidemic, which is in its third rebound in the United States, with an alarming increase in contaminations, hospitalizations and deaths.
In New York, an Orthodox Jewish wedding that could have brought together more than 10,000 people was banned by the authorities because in violation of measures to fight the virus, according to the press.
The United States is the most bereaved country on the planet (at least 219,154 dead, or nearly one in five worldwide), followed by Brazil (153,675 dead) and India (112,998 dead).
South Africa, the most affected African country, exceeded the threshold of 700,000 cases on Friday, for 18,370 deaths. It accounts for 43% of the cases recorded on the continent. Strict containment measures have been relaxed but here too, the authorities fear the arrival of a second wave.