Coronavirus, new restrictions in Europe. Germany fears that the virus spreads out of control
The epidemic curves on the contagion from Covid-19 start to surge again in a large part of Europe. If there is still no talk of new lockdowns, given the caution imposed by the high impact on the economy, more and more governments are resorting to restrictions necessary to stem the spread of the virus.
In Germany, for the first time since April, over 4 thousand cases have been registered in a single day: numbers that have prompted the Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, to speak of a “worrying” situation that does not exclude an “uncontrolled spread” of Coronavirus: Yesterday, the German Laender agreed on travel restrictions and a stay ban for those arriving from risk areas.
When the incidence rate of the virus exceeds 50 cases per 100 thousand people in a week, local authorities establish red zones. This happens in some districts of Berlin, in Bremen, and in some districts of the North West and near Stuttgart. In Berlin, bars and restaurants have to close between 11 pm and 6 am from Saturday until the end of the month.
In France, the epicenter of the pandemic remains the region of Paris and Ile de France, where the emergency plan, the so-called “plan blanc,” has been triggered. But in addition to Paris and Marseille, four other cities (Lyon, Grenoble, Lille. and Saint-Etienne) have passed to maximum alert level. Already in recent days, to cope with the second wave, some hospitals and clinics in Paris had begun to cancel the non-urgent surgeries already scheduled.
Paris and three departments (Hauts de Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val de Marne) are classified in the maximum alert zone since Monday. But in reality, numbers in hand, the French capital has exceeded the alarm threshold since 25 September about ICU beds. The occupancy rate of beds in intensive care by COVID patients, already over 40%, is rapidly increasing and is likely to reach 50% within two weeks.
In Spain, the situation in the Madrid region is surreal. Local authorities, after rebelled against the new partial lockdown imposed by the government, have asked citizens to respect it although the Superior Court of Justice has rejected the closure order arguing that it affects fundamental freedoms. Since last Friday, it is forbidden to leave the capital and other nine cities of the Madrid district, where the number of coronavirus cases is very high.
Infections are also growing in Austria and the Czech Republic. The two Central European nations both registered on 8 October the record of new cases since the beginning of the pandemic (respectively 1,209 and 5,335 in 24 hours). Vienna’s Minister of Health, Rudolf Anschober, announced a new lockdown. He noted that only 5% of ICU places are used by COVID patients. However, there are fears for tourism and the upcoming winter season, since many infections have occurred in ski resorts.
The government of Prague, which declared a state of emergency since Monday, announced on 9 October a new package of measures for a two-week period that includes the closure of theaters and cinemas as well as the isolation, outside of homes, of infected family members.