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25/07/2021
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Coronavirus digest: Germany mulls restrictions on traveling, partying

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s aide has called for restrictions on social gatherings and travel to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Germany has reported a surge in daily infections. Here is the latest from DW.

The German chancellor’s chief of staff has said the country will have to cap the number of people at social gatherings and also clamp down on unnecessary travel to curb the spread of the second wave of coronavirus in the country.

“We must be a bit stricter in places where infection chains spread mostly, which is parties and, unfortunately, also travel,” Helge Braun told public broadcaster ARD.

“We are at the beginning of a second wave and only the politicians’ and the population’s determination will decide whether or not we can avoid it, or slow it down,” he added.

Germany has seen a steady rise in the number of infections across the country, and several cities have already breached a key limit for coronavirus infections.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and mayors of Germany’s 11 largest cities have agreed that strict measures will kick in if the rate of infection goes above 50 per 100,000 residents over a period of seven days.

While the number of cases and deaths in Germany is lower than in many neighboring countries, the country has been reporting more than 4,000 daily cases since Thursday, the highest since April.

Europe

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a three-tier local lockdown system for England. The new system, formally known as “Local COVID Alert Levels,” will classify areas in the country under either “medium,” “high” or “very high” alert levels, with tightening restrictions.

Liverpool will be the only city under the top category, meaning pubs and restaurants will have to close. Northern England has been hit particularly hard by the recent surge in infections.

“This is a critical juncture and it is absolutely vital that everyone follows the clear guidance we have set out to help contain the virus,” the PM’s office said.

One of the government’s top medical adviser has said that Britain is at a “tipping point,” warning that the rising number of infections could soon translate into increased deaths.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, has said Britain is at a “tipping point similar to where we were in March,” after a sudden increase in cases.

“But we can prevent history (from) repeating itself if we all act now,” he said. “Now we know where it is and how to tackle it.”

Read moreUK economy enters deepest recession after record 20% slump

Four French cities, Lyon, Grenoble, Saint-Etienne, and Lille have been placed on maximum alert as the country struggles to control the spread of the second wave of infections.

France reported close to 26,900 new infections on Saturday, a record high. The numbers dropped to 16,100 the following day.

Nearly 59,400 nurses in France responded to a survey on the impact of the pandemic on their working conditions. More than half of them, or 57%, said they were approaching burnout and have been professionally exhausted since the start of the pandemic. Nearly half of them said there’s a strong risk that fatigue will impact the quality of care patients receive.

Slovakia made wearing masks in public places mandatory from Thursday, along with other measures to deal with the rising coronavirus cases.

Restaurants will only be allowed to offer takeaway food. Other establishments such as gyms, swimming pools, and saunas will be completely closed.

Government officials are debating whether to introduce a ban on gatherings of more than six people.

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