Paris and other French cities were preparing for their final Friday night before a strict virus curfew began, unlike neighboring Germany, where a Berlin court lifted nighttime restrictions.
Governments across Europe were desperate to mitigate an alarming second wave of coronavirus cases while avoiding a full national lockdown that would further adversely affect their troubled economies.
Millions in England, including London, were hours away from tighter restrictions, including a ban on household mixing, while bars and restaurants were closed in northeastern Spain’s Catalonia.
In Greece, the densely populated northern area of Kozani has been re-closed.
In the medical world, hopes for one of the most promising COVID-19 treatments, the antiviral drug remdesivir, were dashed when a World Health Organization-supported study found it does little to prevent deaths from the disease.
The epidemic also continued to disrupt the corridors of power. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, the youngest politician, was forced to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Amid the dire news of an epidemic that killed nearly 1.1 million people and infected nearly 39 million worldwide, some rays of light surfaced for nature and sports lovers.
Rare pink dolphins have been found returning to the waters between Hong Kong and Macau after the pandemic halted ferries, while Wimbledon organizers said the Grand Slam tournament would take place next year, even if it was behind closed doors would.
The game grows
In France, the curfew for around 20 million people in Paris and eight other cities should start at midnight and properly go into effect on Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Although it has widespread public support, officials are concerned about the high social and economic cost of an action that is supposed to last at least a month.
In many European countries, infection controls have sparked a backlash from defiant local authorities and companies desperate to make ends meet.
Marseille Mayor Michele Rubirola – a doctor herself – said the curfew was due to insufficient efforts by the French government to strengthen hospital systems.
She said residents pay the price “through the loss of their daily joys, freedom, or economic hardship as the bar and restaurant industry is being hit extremely hard.”
Similar uneasiness was felt in England, where London and seven other areas faced new restrictions as of Saturday.
In the north-west of England, particularly in Manchester, where the number of positive cases is among the highest in the UK, local leaders were still bogged down in talks with the government to introduce even tighter controls.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab went on the air Friday to accuse Manchester Labor Mayor Andy Burnham of “trying to keep the government over a barrel of money and politics when we actually need to take action”.
Over in Berlin, the unrest over the restrictions was so great that 11 restaurant owners ordered the courts to close bars and restaurants from 11 p.m.
On Friday, the court overturned the order, stating that “it was not obvious” that such a measure could help fight the coronavirus.
The suspension reflected a similar court ruling in Madrid earlier this month that lifted restrictions on 4.5 million people in and around the capital.
Meanwhile, in Barcelona, hospitality workers were taking to the streets, making noise with pots and pans and throwing eggs at City Hall after bars and restaurants closed.
Coronavirus ‘perfect storm’
It wasn’t all doom and gloom when conservationists praised the return of pink dolphins on one of the world’s busiest sea routes between Hong Kong and Macau.
The population has decreased by 70 to 80 percent in the last 15 years, but in 2020 their numbers rose again.
You owe it to the pandemic as the ferries between Hong Kong and Macau have been suspended since February.
“We’re seeing much larger groups as well as much more social mating behavior that we hadn’t really seen in the past five years,” said Lindsay Porter, a Hong Kong-based marine scientist.
And while tennis fans could look forward to Wimbledon next year, it wasn’t so good news for rugby fans.
World champions South Africa withdrew from the 2020 rugby championship in Australia due to a coronavirus-induced “perfect storm”, SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said Friday.
This included uncertainty about the availability of many Europe-based South Africans amid coronavirus spikes and concerns that some players had not played enough due to the pandemic.
© 2020 AFP
Quote: Millions face French curfew, German court lifts curbs at night (2020, October 16), accessed on October 16, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-10-millions-french-curfew- german-court.html
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