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Europe’s coronavirus: Leaders face regional authorities as second wave engulfs continent



Cities in the UK, France, Spain resist centralized efforts to introduce tighter rules, with days of tense negotiations underway as infections increase.

In the northern English city of Manchester, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been engulfed in a row with local mayor Andy Burnham over whether to move the city from the UK’s second level of restrictions to its most serious third level.

“If no agreement can be reached, I will have to intervene to protect Manchester’s hospitals and save the lives of Manchester citizens,” Johnson said on Friday, urging Burnham to “reconsider their position” and “conclude constructively” with the government.

But Burnham has resisted the government̵

7;s efforts to increase the severity of his city’s measures and called for more economic measures to protect the region’s workers under stricter rules.

The tension is far from Britain’s first coronavirus peak, as its four nations essentially all went into blockade, and support from regional authorities and the public was a given.

Instead, there is confusion in some parts of the country about what rules they must abide by, all depending on the willingness of their local authority to follow government instructions.

In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan called for stricter rules for several days before Johnson announced them, while in Liverpool, Lancashire and other regions agreements were reached with the government just before the weekend, with some councilors expressing concerns about the order.

But even where local leaders can resist stricter rules, the public looks smaller.

“I’m tired,” Rebecca Duncan, a 39-year-old from south London, told CNN on Friday after the city moved into “Level 2.” “It’s like one thing starts to open up and life starts to seem a little normal, and then something else comes along and pushes us all back.”

And a similar scenario unfolds across Europe as leaders struggle with the difficulty of pursuing a “whack-a-mole” approach to slowing the spread of Covid-19.

London is despairing over new Covid rules as regions in the north of England revolt
Earlier this month, a court in Madrid rejected lockdown laws imposed on the capital by the Spanish government, leaving millions of residents wondering if they were ready to travel for a national holiday.

The court said the restrictions, which barred residents from leaving the capital and nine suburbs last Friday, went into “citizens’ fundamental rights without the legal mandate.”

Spain’s left – wing national government and Madrid’s regional and regional center have long been at odds over the pandemic’s response, and lockdown measures are the latest political battleground.

And in Germany, a series of court rulings are creating problems for Angela Merkel’s government as it seeks to combat a growing body of cases.

Tourists walk by the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Tuesday as the city's businesses fight curfews in the courts.

Most notably, a court in Berlin sided with the government and with a group of business owners on Friday, suspending curfews for late nights at bars and restaurants in the city.

“It was not clear” that the closure of food and beverage companies between kl. 23 and at 6 would help fight infection, the court found in the case. The measure, which went into effect on October 10, was therefore a “disproportionate encroachment on the freedom of the hospitality industry,” the court said.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said he was “very disappointed” with the decision and said that “there is no doubt that in big cities … especially in the late hours, what happens in private and public places is a driver of current infections, “according to AFP.

Emmanuel Macron will closely follow the arguments taking place across Europe after imposing a curfew in Paris and several other French cities that went into effect on Friday. So far, the French government has not had much opposition to the plan.

European nations smash Covid-19 records as WHO warns daily deaths could exceed April peak

In addition to opposition from local lawmakers and distressed business owners, the issue of policing is causing confusion in some areas.

Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police certainly responded on Saturday to a report in the Telegraph newspaper claiming there was “fear” of whether officers would follow Burnham’s lead and refuse to introduce measures mandated by the Johnson government.

“We conduct operational policing without fear or favor and in accordance with the Code of Ethics for Police, along with colleagues across the country,” Ian Hopkins said in a statement.

But the blocking of challenges from the council and the hotel industry is causing headaches for several European governments.

Meanwhile, cases continue to rise across the continent. Britain, Germany, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic, along with other nations, have recorded their highest ever confirmed Covid 19 infections in October, as leaders warn of potentially serious winter outbreaks.


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