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New virus restrictions in Europe Merkel warns of hard days

BERLIN (AP) – Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Germans to meet as they did in the spring to curb the spread of coronavirus as the country released another daily list of new cases on Saturday.

“Difficult months are ahead of us,” she said in her weekly video podcast. “How winter will be, how our Christmas will be, it will all be determined in the coming days and weeks, and it will be determined by our behavior.”

Meanwhile, new restrictions came into force in several other European countries in an attempt to halt the resurgence of the pandemic.

In Paris and eight other French cities, restaurants, bars, cinemas and other businesses were forced to close by 1

p.m. 21 to try to reduce contact between people. The country deployed 12,000 additional police officers to enforce the new rules.

Many restaurant owners have brushed to order. A previous months-long lockdown devastated the sector.

“I have the right to question the government’s approach, I think it is a catastrophic measure for the industry,” said Xavier Denamur, who owns Les Philosophes and several other bistros in Paris’ smart Le Marais district, saying that if not second, the curfew should be at

“At least it would not ruin us,” he said. “There is no evidence that this difference in a few hours will have any effect on the virus circulating.”

In the UK, a three-tier regional approach to combating the pandemic introduced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson came into force, with each level gradually imposing stricter restrictions.

On Saturday, Level 2 cities such as London and York were subject to a ban on socializing with people from other households indoors, while Lancashire County joined Liverpool in Level 3 with the strictest restrictions.

Among other things, this means that pubs have been forced to close and socializing with others is prohibited even in many outdoor environments.

In Northern Ireland, a four-week shutdown took effect on Friday. All pubs and restaurants must close except for takeaway services, and schools close for two weeks for an extended half-time holiday.

Data from Friday showed that a further 136 people died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total official toll to 43,429.

The World Health Organization has warned that intensive care units in a number of European cities could reach maximum capacity in the coming weeks if the number of infections is not curbed.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg joined the list of top politicians who have tested positive for the virus and were quarantined even though he showed no symptoms, his office told the Austrian APA news agency.

The Vatican, meanwhile, said a person staying at the same hotel as Pope Francis tested positive for the virus, adding the 11 cases of COVID-19 among the Swiss guards protecting him.

In Germany, which was widely praised for slowing down the spread of the virus when the pandemic first broke out, the number has risen rapidly.

On Saturday, the nation’s disease control center, Robert Koch Institute, reported 7,830 cases overnight, a new record.

Like most countries, Germany has struggled with how to keep schools and businesses open while trying to prevent people from coming into close contact with each other.

Germany has registered a total of 356,387 cases of coronavirus and relatively low 9,767 deaths.

Merkel urged Germans to avoid unnecessary travel, cancel parties and stay home whenever possible.

“What brought us so well through the first half of the pandemic?” she asked. “It was that we stood together and complied with the rules out of consideration and common sense. This is the most effective remedy we currently have against the pandemic, and it is more needed now than ever. ”

In the neighboring Czech Republic, the number of new infections for the first time exceeded 10,000 and rose to 11,105 on Friday, the Ministry of Health said. The country has now registered a total of 160,112 cases, including 1,283 deaths.

Despite new restrictive measures to curb the rise, Health Minister Roman Prymula said he still expects an increase in tests that are positive for about two weeks.

Next, Slovakia said it acquired 13 million rapid antigen tests – enough to test each member of the population twice – and would set up 6,000 test sites.

Prime Minister Igor Matovic said testing will take place over the next two weekends starting with the three or four hardest hit counties. It was not immediately clear whether testing would be mandatory.

Italy’s northern Lombardy region, where the European outbreak began in late February, has taken new measures to curb recurrent infections, limiting bar service and alcohol sales, banning contact sports and closing bingo halls.

The regional government late on Friday urged colleges to adopt hybrid plans where students personally switched to online learning.

The measures were taken after Lombardy, Italy’s most populous region, was again most affected, adding more than 2,000 infections a day. Hospitals are under pressure and intensive care units are filling up.

The new measures only allow table service for bars from kl. 18, prohibits the sale of alcohol from that time and prohibits all consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Italy’s second hardest-hit region, southern Campania, has taken similarly severe measures, including a two-week closure of schools. After the parents protested, the regional governor backed up on Friday, allowing day care institutions to be open.

In the capital Rome, residents grumbled as cases escalated, fearing a return to the stringent nationwide measures imposed as the virus spread out of control.

“The situation is critical thanks to idiots because I call them idiots who have not respected the rules,” said resident Mario Massenzi. “And if we fall back into the same situation as in March, we’re done.”


Thomas Adamson in Paris, Sylvia Hui in London, Nicole Winfield in Rome, Colleen Barry in Milan and Karel Janicek in Prague contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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