- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that Germany will enter a national lockdown from the start of next week
- While schools and shops will remain open, bars, restaurants, cinemas, pools, and gyms will close for at least two weeks
- A €10 billion (approximately A$16.64 billion) aid package will assist companies which must close during the temporary shutdown
- A second wave of COVID-19 infections has recently caused numerous European countries to reinstate firmer restrictions
- With France reporting over 50,000 cases a day, French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce a similar national lockdown soon
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that Germany will enter a national lockdown from the start of next week.
During the first wave of COVID-19 infections earlier this year, Germany fared comparatively well to its European neighbours. However, the country is now facing a serious resurgence of the virus, with cases rising by 14,964 in the last 24 hours.
In response, the Federal Government has agreed to impose strict lockdown measures across the country for at least two weeks. Schools and shops will remain open during this time, while bars, restaurants, cinemas, pools, and gyms will close down.
Private meetings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people from no more than two households. German citizens will be asked to avoid all non-essential travel, with hotels only operating for essential non-tourism purposes.
The country’s leaders will reconvene two weeks into the temporary lockdown, in order to reassess the situation.
Chancellor Merkel spoke about the urgency of the current situation in Germany, which has prompted these latest measures.
“We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency. Our health system can still cope with this challenge today, but at this speed of infections, it will reach the limits of its capacity within weeks,” she said.
A €10 billion (approximately A$16.64 billion) aid package will assist companies that must close during the temporary shutdown, by paying them a portion of lost sales. Smaller businesses with up to 50 employees will receive 75 per cent of year-earlier revenues for the month of November.
Germany is not the only European nation which is reacting to the second wave of COVID-19 cases sweeping the continent. The recent resurgence of infections and deaths has caused numerous countries, such as Spain and Italy, to reinstate firmer restrictions.
Germany’s neighbour, France, has recently reported over 50,000 new COVID-19 cases a day. As a result, it is expected that French President Emmanuel Macron will announce a similar nationwide lockdown in France very soon.
Unsurprisingly, this second wave has also had a devastating economic impact, with global share markets dropping in response. For now, many European leaders will be waiting to see how these varying countermeasures affect the continent’s medical and economic recovery.