Germany to go into circuit-break lockdown

Elias Hubbard
October 29, 2020

The S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq were all down in afternoon trading on Wall Street amid worries that fresh lockdowns and rollbacks of business will further drag down economies.

Macron announced the French measures in a televised address on Wednesday evening, saying existing restrictions were "not enough anymore". "Like all our neighbours, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted on Wednesday that the country is in a "very serious" situation with regards to coronavirus and noted that the number of patients in intensive care units has doubled over past 10 days, per Reuters.

"We can't ignore what is happening around us, because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring", he said.

In the USA, more than 71,000 people a day are testing positive on average, up from 51,000 two weeks ago.

"That makes me sad", admitted Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke after around 300 Dortmund fans were allowed to watch last Saturday's 3-0 home league win over Schalke.

Restaurants, gyms and theaters will be shut and concerts will be cancelled.

Schools, daycare centres and shops will remain open, but hotel stays will be allowed only for "necessary and expressedly non-tourism purposes".

"We can say that our health system can cope with the challenge today", Merkel said, adding: "But if the pace of infections continues like this, then we'll reach the limits of what the health system can manage within weeks".

Her finance minister, Olaf Scholz, posted on Twitter: "November will be a month of truth".

European stock markets closed at their lowest levels since late May on Wednesday. Its success was seen as a reproach to the United States and an example of what the US could accomplish if Americans would just stop their political infighting and listen to the scientists.

A 10 billion euro (A$16.64 billion) aid package will pay companies that have to close a share of their lost sales during the shutdown.

Wisconsin, one of the worst hot spots of them all, set records Tuesday for the number of daily infections at almost 5,300 and deaths with 64.

Germany on Wednesday ordered a new round of shutdowns for the cultural and leisure as well as food and drink sectors, in a bid to halt a surge in new coronavirus infections.

The one-month partial shutdown, which will go into effect on Monday, is created to keep most businesses operating, Merkel said Wednesday after tense talks with the leaders of the country's 16 states.

Hopes that new treatments might curb the spread were dented when the head of Britain's vaccine procurement task force said that a fully effective vaccine may never be developed and that early versions were likely to be imperfect.

This brings the total number of cases so far to 449,275.

Governments across Europe have been under fire for a lack of coordination and for failing to use a lull in cases over the summer to bolster defences, leaving hospitals unprepared. Non-essential businesses, restaurants and bars will be closed.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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