People in several European countries have rushed for their last convivial drink or shopping spree before the second coronavirus lockdown as the numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths increase exponentially.
Warnings from epidemiologists that there would be a resurgence of the coronavirus in the Fall have proved true, forcing government to bring back the strict restrictions of last Spring; but what is more important is the new strain on hospital systems.
French President Emanuel Macron was the first to impose a second nationwide lockdown in his country, with the leaders of Germany, England and Greece following shortly after.
France reported an average of more than 30,000 new cases a day on Tuesday following a record of 53,464 new cases on Sunday. Compared to the Spring, however, there has been a substantial increase in testing in the country, which surely is responsible for many of these elevated numbers.
The new lockdown measures in France allow people to leave their homes only for essential purposes, such as shopping for essentials in super markets, and going to school or the doctor’s. While schools across Europe shut down for the most part in the spring, research has shown that the spread of Covid-19 is almost non-existent in children.
The French rushed to bars and restaurants to enjoy a drink or dinner before the lockdown. Likewise, there were long lines in bookstores for people stocking up on books to read while staying at home.
Likewise in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided that a total lockdown was again the only way to slow the spread. Pubs were packed as Brits enjoyed a last pint or cocktail before the new measures were imposed. The United Kingdom has averaged over 22,000 new coronavirus cases per day over the previous week.
In Germany things looked a little better in comparison, with the country reporting a weekly average of over 17,000 new cases. However, Chancellor Angela Merkel still announced a “partial lockdown” in order to protect the country’s hospital system from overcrowding.
Bars, theaters and clubs in Germany will be closed for the duration of the lockdown, with restaurants limited to carryout and delivery service.
Greece is going into lockdown itself at 6 AM on Saturday morning, as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Thursday. Greece came close to 3,000 cases and 29 people died on Thursday, a record number for both statistics going back to the beginning of the pandemic.
People can still go to supermarkets, butchers, bakeries and gas stations, while restaurants can also operate but offer only take out and delivery service.
Pupils in kindergarden and elementary school grades will continue their studies as normal, while high school classes and university lectures will be conducted exclusively online.