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European countries tighten measures fearing a second wave of Covid-19


In an attempt to contain the virus and to avoid a full lockdown, several European countries are now taking additional safety measures.

In the UK, cases have surpassed 300,000 on Monday and in Germany, Chief of Staff Helge Braun urged the German people to lower the daily cases back to 500 after they have reached more than 800 cases a day.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that Covid-19 is the most severe global health emergency ever declared by the World Health Organization. Nearly 16 million cases have now been reported worldwide with more than 640,000 deaths.

“Covid-19 has changed our world. It has brought people, communities and nations together, and driven them apart.” He said.

France wants face masks build-up among its firms

On Monday, the French government sent notes to companies directing them to “build a preventive stock of protective masks for ten weeks to be able to deal with a potential resurgence of the pandemic.” Although the supply of protective masks has increased, the government warns companies must have the necessary equipment to protect their employees so they can carry out their duties safely.

After recording a marginal increase in Covid-19 infections in the Paris region and the Loire region, France mandated all citizens to wear face masks inside stores and indoor venues.

The country’s number of daily infections is also on the rise, reaching over 1,100 on Friday and authorities recently imposed a €135 fine for people who do not wear face-masks in closed public spaces.

France’s “R” infection has grown to 1.3 which indicates that infected individuals contaminate 1.3 others on average.

New social distancing measures in Belgium

On Monday, Belgium’s Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes introduced new social distancing measures in the hope of avoiding another general lockdown.

Over the past three weeks, Belgium has recorded a surge in the number of infections after witnessing a sharp decline in the beginning of July.

“Our aim is clear — avoid another full lockdown,” Wilmes said after a meeting of the national Security Council.

Starting Wednesday, contacts outside family circles will be limited to five people only over the next four weeks. Limits don’t apply to children under 12. Belgian residents are currently allowed to meet with fifteen different people.

The new measures also include limiting crowd numbers in public events to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. Wilmes declared that these measures might be sufficient to avoid further outbreaks and to make sure children return to school in September.

Germany to carry-out COVID-19 testing for travelers coming from high-risk areas

Germany’s Health minister Jens Spahn declared that compulsory Covid-19 tests will be done on travelers returning from high-risk countries to prevent the contamination of residents.

Chief of Staff Helge Braun stated that the increase in the number of infections is a “cause for concern”. He also advised everyone to practice social distancing and to wear face-masks.

Bavaria’s Minister-President Markus Söder also said he would like to introduce mandatory and cost-free COVID-19 tests at German airports and voluntary testing at the railway stations in Munich and Nuremberg, as well as at border crossings for automobiles.

Spain looks for ways to decrease infection numbers

Spain is now fighting a new outbreak of coronavirus cases which has prompted the UK to reintroduce a 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving from Spain.

On Monday, Catalonia’s regional government head Quim Torra said the region was in a dangerous phase and effectively imposing protective measures and staying at home would be crucial in averting a second wave of the virus.

Last week, Catalonia ordered all nightclubs to close for 15 days and imposed a midnight curfew on bars in and around Barcelona.

WHO officials acknowledged that further lockdowns in countries experiencing renewed outbreaks may be necessary, but suggested they should be as short as possible, and confined to as small a geographic area as possible (ie local lockdowns).


Sources: Euronews, BBC news

Directorate of Lebanese Studies and Publications

Romy Harfouche

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