Germany and France announce quarantine due to the second wave of coronavirus
Germany and France have announced a national quarantine. Paris has introduced stricter restrictions – to leave their homes, the French again need to fill out a special form. Both countries suspend public facilities, stores and schools remain open. Companies affected by the quarantine are promised financial assistance. Emmanuelle Macron and Angela Merkel state: the second wave will be heavier than the first. Not yet recovering from the economic consequences of the first wave, the EU member states, although they have experience behind them, this time they are not acting with the same determination. Strict restrictive measures have been introduced in Spain, the first EU country to cross the threshold of one million coronavirus infections. The Czech Republic, which has the highest mortality rate from the disease, has been in emergency mode for almost a month.
Other members of the commonwealth are trying to find a balance between partial restrictive measures and saving the economy.
“We are at the bottom of the second wave. I think Christmas will be another Christmas this year,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The second country that has crossed the mark of a million sick is France. On October 28 leaders of the European Union – Germany and France – announced the introduction of national quarantine. Most likely, other countries with weaker economies will follow them too.
On Wednesday, October 28, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany had to go to a new isolator from November 2. The measures put forward are much milder than those taken in the spring. Germany, the EU’s most powerful economy, fears total quarantine and a complete halt to economic activity in the country.
As of next Monday, all restaurants and bars in Germany will be closed, and those selling food can continue their work. Mass events have been canceled again. Accommodation in hotels, hotels, and hostels for tourism purposes is suspended.
Employers who can transfer their employees to remote work must do so. Entertainment and cultural public places – theaters, museums, and cinemas – are no longer available, as are gyms, swimming pools, saunas, and beauty salons. The government also strongly recommends against traveling to other cities.
Germans will not be allowed to gather more than 10 people – members of two families. Any private parties, even in apartments, are excluded.
However, it is not clear how the government will regulate this measure. Before the Chancellor’s meeting with the heads of land governments, Carl Lauterbach, a Bundestag deputy from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), caused a stir with his statement that “inviolability of the home should no longer be an argument for lack of control. However, quite quickly, the deputy said on Twitter that he did not mean control over the observance of the ban by violating the inviolability of housing. He simply proposed to actively agitate the country’s citizens not to organize a party at home.
At the same time, the Germans still had the right to protest (by keeping a social distance and wearing masks) and attend church services.
This time schools and kindergartens will continue their activities. Nursing homes are allowed to receive visitors. Stores and hairdressing salons remain open, but visitors must keep a social distance. Germany’s borders within the Schengen area also remain open.
“We are in a very serious situation. We have to act right now to avoid a health emergency in the country,” Angela Merkel said at a press conference after a meeting with the heads of state governments.
The Chancellor noted that the number of people in intensive care units has doubled in the last 10 days, and it is impossible to track the infection chain, as in 75% of cases the source of infection is unknown.
“This is why today is a difficult day, including for political decision-makers. I want to say it directly because we know how difficult it is for citizens,” she said.
Merkel also promised that companies affected by the new restrictive measures will receive economic support. Companies with up to 50 employees and self-employed citizens will receive 75 percent of their income as support from the government. Less support will be provided to businesses with fewer than ten employees. Larger companies, on the other hand, may rely on the EU financial assistance mechanism.
According to local media reports, a total of €10 billion has been allocated for financial aid to the residents of the country.
Not everybody is satisfied with the introduction of new restrictive measures in the ruling tops of Germany. For example, Bundestag Chairman Wolfgang Kubikka of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) published an article in Der Tagesspiegel titled “Lockdown breathes undemocratic spirit,” in which he stated that the quarantine does not comply with either legal norms or logic. According to Cubicca, it would be much more appropriate to allow people to meet in public places where it is possible to control the observance of distance and protective measures than in private territory.
Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelov, who had previously unambiguously opposed quarantine, said he would approve the restrictions only if the Bundestag voted for them. In addition, Ramelov said that Thuringia would only comply with those measures that were approved by the expert community.
At the same time, the politician intends to introduce a lockdown in the region only after coordinating all measures with the local government.
Following Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuelle Macron also announced the quarantine. The restrictions will last at least until December 1 and will be reviewed every two weeks.
As of October 30, the French are allowed to leave the house only for medical treatment, to buy basic necessities, or to walk near the house. Employers should transfer their employees to remote work if possible.
As in Germany, restaurants and bars will be closed. Businesses that are not of primary importance should stop working. University students will be transferred to distance learning. However, schools and enterprises will continue to work – the President emphasized that the economy “should not stop or collapse.
In his televised address Macron stated that France may “be overwhelmed by a second wave, which will undoubtedly be heavier than the first”.
“The virus is spreading at a rate that even the most pessimistic forecasts did not expect,” he said, adding that half of all intensive care beds in French hospitals are occupied by coronavirus patients.
Under the new rules, the French will have to fill out a form to justify leaving home, as was required during the initial blockage in March. Public meetings are prohibited.
Visits to nursing homes, which were banned during the two-month lockdown announced in March, will be allowed this time. France’s borders within the European Union remain open.
Macron also promised to help French firms but did not give details.