European governments are imposing sweeping measures as the continent faces a second wave of the Chinese coronavirus.
France and Germany have enacted nationwide restrictions, and the United Kingdom is tittering on the edge of a second lockdown, European media report.
“President Emmanuel Macron put 18 million residents in nine regions, including Paris, under a curfew starting Saturday. The country will deploy 12,000 police officers to enforce it,” the Associated Press reported.
Neighboring Germany announced new restrictions as the Chinese pandemic hit record numbers since March.
“Germany posted over 6,000 new cases. Levels like this have not been seen since the start of the pandemic,” German state broadcaster DW News reported. “Germany’s previous record daily increase was 6,294 on March 28. The country also reported 33 new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 9,710.”
Across the Channel, the United Kingdom saw a similar spike, with government advisors talking of a second lockdown.
“A second national lockdown is a possibility but we have to do what we can to avoid that at all costs,” a leading scientist has said,” the London Times reported earlier this week. “Peter Horby, who chairs a government advisory group, said that the country was in a precarious position as coronavirus cases and hospital admissions continued to rise.”
“European business braces for second wave,” London-based Financial Times wrote. “Companies across region resigned to more disruption as infections dash recovery hopes.”
Germany’s DW News on Thursday reported the country’s response:
The German Foreign Ministry has declared all of France, the Netherlands, Malta and Slovakia to be high-infection areas and has warned against nonessential travel to those countries. Official travel warnings are set to come into force on Saturday.
The announcement came after the French border area with Germany was declared a coronavirus risk area for the first time since mid-June by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the federal government agency for infectious diseases.
The news comes as many Germans have been panic-buying and doing border runs for commodities between the French city of Strasbourg and the German town of Kehl, located on the River Rhine, just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from Strasbourg.
Cars jammed the Europabrücke, the bridge that crosses the Rhine between the two locations, to do a spot of last-minute shopping.
Unwilling to challenge Communist China for its role in the global pandemic outbreak, Europe is looking for scapegoats closer to home. France launched a major investigation into its handling of the pandemic, raiding houses of top government ministers and officials, including the current health minister and former prime minister.
“French police have raided the homes of senior government and health officials as part of an investigation into their handling of the coronavirus pandemic,” BBC reported. “Health Minister Olivier Véran and the director of the national health agency, Jérôme Salomon, are among those whose properties were searched on Thursday.”
Earlier this year, the European Union reportedly watered down a report over Beijing’s alleged disinformation campaign in the wake of the outbreak.
Amid a surge in new cases of the Wuhan virus and the country’s crumbling health system, French health workers staged a strike in Paris on Thursday.
“Several hundred health workers took to the streets of Paris on Thursday afternoon to protest against conditions in French hospitals, as the number of new coronavirus cases surges across the country,” the news channel France24 reported.
Given Europe’s economic woes, European leaders are scrambling to avoid a second lockdown. The EU leaders, particularly Germany’s Angela Merkel, were lauded by mainstream media for their handling of the pandemic, often contrasted with the actions of U.S. President Donald Trump.
“Angela Merkel’s scientific background could save Germany,” The Atlantic magazine hoped in April. “The chancellor’s rigor in collating information, her honesty in stating what is not yet known, and her composure are paying off.”
“Her approach stood in stark contrast to the fraught political divisions in the United States… where … authorities have often been at odds with President Trump, who has made forceful but erratic predictions about the virus,” the New York Times told its readers in April.
“Germany’s coronavirus response is a master class in science communication,” CNBC opined in July.
Months of Trump-bashing and Merkel-swooning seems premature now as one looks at the Europeans battling a second wave. Besides, President Trump’s U.S. economy is a better place than Europe led by Merkle and her junior partner Macron.
Economic data suggests that Europe, especially the euro currency zone, which includes France and Germany, fared worse during the outbreak than America.
“The eurozone’s gross domestic product fell 40.3% on an annual basis, far exceeding the 32.9% contraction in the U.S. economy” between April-to-June quarter, the Wall Street Journal confirmed.
‘Lockdowns and curfews as Europe fights second wave’
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