European Leaders Impose Targeted Restrictions in New Virus Surge

Sign up here for our daily coronavirus newsletter on what you need to know, andsubscribe to our Covid-19 podcast for the latest news and analysis.

Covid-19 infections continue to accelerate across Europe with countries including Russia, Hungary and the Czech Republic reporting record cases on Saturday.

The flare-ups are forcing authorities to undo earlier efforts to reopen locked down economies and bring activity back to normal. But European leaders are focusing new curbs on individual towns and regions while resisting nationwide shutdowns for fear of heaping yet more pain on their battered economies.

In Russia, which reported a daily record of 12,486 new Covid-19 cases Saturday, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said regional administrations will have to take some kind of action if the numbers continue to climb. In Spain, the Madrid regional government extended local travel restrictions while some cities in the U.K. are closing bars and pubs.

Moscow, the epicenter of Russia’s epidemic, has reopened several temporary hospitals to deal with the influx of new patients, sent schoolchildren home on an unplanned two-week vacation and urged senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems not to go out.

The Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary also reported their highest numbers since the start of the pandemic. The Czech Republic had 8,618 new cases, Poland recorded 5,300, and Hungary reported 1,374.

Poland set special shopping hours for the elderly as of Oct. 15, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at a news conference in Warsaw. From Saturday, mask-wearing is mandatory in public.

Tipping Point

In the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Andrej Babis has pledged to avoid measures that would cause major damage to businesses as happened during the full lockdown in the spring. Babis oversaw one of Europe’s most successful campaigns to stem the initial outbreak, imposing strict and early quarantine steps.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday held talks with the mayors of Germany’s 11 biggest cities, saying that the country is at a tipping point. Case numbers have risen to the highest in six months, and on Saturday the country reported 64 deaths, the most since May.

In Spain, the Madrid region extended travel restrictions Saturday to four communities that hadn’t been covered by the national government’s state of emergency for the capital the day before. The order forbids inhabitants of those zones to leave except for essential activities such as traveling to work, school or visiting a doctor. The move is the latest evidence of the struggle between the different levels of government over how to tackle the rise in infections.

In the U.K., where Covid-19 hospitalizations jumped 50% in a week, ministers are mulling further restrictions in areas of northern England where the coronavirus is spreading fastest. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is likely to announce a three-tier local lockdown system on Monday, Sky reported. Earlier this week, Scotland ordered the closure of pubs in five regions including Greater Glasgow and Lothian until Oct. 25.

— With assistance by Piotr Bujnicki, Charlie Devereux, and Arne Delfs

Source: Read Full Article