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While 2020 may have come to an end, Europe still finds itself firmly in the grip of rising coronavirus cases and new lockdown measures. With more highly contagious strains of the virus spreading among many European countries.
On Sunday, the heads of the sixteen regional governments in Germany held an online meeting to discuss the numbers of new infections in the country. While the numbers are down on the peaks of almost 30,000 new daily cases in the run-up to Christmas, the numbers are still frighteningly high. Just over 10,000 new cases were reported on Sunday.
Markus Söder, premier of Bavaria and head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), one of the key parties in the governing coalition, commented after the meeting that:
The seven-day average for new infections in Germany currently comes to 140 per 100,000 residents. This is almost three times higher than the limit authorities suggested would be a safe number to lift restrictions.
The current lockdown in Germany expires on January 10th, but the measures will probably need to be extended beyond this date to counter the growing number of new cases. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet with the heads of the country’s regional governments to discuss this possible extension.
The seven-day average infection rate reached almost 400 new cases per 100,000 residents in the post-Brexit United Kingdom, despite the imposition of new measures and infection Tiers, with many parts of the country now falling under the new Tier-4 measures.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson went so far as to suggest the prospect of even stricter measures and a possible delay to the reopening of schools after the Christmas and New Year holiday breaks.
In an interview with the BBC, the British PM commented that his government was:
In France, Covid curfews were extended in fifteen regions in the East and South-East of the country from 8 pm to 6 pm. The French government has also postponed the reopening of museums and cinemas across the country, initially planned for January 7th, with bars and restaurants to remain closed nationwide.
Daily infections in France are already close to 15,000, significantly higher than the December averages of 10,000 new cases daily. The fear is that the full impact of social gatherings over Christmas and the New Year has yet to be translated to new hospitalizations, painting a worrying picture for the already over-extended French health system.
The extension of lockdown measures across Europe comes on the back of a seriously flawed vaccine program. The United Kingdom has administered well over one million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, while Germany has administered less than 240,000, with France accounting for less than 500 doses in total!
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