New Lockdowns In Europe As COVID-19 Instances Soar; Pakistan’s PM Assessments Constructive : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

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Travelers waited to flee Paris at Montparnasse train station on Friday before the government announced a new lockdown to respond to a surge in coronavirus cases. Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Hide caption

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Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Travelers waited to flee Paris at Montparnasse train station on Friday before the government announced a new lockdown to respond to a surge in coronavirus cases.

Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Some European countries have introduced new lockdown restrictions while others are considering tightening their rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases rises again across the continent.

In France, a new partial lock went into effect at midnight on Friday. Around 21 million people in 16 regions, including Paris, will be affected by the new measures. The French government decided to take the move amid fears of a third wave.

The new lock is less restrictive than the previous ones. People are allowed to train outdoors and schools remain open. However, non-essential companies had to close, while others, such as B. Hairdressers, can stay open if they follow strict guidelines.

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Traffic jams have been reported as thousands of people tried to leave the French capital before the lockdown on Friday. The volume of traffic and train reservations increased by 20% each, according to the country’s transport minister.

According to the Johns Hopkins University, more than 4.2 million infections have been reported in France since the pandemic began. With more than 91,000 deaths, the country has one of the highest fatalities in Europe.

Poland’s lockdown

Poland goes a step further and begins a nationwide three-week lockdown on Saturday after cases have increased by 44% week-to-week. According to the country’s health department, health officials attribute the recent surge to the UK variant of coronavirus.

“The main reason this situation is developing and accelerating is the British mutation of the coronavirus,” Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told reporters on Wednesday.

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According to the country’s blocking rules, only important companies – such as grocery stores and pharmacies – remain open. The country will also cancel all face-to-face courses and return to online training as the lockdown continues.

According to Johns Hopkins, over 49,000 people have died from the virus in Poland so far.

Tightening restrictions

Earlier this week, Italy – the first country in Europe to put a lockdown last year – put new national restrictions in place to stop the virus from spreading.

Hungary, Bulgaria and Bosnia have also tightened their restrictions in recent weeks. Other countries, including Germany, have warned of a possible return to stricter measures in the coming days.

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn called on residents on Friday to carefully comply with coronavirus safety regulations and warned that vaccines would not arrive quickly enough to prevent a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New infections in Germany are increasing “very clearly exponentially,” said Spahn.

Since Germany is to plan a four-day weekend for the Easter holidays in early April, the country is not yet ready to relax the rules for travel and physical distancing. Indeed, Germans should be ready to revert to tighter restrictions.

Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with the governors of the 16 German federal states on Monday to discuss whether the lockdown conditions should be restored.

Germany has recorded more than 2.6 million coronavirus cases and over 74,000 deaths.

Pakistan’s prime minister tests positive

In Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan is self-isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19, a tweet from his office said.

According to two government officials, the prime minister suffers from a “slight cough” and the “mildest fever”.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is self-isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19. Agency / wires hide lettering

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Agency / wires

Prime Minister Imran Khan is self-isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19.

Agency / wires

As reported by NPR’s Diaa Hadid, news of the prime minister’s positive test result came just two days after receiving his first dose of vaccine for the virus.

The proximity of these two events could raise concerns that will add to vaccine hesitation in the country. Health officials have tried to emphasize that the 68-year-old Khan was likely infected before being vaccinated on Thursday.

Vaccine hesitation is a problem in Pakistan. A survey earlier this month shows it is also high among healthcare workers.

Hours before the announcement, authorities closed restaurants across the Pakistani capital as the UK variant of the virus spread.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Twitter to wish his counterpart a “speedy recovery”.

The death toll from COVID-19 in Pakistan is more than 13,700.