EU update: Second national lockdowns
COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly across European countries, particularly France and Germany. Both Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, Prime Ministers of Germany and France have just recently taken the executive decision to put these two large economies into a second lockdown albeit to varying degrees. These will take place from Friday 30th October in France and the following week on Monday 2nd November 2020 in Germany.
Despite the curfew imposed gradually upon French citizens across 54 metropolitan regions from only 2 days ago, France has seen its numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths increase exponentially. In attempt to substantially slow the spread of the virus, the entire French population must not leave their homes unless for ‘essential reasons’ as of Friday 30th October at midnight. This lockdown will last for a one-month period until 1st December 2020.
This second lockdown will share similarities to the previous one back in March 2020, particularly the prohibition of:
- Leaving one’s home without an essential justification for doing so
- Travelling to other regions in France
- Travelling to non-EU countries. French borders will be closed to third countries and a negative COVID-19 test result must be provided by new arrivals entering France.
- Social gatherings
Similarly, individuals wishing to go out of their homes must supply a self-certificate to local or government officials to warrant their movement actions, a requirement from the previous lockdown.
The ways in which this lockdown will be less severe are through the continued operation and open status of certain services and places, such as:
- Schools and day care services- students over the age of six must wear a facemask during class times
- French administration offices
- Care homes- individuals will still be allowed to visit loved ones in nursing homes within COVID-19 compliant and cleanliness conditions
- Workplaces- individuals can travel to and from work for essential work purposes only.
Meanwhile in Germany, a lesser form of the French national lockdown will be imposed from Monday 2nd November the following week. This will last for a four-week period until 30th November 2020.
This partial lockdown will mean the closure of the following:
- Theatres, cinemas and so forth
The only way that pubs and bars can remain open is for takeaway services only. In a similar fashion to the French lockdown measures, schools and day-care centres will also stay open. However, not all social gatherings will be banned because social contact will only be restricted to two households consisting of a maximum number of 10 people.
This is yet again another very economically challenging as well as a mournful moment for the European Union. Global health is diminishing rapidly as more and more people contract the virus and the international death toll flourishes totally.
According to BBC News, the daily death toll in France is at its highest levels equivalent to back in April, with 36,437 new cases and 244 deaths confirmed on Wednesday 28th October 2020. Germany has a record number of 16,774 coronavirus cases and 89 people have died in just 24 hours. Although Germany does currently have a lower infection rate, the virus has slewed from the past few months.
Ultimately, this has not only just caused the EU’S financial markets to be hard-hit, but these measures have sparked off civil unrest in numerous countries. Back in August 2020, countries including Germany, France, and Vienna witnessed ‘anti-corona’ protests that questioned and attempted to tear down the COVID-19 restrictions implemented by these governments. In an equal fashion, this unrest has also been political, especially in Germany’s case where the opposition party alleged that Merkel’s government was a “corona dictatorship”. The question that everyone wants answered is when will this all end? When will there be a vaccine and coronavirus will not impact everyone’s livelihoods anymore?
Sadly, this question is too difficult to answer now. The current situation in Europe is that new restrictions are being inflicted on a day-to-day basis and potentially lasting for periods such as up to a month, for example in Italy. As numbers are rapidly arising across countries such as Belgium and Spain, it can be presumed that a surge of second national lockdowns across the world will be inevitable.
As for the UK, this may too be a likely prospect. Considering that Ireland is already in the midst of a second national lockdown for six weeks, Scotland has its restrictions and the conflicting ‘COVID-19 compliant’ measures such as 22:00 PM curfews, wearing facemasks in public indoor places but not when sitting down in a restaurant or working out in a gym, it may be unavoidable that the UK follows suit. This is also especially given the fact that most of the UK’s citizens are already under Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions, which almost equates to local lockdowns anyway. Individuals wishing to enter or exit the UK are recommended to act now before borders potentially close once again.
Should you have any questions regarding the above information or if you require legal assistance with your visa application or travel to and from the UK during this time, please contact a professional via email at email@example.com or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.