Berlin nightlife shuts early as coronavirus cases spike in Europe, top 10 million in Latin America
- Governments across the globe are struggling to keep up with a sharp rise in infections and manage growing public frustration over new restrictions
- Latin America and the Caribbean, with more than 360,000 deaths according to official figures, is the region worst hit in terms of fatalities
Bars and restaurants closed at 11pm on Saturday in Berlin under a partial curfew announced until October 31, with the capital following in the footsteps of financial hub Frankfurt where a curfew had already been imposed, but starting an hour earlier.
With more than 400 new cases daily in Berlin, the early shutdown also covers all shops except pharmacies and petrol stations in a bid to prevent sales of alcohol late at night.
“This is not the time to party,” said Berlin mayor Michael Muller in a message addressed to young people, who are driving new infections higher. “We can and we want to prevent another more severe confinement.”
Police said “several thousand” people marched through Berlin on Saturday in a silent protest against restrictions. Protesters also rallied in Rome, Warsaw and London against mask-wearing requirements and virus curbs.
Governments across the globe are struggling to keep up with a sharp rise in infections and manage growing public frustration over new restrictions as the pandemic enters a second wave.
Latin America and the Caribbean marked 10 million cases on Saturday and with more than 360,000 deaths, the region is the worst hit in terms of fatalities, according to official figures.
Residents can only leave the Spanish capital for work, school or medical reasons as part of restrictions that have been denounced by the city’s right-wing authorities.
“We’ve always placed public health above all other considerations,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said during a visit to Portugal on Saturday, adding that Madrid needed “a strong response” to rising cases.
To the south, the Czech Republic faced the prospect of a new lockdown as the growth in Covid-19 cases set a fourth straight daily record, with the growth in infections the highest in Europe.
EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel was the latest high-profile figure to test positive for Covid-19. She was the first top Brussels official known to have been infected.
But new restrictions for the UK have often run into opposition as public frustration grows over curbs on social life, mask requirements and business shutdowns.
Local leaders bristled at London’s plans, with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham saying that “we will not surrender our residents to hardship this Christmas or our businesses to failure”.
Also in Britain, the widely used Bacillus Calmette-Guérin tuberculosis vaccine, which induces a broad innate immune-system response and has been shown to protect against infection or severe illness with other respiratory pathogens, is set to be tested on frontline care workers for its effectiveness against Covid-19.
“We are seeking to establish whether the BCG vaccine could help protect people who are at risk of Covid-19. If it does, we could save lives by administering or topping up this readily available and cost-effective vaccination,” said Professor John Campbell of the University of Exeter Medical School.
The study is part of an existing Australian-led trial, which launched in April and also has arms in the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil. The BCG vaccine is also being tested as a protection against Covid-19 in South Africa.
Additional reporting by Reuters