Covid-19 Live Updates: U.S. Cases Continue Downward Trend
Germany’s first nationwide lockdown rules are expected to come into effect on Saturday, as the government seeks to harmonize the country’s response to the current spike in coronavirus infections.
Managing the pandemic has so far been largely the prerogative of regional governments, but many have avoided tightening already unpopular restrictions, despite a strong rebound in infections since early March.
Under the new rules, which are due for final approval by parliament on Thursday, mandatory measures such as nighttime curfews and school and store closures would exceed certain levels of Covid-19 incidence.
New confirmed cases in Germany reached 29,518 on Wednesday, little change from their level a week ago and close to the country’s historic high of 34,012 reached on December 23.
Italy and France, on the other hand, are preparing for a gradual easing of their restrictions in the coming weeks.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex is expected to announce his intention to ease lockdown restrictions on Thursday, just weeks after a spike in infections pushed the country’s hospital system to the brink. Infections and hospitalizations started to decline a week ago but remain high.
The seven-day average for daily new infections was 32,065 Wednesday evening, down 24% from a week ago, but still well above France’s European neighbors. France’s vaccination campaign has intensified in recent weeks, but only 19% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Yet President Emmanuel Macron faces increasing pressure to reopen bars, cafes, theaters and other sectors of the French economy that have been closed since the fall. Officials have hinted at the possibility of allowing cafes and restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining around mid-May. They also discussed relaxing the 10-kilometer limit, or about six miles, for how far people can travel beyond their homes.
The Italian government on Wednesday evening approved a regular lifting of restrictions on daily living from April 26, including a return to school for most students, freer travel between different parts of the country and a reopening of restaurants . The sluggishness of the easing has led to tensions within the Italian government coalition, with the right-wing League complaining that a national curfew is maintained at 10 p.m.
The number of Covid cases in Italy remains high but is slowly declining, with 13,844 new infections recorded on Wednesday and 364 deaths.