Europe Battles Virus Spike With No Appetite for New Lockdowns

(Bloomberg) — Europe is facing a resurgence of coronavirus infections with little willingness to resort to the stringent restrictions on movement that helped the region control the pandemic after an initial surge in March and April.

Economies were decimated by the crisis in the second quarter, and governments are desperate to foster a swift recovery. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday urged European leaders to work together to avoid reviving lockdowns, calling instead for unified action.

“Politically, we want to avoid closing borders again at any cost, but that assumes that we act in coordination,” Merkel said during a visit with Emmanuel Macron at the French president’s summer residence on the Mediterranean coast.

The uptick in cases in recent weeks has been blamed on social gatherings and travelers. Containment measures focus on targeted initiatives, such as clamping down on nightclubs, requiring masks in public areas and mandating people returning from hard-hit regions quarantine or prove they’re not carrying the disease. So far the measures have yet to show much of an effect.

Here’s the situation in continental Europe’s major economies:


German infections increased by more than 1,000 for a fourth straight day on Friday, rising by 1,586. While that’s still well below the peak of nearly 7,000 in the spring, Merkel this week ruled out any steps to ease restrictions until the outbreak is under control.

The government will need to impose fines on people flaunting hygiene and social-distancing rules, Merkel said.

Germany is requiring people returning from hard-hit areas to quarantine for two weeks or present a negative test to prevent the disease from spreading in schools and workplaces.

The country’s Robert Koch Institute, which has repeatedly called the recent trend “very concerning,” has declared a number of regions in Europe — including most of Spain — as risk areas. On Thursday, it added two coastal regions in Croatia and part of Romania to the list, while Luxembourg and three other Romanian regions were no longer seen as risky.

Source: Europe Battles Virus Spike With No Appetite for New Lockdowns