Wednesday 28 October 2020 5:32 pm

Germany to enter four-week lockdown from November

Germany will enter a four-week lockdown from 2 November, Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed today.

Pubs, bars and restaurants across the country will shut for one month, while all inter-household mixing will be banned.

Gyms, cinemas and theatres will also shutter for four weeks, as Merkel scrambles to contain a second wave sweeping across the nation.

Read more: More than 50 Tory MPs lash out at local lockdown restrictions

It comes after Germany’s economic minister Peter Altmaier yesterday said cases in the country are “exploding” and could hit 20,000 new infections a day by the end of this week.

Merkel has warned that Germany’s hospital system “could collapse” before Christmas without tighter restrictions, as intensive care wards in the country hurtle towards capacity. 

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce further curbs across the Channel in a televised address to the nation this evening.

French local media reported yesterday that Macron was considering a month-long national lockdown from midnight tomorrow.

The French President is understood to be considering more flexible restrictions than the two-month national shutdown between March and May, according to France’s BFM TV.

It comes after France reported its highest daily death toll from the virus since April yesterday, with 523 more coronavirus-related fatalities bringing the total to 35,541 since the start of the pandemic.

France earlier this month reinstated a national state of emergency after seeing a “sudden and spectacular rise in cases” and rolled out a 9pm curfew on 38 regions.

Fears of sweeping restrictions sent European shares on a downward spiral today, with the European Stoxx 600 shedding 3.6 per cent at 3pm. 

German and French markets were among the worst hit across the continent, with each falling more than four per cent this afternoon.

Figures from the World Health Organization released yesterday showed Europe reported 1.3m new coronavirus cases over the past seven days, making up nearly half the 2.9m reported worldwide.

The continent saw a 37 per cent jump in deaths compared to the previous week, after 11,700 new fatalities were recorded in the past seven days.

Read more: London pandemic update: How many Covid-19 infections are there in your local borough?

Business bodies across the region have warned that further lockdown restrictions will destroy hopes for an economic rebound over the winter.

Germany’s BGA, a lobby group for the services sector, said pub, restaurant and bar closures would deal a “death blow” on many businesses, and urged Merkel to instead tighten restrictions on inter-household mixing.