France and Germany have both taken the decision to go into national lockdowns to last throughout November as part of an attempt to slow the growth of coronavirus.
President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed the “stay at home” order which will see non-essential shops, restaurants and bars close from Friday until 1 December with external borders closing and universities moving to online teaching.
The French president said that Covid-19 was growing more rapidly than originally predicted and that the second wave was likely to be “harder, more deadly” than the first.
Germany will also follow suit from 2 November for four weeks, with bars and pubs to close, restaurants to shut except for takeaways, indoor gatherings to be restricted to fewer than ten people, and gyms, cinemas and theatres to close.
Shops will stay open in Germany but there will be restrictions on the numbers that can enter at one time.
Angela Merkel said the “tough measures” were necessary to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed.
“We need to take action now,” she said, arguing that the measures will help to deal with the health crisis while limiting damage to the economy.
“If the pace of infections continues like this, then we’ll reach the limits of what the health system can manage within weeks,” she said.