Paris tightens restrictions, and Greece announces national quarantine to control Covid-19

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PARIS, ATHENS and OSLO – A week after the French government decreed a new quarantine, new restrictions were announced in the capital, Paris, on Thursday. On the same day, Greece determined a three-week national quarantine.

In the case of the French capital, establishments that sell food and drink for travel will need to close at 10 pm, Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in an interview with BFM TV.

The current quarantine in France is different from the one imposed in April. Now, most schools are still open, funerals have not been banned, and public services continue to function.

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Leaving the house is also allowed for an hour of exercise daily, purchase of essential goods and medical care. Citizens whose employers find remote work impossible are also allowed to work outside the home.

Despite the quarantine, however, French authorities believe that more measures should be considered in Paris because of the large number of people on the streets of the capital.

A government source told Reuters this week that “clandestine parties, raves and private dinners” were taking place and that more action was needed.

– When there are people who do not follow the rules of the game and therefore are putting the health of a large number of people at risk, new restrictions must be put in place – said Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

On Wednesday, 40,558 cases of Covid-19 and 385 deaths were reported in France, bringing the total number of infections to about 1.5 million and deaths to 38,674.

Greece, meanwhile, determined a new three-week national quarantine on Thursday because of an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.

“I decided to take drastic measures earlier,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The premier had previously said that a national quarantine was the last option, but said he was forced to act after infections grew in the past five days, claiming that without a blockade the pressure on the health system would be “unbearable”.

Under the new restrictions across the country, which will take effect from Saturday, all retail stores will be closed, with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies. To leave the house, the Greeks will need a leave at certain times.

Primary schools will remain open, but classes for young people from the second half of elementary school onwards will become remote.

In the first wave of Covid-19, Greece was less affected than many other European countries, mainly because of the national blockade imposed at the time. However, the resurgence of glass was “particularly aggressive,” according to the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sotiris Tsiodras.

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2,646 new infections were reported this Wednesday in Greece, the highest daily amount since the start of the pandemic, bringing the total number to 46,892. To date, 673 people have died from Covid-19 in the country.

In Norway, the government has determined that bars should close until midnight and has asked citizens to stay at home as much as possible and reduce social interactions. Last week, the country had already tightened restrictions on meetings and the entry of foreign workers into the country because of the increase in Covid-19 cases.

“The situation is very serious, and we don’t have time to wait and see if the measures we introduced last week are enough,” said Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Thursday.

3,118 new cases of Covid-19 were reported last week, compared to 1,718 the previous week. Since the start of the pandemic, Norway has had 22,953 infections and 284 deaths.

Quarantine in England and Italy

This Thursday, a new quarantine was started in England. Bars, restaurants and essential establishments will have to close under the new regulations, and people must stay at home, with some exceptions regarding education, health and work. Schools will remain open.

The intention of the new blockade is to flatten the epidemiological curve that, with the second wave of the disease, reaches records of daily cases in the country and in Europe. The United Kingdom, which has the highest number of deaths on the continent – 47,000 have died from the disease since the beginning of the pandemic – already accounts for more than 1.1 million cases of Covid-19.

The new restrictions, however, apply only to England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own restrictive measures.

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Italy, starting this Friday, will be divided into three zones – red, orange and yellow – according to the intensity of the pandemic. Among the restrictions are a partial quarantine of its richest and most populous region, Lombardy, around Milan, the country’s financial capital, and a national curfew between 10 pm and 5 am.

The division of zones depends on a number of factors, including rates of local infection and hospital occupancy, with restrictions adjusted according to each region. In red areas, such as Lombardy, people will only be able to leave their homes to work, for health reasons or due to emergencies, and bars, restaurants and most shops will be closed.

Face-to-face education will be maintained, with the exception of high school classes, the final two years of elementary school and universities, which will be transferred to the remote model. However, unlike the national quarantine applied in Italy during the spring in the Northern Hemisphere, all factories will remain open.

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