France follows Germany in implementing a second lockdown for the Covid-19, as Europe confronts the second wave of viral infections. 

In an address to the French people, President Macron informed that from Friday people will only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons, saying the country has been “overpowered by a second wave.” In a televised address, Macron said the lockdown would last at least through December 1. In France, Covid daily deaths are at the highest level since April. On Wednesday, 36,437 new cases and 244 deaths were confirmed in France. 

Universities, offices and tertiary jobs will be remote, the president informed. However, daycares, schools and some factories would remain open.

On the other hand, Germany is implementing a ‘soft lockdown’, where the European country will be shutting down restaurants, bars, gyms and theatres. German health officials said on Thursday, another 89 people had died in the past 24 hours, with a record 16,774 infections. 

Switzerland, Italy, Bulgaria and Greece have once more closed or restricted access to nightspots and public gatherings and imposed other restrictions such as curfews and mandatory mask-wearing. Madrid and other parts of Spain banned all but essential travel in and out of their regions.

The second wave is not only hitting European countries. From Thursday, the Pakistani Government has implemented partial lockdown in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi including capital Islamabad among other cities. Furthermore, all commercial activities, including shopping malls, marriage halls, restaurants to be closed by 10 pm while essential services hospitals and medical stores allowed to remain open.

In a statement, The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) listed non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPIs) that must be implemented in cities and districts where positivity rate exceeded two per cent. 

NCOC made it compulsory for all citizens to wear a face mask when stepping out of their homes. The move comes after Pakistan’s active cases surpassed the 11,000 mark and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan announced that the second wave of the deadly virus had started in the country.

The NPIs include strict enforcement of “compulsory mask-wearing” rule in confined spaces including indoor venues, public transport, bus and train stations, markets and other crowded spots, implementation of broad-based smart lockdowns in areas identified as hotspots, closure of commercial activities by 10 pm, closure of amusement and public parks by 6 pm.

The predicted rise in cases is blamed in part on growing disregard for social distancing and mask-wearing, experts say, and partially due to cold weather forcing people indoors where the virus spreads more easily. 


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