Germany to enforce new four-week ‘lockdown lite’ that will shut all bars & restaurants – but school & shops stay open

3 weeks ago 5

BRITS' hopes of a festive reprieve took a huge knock as Germany was plunged back into national lockdown with France set to follow suit. 

German leader Angela Merkel announced a month-long circuit breaker in the hope it will "save Christmas" for millions of families. 

German leader Angela Merkel has placed the country under a month-long circuit breaker

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German leader Angela Merkel has placed the country under a month-long circuit breakerCredit: EPA

Protesters in Berlin demand government assistance during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic

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Protesters in Berlin demand government assistance during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemicCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Emmanuel Macron is also posed to impose four weeks of stricter measures after his health chiefs admitted the pandemic is now "out of control". 

The EU's top adviser on the pandemic warned most of the continent will have to go back into some form of lockdown. 

Professor Peter Piot said people had "relaxed too much" on social distancing measures like mask wearing and now "we're paying a high price". 

And he warned if current restrictions are eased too soon Europe may face "a third wave with maybe even more deaths". 

'THIRD WAVE'

Brussels boss Ursula von der Leyen admitted Christmas will be "different" but said "a lot depends on behaviour from each individual in the next few weeks".

Mrs Merkel signed off on a second lockdown for all of November after an emergency meeting with state premiers from across Germany. 

She admitted: "We are now at a point where, on average nationally, we no longer know where 75 per cent of infections come from." 

Under the measures, due to come in on Monday morning, people will be restricted to meeting members of just one other household in public. 

We are now at a point where, on average nationally, we no longer know where 75 per cent of infections come from

Angela Merkel

Bars, restaurants, gyms, and cultural venues will be ordered to close and hotels can only stay open for non-tourism related stays. 

Schools and nurseries will be allowed to stay open as will shops so long as they impose hygiene measures and limit customer numbers.

The plan says: "Families and friends should be able to meet each other even under Corona conditions during the Christmas season." 

Mr Macron is also set to announce tough new measures in a TV address to the nation tonight.

Ms Merkel says the lockdown is needed to stem the spread of the disease, with one cafe in Bavaria seem empty this week as the country battles a second wave

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Ms Merkel says the lockdown is needed to stem the spread of the disease, with one cafe in Bavaria seem empty this week as the country battles a second waveCredit: AFP or licensors

French leader Emmanuel Macron is poised to announce a new lockdown this evening 

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French leader Emmanuel Macron is poised to announce a new lockdown this evening Credit: Getty Images - Getty

He is expected to order bars, restaurants, and secondary schools to shutter as of midnight on Thursday.

Only schools and key public services were due a reprieve after doctors warned hospitals are just days from being overrun. 

Europe is being ravaged by a second wave of the virus that experts are warning will be worse than the first.

Authorities in Belgium, which has the highest case rate in the EU, are also eyeing a second national lockdown as early as this weekend. 

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Top epidemiologist Pierre Van Damme warned if they don't act the health system is set to "collapse within 10 days". 

And a partial lockdown in the neighbouring Netherlands, which shuttered bars and restaurants a fortnight ago, is due to last until at least December. 

Spain has declared a state of emergency stretching until next spring and a curfew in Italy, including closing restaurants at 6pm, has sparked riots. 

Christmas dinners in lockdown areas could be broken up even if fewer than six people present

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