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COVID-19: Europe confronts second wave

Two of Europe’s biggest economies are reinstating some form of national lockdown, as the continent confronts a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.

From Friday people in France will only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons.

President Emmanuel Macron said the country risked being “overwhelmed by a second wave that no doubt will be harder than the first”.

Germany, meanwhile, is imposing a “soft” national lockdown.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said the measures coming into force on Monday are less severe than in France, but they include the closure of restaurants, bars, gyms and theatres.

Infections are rising sharply across Europe, including in the UK which on Wednesday announced 310 new deaths and 24,701 new cases.

In England, a new study shows almost 100,000 people are catching the virus every day, putting pressure on the government to change policy from a regional approach.

In France, Covid daily deaths are at the highest level since April. On Wednesday, 36,437 new cases and 244 deaths were confirmed.

German health officials said on Thursday another 89 people had died in the past 24 hours, with a record 16,774 infections.

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