PARIS, France|SHIFTMEDIA|France will enter another nationwide lockdown until 1 December, President Emmanuel Macron told the French public on 28 October — as markets plunged across Europe and the US in response to the escalating second wave of Covid-19.
Macron’s address comes as coronavirus cases continue to soar across the continent, and governments impose fresh new restrictions on citizens in the eighth month of the pandemic.
The nationwide lockdown will see bars and restaurants close once more across the country. Further details will be released today (29 October) during a press conference, however, the president said that a requirement for individuals to produce signed documents justifying their presence outside their home will be reintroduced, as it was in the spring. Working from home is highly encouraged “where possible”, although those need to go to their workplace can do so.
The current localised restrictions in place “are not enough and are no longer enough”, Macron said in a highly anticipated televised address on 28 October. “Stay at home as much as you can and follow the rules”, the French president urged. Schools, however, will remain open, as will the country’s borders, unlike during the first wave.
“It has to be recognised that like our neighbours we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus,” Macron said. “In Europe, we are all surprised by the evolution of the virus… which will be harder and more deadly than the first wave.”
According to the government’s latest figures, France registered 33,417 new cases on 27 October. Macron told the public that the country had registered 527 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced intensified calls for a second lockdown. England currently has a three-tiered system, separating areas of the nation into “medium”, “high” and “very high” and imposing increasingly strict restrictions. According to the latest government statistics, the UK reported 24,701 new cases on 28 October.
Earlier on 28 October, the German government imposed new partial-lockdown measures set to last for the next month, The Wall Street Journal reported. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that restaurants, gyms and theatres will close as the country tries to control the spike in infections.
Meanwhile, markets slumped around the world in reaction to government measures to contain the second wave of the virus.
European stocks plunged after the first reports of the likely French lockdown emerged. The UK’s FTSE closed the day down 2.6%, while the German DAX collapsed by 4.2%. France’s CAC 40 index was off by 3.4%. The three leading US indexes were down almost 3% as of 19:09 GMT.
“It’s surprising it has taken markets this long to take fright at the second wave of the pandemic, and the havoc it might wreak on the global economy,” said Laith Khalaf, a financial analyst at AJ Bell, in a statement. “The writing has been on the wall for several weeks now, but stock markets have had their blinkers on.”