Spain, France, Israel are going down again: are the new lockdowns different from the spring? – Politics

The fun is over in the Westphalian city of Hamm. After a large wedding with more than 300 participants turned the city into a Corona hotspot, the rules for private parties have been tightened there. You must be registered and can be banned if the planned hygiene measures are considered insufficient.

Many districts in Germany are calling for the Corona crisis summit to establish a nationwide upper limit for private celebrations on Tuesday – a so-called “attendance limit” – to avoid a nationwide lockdown. So while Germany tries to prevent an increase in new infections by means of regional measures, other countries are now completely shutting down for the second time.


Bar and restaurant owners take to the streets in Marseille. “Sauvez les bars et les restos” (except the bars and restaurants) is what their posters say. The second largest French city after Paris has been hit particularly hard by the anti-corona measures. Bars and restaurants in Marseille and the surrounding area and in the neighboring city of Aix-en-Provence have been closing for at least a week, probably two weeks or more since Sunday.

Doctors in Marseille are treating patients with Covid-19. Photo: Christophe SIMON / AFP

On weekends, the bars in Marseille are really full again, the inhabitants of the city enjoy the last hours of freedom. The party atmosphere is especially popular around Marseille’s old port. Many express outrage: “We have to pay for the situation because others have spent their holidays here.”

Many in Marseille are also convinced that Paris statistics do not match the local figures. Benoît Payan, deputy mayor of the city, says: “The finger points to our area again.” The city is being punished. City politicians claim that Marseille has made every effort to fight the virus. 10,000 tests are performed daily in Marseille, 34 percent more than in Paris. The corona infection rate is only 0.89 percent.

The city has been run by the Greens and the Left since the mayoral elections in July. They see the situation under control and demand that the government postpone the closure by ten days. That was refused.

Bernard Marty, president of the Umih association of the Bouches-du-Rhône department, which represents 7,500 restaurants and bars, threatens: “The state will kill us, but we will not die without fighting.” He does not want to demand that the restaurants and bars be closed completely: “The state must carry out controls and only close those who do not respect the health measures.” Marty believes, “Marseille will face riots.”


Health experts consider the measures taken by the regional government of Madrid to curb the drastically rising corona numbers, insufficient. “They do not have a solid epidemiological basis, they are irresponsible to public health and will cause suffering and cost lives,” said the epidemiologist and former World Health Organization crisis director Daniel López Acuña in the newspaper “La Vanguardia” Saturday.

The day before, the conservative regional government of the Spanish capital ignored the advice of the left-wing central government to shut down almost all of Madrid. Instead, it ordered only existing restrictions on freedom of movement to be extended from 37 to 45 areas. The city council fears that a new lockdown like in the spring could bring the economy to its knees completely.

Passers-by walk past nearly abandoned tables and chairs in front of restaurants and bars in Benidorm, Spain Photo: Lars Ter Meulen / dpa

On Saturday, Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa again urged the regional government to follow the experts’ advice. “The situation in Madrid is complex and presents a serious risk,” he warned. “We are facing difficult weeks. This is an epidemiological fight against the virus, not an ideological one, ”the socialist emphasized.

The scientist of the national center for biotechnology, Saúl Ares, barely leaves behind the strategy of the regional government. “In a densely populated city like Madrid, there is little point in closing off individual urban areas that are often separated only by a sidewalk,” he told the newspaper “El País”.

Moreover, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within 14 days in Madrid has long exceeded the limit above which one should have acted decisively. This number is currently 720, in Germany around 13 over seven days.

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At least her studio is still standing. “I worked there a few hours before”, says Eva Wahhaba-Steiner on the phone, “that was great”. The 71-year-old lives in Holon, a small town south of Tel Aviv. Before Corona changed the world, she went to the cinema a lot, to exhibitions and to the theater. But at the moment she is only allowed to move a thousand meters from her own home.

This is one of the measures the state is taking to stop the spread of the virus. Theaters and galleries are closed, as are most shops.

More than 8,000 Israelis recently tested positive for the virus in one day. It’s a sad record for the country that was hailed in the spring for its pandemic containment. After the government failed to reduce infection rates, it imposed a second lockdown on September 18.

Since Friday, stricter conditions have applied: only people whose work is considered essential can still go to their workplace. A tough test for a society exhausted and frustrated by months of cuts to social life, economic hardship and often erratic governance.

“I feel sad and suffocated from the lockdown,” said Ayala Levy, a 74-year-old yoga and Hebrew teacher. “It’s not a good feeling that I can’t move the way I want. Our freedom was taken – and that’s just the beginning. “

The beach in Tel Aviv is deserted. Photo: Muammar Awad / dpa

During the first spring curfew, nearly two-thirds of Israelis felt the measures were appropriate. This is evident from surveys by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), a liberal think tank.

At that time the government succeeded in reducing the number of infections to a marginal level. But the subsequent zigzag job with changing and often difficult to understand rules not only destroyed the initial success, but also destroyed a lot of confidence.

Many are also affected by the economic crisis. According to the survey, 61 percent of Israelis are concerned about their financial situation. The economic costs of the second lockdown are “enormous,” warned even state corona officer Ronni Gamzu, who had pleaded in vain for less drastic measures.

At least some Israelis are able to discover positive aspects in the exceptional situation. “The lockdown is very good for me,” said Nora Maroni, a 51-year-old teacher for autistic children. “It gives me time to do things I haven’t been able to do for a long time: I paint my room, renovate, put new plants and do things that are fun.”


The Australian State of Victoria’s Minister of Health, Jenny Mikakos, has resigned after continued criticism over the sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

Melbourne police are cracking down on protesters demonstrating against anti-corona measures. Photo: William WEST / AFP

According to authorities, the number of deaths after being infected with the coronavirus in Victoria rose to 782 on Saturday – this corresponds to a large proportion of the total of 870 deaths in the country of 25 million inhabitants. The lockdown, ordered weeks ago in Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, is considered one of the toughest in the world and shouldn’t be lifted before the end of October. About five million people live in the metropolitan region.

The high rate of infections in the southeastern state is mainly attributed to accidents involving returnees in quarantine hotels.

According to the media, studies have shown that most of the new infections in the second corona wave can be attributed to private security guards in the infected hostels and that the virus has subsequently spread. (with dpa)

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