London — Thecontinues to stage a worrying comeback across Europe. Last week the Spanish capital of Madrid was put under an official state of emergency, banning non-essential travel in and out of the city. Italy and Poland have made it compulsory for people to wear masks in public places, and France has put Paris and several other cities on maximum alert — forcing bars and gyms to shut down again.
Britain’s government is expected to tighten restrictions in many areas on Monday evening as COVID-19 cases, and the number of people hospitalized with it, rise quickly, particularly in northern England. The government is expected to announce afor England, categorizing various regions according to infection rates, in a bid to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed.
Under the new system, different areas will be placed into “medium,” “high” and “very high” alert levels (or Tiers 1, 2 and 3). It hasn’t been made clear what new measures will be implemented under any of the tiers, but it’s expected that areas falling under Tier 3, for instance, may be ordered to close pubs and restaurants and ban all household mixing.
Some experts have warning of “pandemic fatigue,” but Professor Robert West, who advises the British Government, says the real problem isn’t people deciding not to follow the rules, but confusion over what they are.
“They definitely want to obey them. There is this myth going around… that people are paying less adherence to the rules as they get this concept of fatigue. Actually, the evidence in the U.K. doesn’t support that,” he said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has been accused by opposition politicians of failing to communicate priorities and restrictions clearly for months – accusations the leader has rejected, saying he’s merely been trying to follow rapidly-developing scientific advice.
With the rate of new infections rising in Germany, authorities in the capital Berlin implemented a night time curfew over the weekend for the first time in about seven decades.
“It’s such bad luck,” said one young man, whose birthday party was brought to an early end on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, India has become the second country after the U.S. to record more than 7 million COVID-19 infections. Its official death toll is over 100,000, though the real figure could be much higher.