Covid-19 Lockdown updates
Brazil: Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, on Wednesday announced tough new measures to slow a snowballing coronavirus pandemic in the country with the world’s second highest death toll.
Greece: Greece has extended its coronavirus lockdown to 16 March as it reported the highest number of new cases recorded so far in 2021.
Estonia: Estonia has imposed new restrictions on restaurants and non-essential shops as part of efforts to curb rising infections.
Lithuania: Lithuania eased some of its lockdown restrictions to allow contacts between two households outdoors, as well as sports or cultural sessions of up to five people outdoors. The government is also introducing a requirement to hold a negative Covid-19 test taken within the previous three days to be eligible for entry to the country.
Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel set out a plan to gradually unwind restrictions on Europe’s largest economy, bowing to pressure from the pandemic-weary public. After hairdressers resumed operations on Monday, the next step will start on 8 March, the German leader said late Wednesday after more than nine hours of tense talks with regional officials. Remaining restrictions – including the closure of hotels, restaurants and other non-essential retail outlets – will continue with further easing steps tied to local contagion rates. An “emergency brake” was set up to react to hot spots.
US: New York State said starting 22 March the outdoor limit on residential gatherings will increase to 25 from 10. Limits for social events will rise from 50 to 100 people indoors and to 200 outdoors. Venues that hold fewer than 10,000 people can open at 33% capacity from April 2, with up to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. Social distancing and face coverings are still required for attendance. Governor Andrew Cuomo also said domestic travelers would no longer be required to quarantine or test-out within 90 days of full vaccination.
Federal health officials called on Texas and Mississippi residents to keep wearing masks as governors there lift Covid-19 restrictions, saying it’s premature to abandon mitigation efforts and that the virus can still erupt again. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that though cases have halted their decline from January highs, it’s not yet time to lift restrictions. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Tuesday that the state would lift its mask mandate and reopen businesses next week. He also banned counties from fining or jailing people who disregard local measures, in defiance of previous warnings from Walensky and others.
Montenegro: Montenegro, with one of the highest infection rates in Europe, is relying on police and the army to enforce virus restrictions, including mandatory face masks and social distancing, according to a government statement Wednesday. The Adriatic state of 650,000 is also curbing intercity travel and suspending non-essential services as a last-ditch attempt to avoid a complete lockdown, Finance Minister Milojko Spajic said in a briefing in the capital city of Podgorica. “The pandemic is also a financial problem, but we cannot chose between health and the economy,” Spajic said.
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