France, Germany join nations tightening controls to halt virus surge
Germany and France drew up tougher rules on Thursday in line with a growing number of countries battling a resurgence in coronavirus infections with Paris making masks obligatory in all public places in a bid to curb a rise of new cases in the city, AFP reports.
European countries are seeing an increase in infections even as they struggle to balance new restrictions against the need for their economies to recover from the devastating impact of the first round of lockdowns.
Britain, South Korea and Rwanda are also tightening their restrictions as fears rise of a return to the draconian anti-virus curbs put in place earlier in the year.
The pandemic has killed more than 826,000 people worldwide since surfacing in China late last year and more than 24 million infections have been recorded.
Germany, the European Union's biggest economy, will impose tougher rules on mask wearing and keep football fans out of stadiums until at the least the end of the year, under a draft proposal seen by AFP.
The measures -- such as a minimum fine of 50 euros ($59) for flouting requirements on mask wearing -- are likely to be officially agreed later Thursday.
As in other countries, Germany's surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks has been mainly blamed on summer travel and friends and family gatherings.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday masks will be compulsory in all public places in the capital Paris, one of the hardest hit regions in France.
Official figures released in France on Wednesday showed more than 5,400 confirmed new cases in just 24 hours, with admissions to hospital and intensive care units on the rise.