London joins raft of European cities facing tough new restrictions, as leaders battle second COVID-19 wave

Westminster Abbey is pictured in the summer sunshine in London, England.

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London has joined a raft of other European cities plunged into tighter COVID-19 restrictions, as Germans face further controls on gatherings, and nighttime curfews are being implemented in nine French cities.

Millions of households in London will be banned from mixing indoors with other households on Saturday, as European leaders battle to prevent the spread of a second wave of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who has been pushing hard for tighter restrictions, warned that the virus was spreading rapidly “in every corner of our city” — a large number of boroughs now has an average of 100 cases per 100,000 people.

The U.K. has one of the highest death tolls from the disease in Europe, at 43,155, because of the high density of people in its cities and its high level of overweight citizens.

The U.K. has implemented restrictions in three tiers, with the third tier the most severe. London, which has a population of nine million and is Europe’s wealthiest city, has been moved up to Tier 2, which bans the mixing of households. Schools, shops, and pubs remain open.

Khan warned the capital has “a difficult winter ahead … But,
just as we’ve always done throughout our city’s great history, I know we’ll get
through this dark time by pulling together.”

The tighter controls will be a further blow to businesses
struggling to survive. Eddie Curzon, London director, for the CBI, a business
lobby group, said: “Getting a grip on rising infection rates now can help to
maintain confidence and avoid further restrictions in the months ahead.

“But this news will come as a severe setback to businesses across London — particularly in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors.”

In Germany, bars and restaurants in high-risk zones will have their closing times brought forward, and citizens face new rules on wearing masks and gatherings.

On Thursday, the country noted 6,638 new cases according to the Robert Koch Institute.

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