Germany has entered a tough lockdown, closing schools and non-essential businesses in an effort to prevent a pointy rise in Covid-19 infections.

The measures are going to be in situ until 10 January. Christmas will see a small easing, with one household allowed to host up to four close relations .

The country reported another 952 deaths and 27,728 cases on Wednesday.

Meanwhile EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said the primary Covid vaccine would be authorised to be used within every week .

Ms von der Leyen told the ecu Parliament the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – developed in Germany – would be unrolled for the bloc an equivalent day, quite every week before originally envisaged.

The news came after the German government said it had been pressuring the ecu Medicines Agency (EMA) to hurry up approval of the vaccine. it’s already been approved by regulators within the UK and therefore the US.

The EMA is thanks to discuss the rollout next Monday.

Other European countries have joined Germany in tightening restrictions before Christmas, and France has introduced a night-time curfew.

What are Germany’s new measures, and why now?

Only essential businesses like supermarkets and banks are going to be allowed to stay open. Restaurants, bars and leisure centres are shut since November and a few areas of the country had imposed their own lockdowns.

Hair salons are among the companies which must close, while drinking alcohol publicly places, like popular wine stalls, is forbidden. Companies are being urged to permit employees to figure from home.

The 952 new fatalities announced on Wednesday are a replacement peak for Germany’s pandemic, but may cover numbers that weren’t included in previous days.

Lothar Wieler, head of Germany’s Koch Institute, which is overseeing the Covid-19 response, said things was “more serious than it’s ever been”.

“The number of cases is above ever and that they keep rising. there’s the danger that things will keep getting worse and it’ll get harder and harder to affect the pandemic and its consequences,” he said.

Deutsche Welle reported that while cases within the younger population were falling, they were still rising among older people that were more likely to suffer more serious problems from the virus. Numbers in medical care are said to possess reached alarming levels.

Announcing the new measures over the weekend, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the “lockdown light” begun in November had not done enough to bring the virus in check .

The figures are particularly shocking, as during the first months of the pandemic Germany was more successful than many other European countries in its handling of the crisis.

Germany’s blame game

What’s gone wrong for the country that came so successfully through the primary wave of the pandemic?

Some blame Germany’s regional leaders who, until now, have dithered, bickered and resisted Chancellor Merkel’s involves a tougher nationwide response.

And Prof Iris Pigeot, director of the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology, says that “people don’t follow all the regulations that they are told. We had to scale back our contacts by about 75% but i feel that did not work”.

She’s concerned. “New Year’s Eve and yuletide might be an entire nightmare with increasing numbers, increasing numbers of deaths.”

What’s the situation elsewhere in Europe?

France has replaced its second national lockdown with a curfew from 20:00 to 06:00. People won’t be allowed out of the house without an authorisation form.

Christmas Eve are going to be exempt, but the rule will stay in situ for brand spanking new Year’s Eve. Bars and restaurants are to stay closed until a minimum of 20 January.

The number of individuals in France who have died from coronavirus infections rose by 790 on Tuesday to a complete of 59,072.

People in France are not any longer required to print or download a politician justification for leaving their homes during the day.

The Netherlands is currently under a five-week lockdown, the strictest set of measures announced within the country since the pandemic began.

Non-essential shops, cinemas, hairdressers and gymnasiums closed on Tuesday, and schools have now followed suit. People have also been told to refrain from booking non-essential travel abroad until mid-March.

But restrictions are going to be eased slightly for 3 days over Christmas, when Dutch households are allowed three guests rather than two.

In the UK, London entered England’s highest tier of lockdown rules on Wednesday. Pubs and restaurants must close, apart from takeaway and delivery, and indoor entertainment venues like theatres, bowling alleys and cinemas must remain shut.

Meanwhile, Italy’s daily price remains on the brink of 500 and therefore the government is considering an extra tightening of measures over Christmas.

The exact details are unclear, but a replacement lockdown could inherit place between Christmas night and New Year . Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the potential lockdown as a “new squeeze”.

Lithuania has gone into lockdown, with a ban on non-essential movement between towns. Contact between separate households is additionally banned.

Austria is to line out its plans for Christmas, including an extension of the principles on mask-wearing indoors and limits on meetings between households.

And Denmark is extending its “partial lockdown” across the entire country. From Wednesday venues including restaurants and sports centres are going to be closed areas so far unaffected by the restrictions.

Non-essential shops, cinemas, hairdressers and gymnasiums closed on Tuesday, and schools have now followed suit. People have also been told to refrain from booking non-essential travel abroad until mid-March.

But restrictions are going to be eased slightly for 3 days over Christmas, when Dutch households are allowed three guests rather than two.

In the UK, London entered England’s highest tier of lockdown rules on Wednesday. Pubs and restaurants must close, apart from takeaway and delivery, and indoor entertainment venues like theatres, bowling alleys and cinemas must remain shut.

And Denmark is extending its “partial lockdown” across the entire country. From Wednesday venues including restaurants and sports centres are going to be closed areas so far unaffected by the restrictions.

The news came after the German government said it had been pressuring the ecu Medicines Agency (EMA) to hurry up approval of the vaccine. it’s already been approved by regulators within the UK and therefore the US.

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