A rising tide of new coronavirus cases worldwide is forcing leaders to consider new lockdown measures to contain an increase in infections.
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in an interview with BBC television Friday a national lockdown in his country is not inevitable to prevent the further spread of the disease, adding that a localized approach would be efficient if rules for each area were strictly observed.
Raab’s statement followed announcements by leaders of France and Germany earlier in the week to impose new lockdowns.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced a nationwide monthlong lockdown that will take effect Friday. Macron said restaurants, bars, cafes and other nonessential businesses will be closed, while citizens will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, shopping and doctor appointments.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a set of similar measures in her own month-long lockdown which takes effect Monday. In addition to restaurants and bars, all gyms, theaters and opera houses will be shut down under Merkel’s order, while the majority of businesses, shops and hair salons will be allowed to remain open.
Schools in both nations will remain open during their respective lockdowns.
The restrictions were announced by Macron and Merkel as both nations struggle with a record number of new COVID-19 cases practically every day.
France and Germany joined several other European nations that have been forced to impose a new set of restrictions to deal with a second and growing wave of the virus as the cold weather season approaches in the Northern Hemisphere.
Ukraine reported Friday a record 8,312 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours, up from the October 23 high of 7,517, with total infections at 378,729. The deaths also jumped by a record 173, for a toll of 7,041.
In Japan, the health ministry said Friday that the coronavirus cases topped 100,000, nine months after the first case was reported in mid-January. Japan has more than 1,700 deaths.
As of early Friday, there are more than 45 million total COVID-19 cases worldwide, including over 1.18 million deaths. India has reached the milestone of over 8 million total novel coronavirus cases, second only to the United States, with 8.94 million total confirmed cases.
As the effort to develop a safe and effective vaccine continues, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration said it would ensure that everyone in the United States will be able to be inoculated free of charge.