Britain’s economy shrank by less than feared in January when the country went back into a coronavirus lockdown, but trade with the European Union was hammered as new post-Brexit rules kicked in.
Dozens of show business workers are occupying theatres in at least nine cities in France to demand President Emmanuel Macron’s government reopen cultural venues and end a months-long halt to performances because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in France rose above 4 million on Friday, as the health ministry reported 25,229 new infections. Another 223 deaths were reported on Friday.
Greece will further extend COVID-19 restrictions in Athens and other areas to rein in fast-spreading infections and ease pressure on its stretched health system, Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said on Friday.
Switzerland proposed on Friday further steps to relax coronavirus restrictions, although the government said the situation remained “fragile” with the country facing a potential third wave of COVID-19.
Italy will be placed under a nationwide lockdown over the Easter weekend for the second year running, a draft decree law seen by Reuters said on Friday, underlining the struggle to stem a fresh surge in coronavirus cases.
Non-essential shops will be shuttered nationwide from April 3-5. On those days, Italians will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, health or emergency reasons. However, a number of regions including wealthy Lombardy, which is centred on Italy’s financial capital Milan, look certain to be placed under full lockdown from Monday because of the recent jump in infections and hospitalisations.
Italy reported 380 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday against 373 the day before.