Governments across Europe are weighing stricter Covid-19 lockdown measures, with police in London warning that rule-breakers are now more likely to be fined to deter people from gathering in parks or other public spaces.
London’s Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick said officers already have had to break up parties despite a surge in new infections. The policing minister, Kit Malthouse, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that more fines, which in England begin at 200 pounds, equivalent to $270.26, might be applied, while other U.K. government ministers refused to rule out tighter lockdown restrictions.
The latest figures from the U.K., the current epicenter of the pandemic in Europe, showed there were more than 46,000 new infections reported Monday, with 529 deaths.
In Germany, anticipation is growing that Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders may agree to extend a lockdown which was imposed over the Christmas and New Year period. It has already been extended until the end of January to buy time for the country’s vaccination program, over concerns that the more-easily transmissible variant of the virus first detected in Britain may lead to a spike in cases in Germany too. The latest figures from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases Tuesday reported nearly 13,000 new infections and 891 additional deaths.
Portugal, whose 72-year old leader, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has tested positive for the coronavirus, will begin a lockdown on Wednesday to curb new infections. Mr. Rebelo de Sousa, who is seeking re-election in a vote on Jan. 24, is isolating his official residence in Lisbon and isn’t showing any symptoms, his office said.
Israel, meanwhile, is planning to begin inoculating children above the age of 12 by mid-March as it continues its rapid vaccination program. By that date, the country aims to have given either one or two shots to more than half of its nine million people.