While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 29

Macron orders France back into Covid-19 lockdown

France will go back into a nationwide lockdown starting this week to try to contain the Covid-19 epidemic that is again threatening to spiral out of control, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an address to the nation on Wednesday.

The new measures he announced – which come into force on Friday – will mean people have to stay in their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical attention, or use their daily one-hour allocation of exercise.

People will still be allowed to go to work if their employer deems it impossible for them to do the job from home, and – in a departure from the previous lockdown in March – most schools will remain open, Macron said in his address.

“The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated,” Macron said. “Like all our neighbours, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus.”

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Germany to go into circuit-break lockdown as coronavirus cases surge

Germany will impose an emergency month-long lockdown that includes the closure of restaurants, gyms and theatres to reverse a spike in coronavirus cases that risks overwhelming hospitals, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

“We need to take action now,” she said, adding that the recent steep rise in infections had generated sufficient political and public support for new tough measures to reduce social contacts and suppress outbreaks.

Effective Nov 2, private gatherings will be limited to 10 people from a maximum of two households. Restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, pools and gyms will be shut and concerts cancelled.

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Biden says halting virus will take hard work, as Trump stumps non-stop

Democrat Joe Biden insisted Wednesday he will tackle coronavirus from Day 1 if he is elected president but warned there is no magic “switch” that ends the pandemic, as Donald Trump campaigned across America seemingly unfazed by Covid-19’s dangers.

Six days before a momentous US election, Biden cast his presidential ballot in his home state of Delaware and met with health experts as he fine-tuned his pandemic response plan, seeking to reassure voters that he would use science to fight the contagion.

“Even if I win it’s going to take a lot of hard work to end this pandemic,” the former vice president said in Wilmington. “I’m not running on a false promise of being able to end this pandemic by flipping a switch,” he added.

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Former US Homeland Security official reveals he wrote anonymous op-ed on Trump

A former US Department of Homeland Security official on Wednesday revealed he was the author of an anonymous 2018 New York Times op-ed and later book that excoriated President Donald Trump, stepping forward to urge Americans to vote against Trump.

Miles Taylor, chief of staff in the department until 2019, set tongues wagging in Washington with the editorial that called Trump amoral, petty and ineffective.

He disclosed his identity on Wednesday in a statement on Medium, an online publishing platform, ahead of next week’s presidential election.

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2021 Boston Marathon pushed back from traditional April date

Next year’s Boston Marathon will not be held in April as it usually is and will be moved to the autumn due to the Covid-19 pandemic, organisers said on Wednesday.

The race had been held annually since 1897 until it was cancelled this year for the first time, having first been postponed to September from the third Monday in April, or Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, when it usually takes place.

The race is regarded as the world’s most prestigious marathon and generally draws over 30,000 runners from all over the world.

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