Anti-restriction protests in London and Madrid: COVID-19 daily bulletin
Updated 22:16, 20-Sep-2020
Aden-Jay Wood


· The UK government will fine people who refuse an order to self-isolate up to $13,000 as the country suffers a sharp surge in coronavirus infections.

· Dozens were arrested in the UK's capital, London as police clashed with protestors who are against lockdown measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

· Protestors in Madrid chanted "for everyone or no one" as 860,000 people were confined to their neighborhoods by new regional restrictions.

· France is planning on putting a new environmental tax on the airline sector on hold as it continues to struggle amid the pandemic, officials confirmed. 

· Munich's "Mini Oktoberfest" kicked off with 50 inn-keepers tapping the first kegs. The main festival, which usually attracts six million visitors, was canceled.

· Russia reported 6,148 new cases in the past 24 hours, the second consecutive day in which new infections have exceeded 6,000. The nationwide tally is now more than 1.1 million.

· Hungary's economy will struggle to grow next year unless a COVID-19 vaccine is found, according to the country's finance minister Mihaly Varga. 

· Germany could relax its insolvency rules if companies can show creditors it has a realistic chance of restructuring under new relief measures set out by the government. 

· Britain will have to re-introduce stricter COVID-19 restrictions "sooner rather than later" to slow the spread of the virus, according to former government adviser Neil Ferguson, a professor of epidemiology at London's Imperial College.

· Five thousand spectators are expected to gather on Paris's Champs Elysees on Sunday to watch the final stage of the Tour de France cycling race.

· Football fans returned to stadiums across Germany for the first time in more than four months. Restrictions included no away fans, no alcohol for sale and no standing allowed during the game. 


Dozens of people were arrested in London, UK on Saturday after anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police. /Reuters

Dozens of people were arrested in London, UK on Saturday after anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police. /Reuters

I think some additional measures are likely to be needed sooner rather than later
 -  Neil Ferguson, professor of epidemiology at London's Imperial College


Ross Cullen in Paris

France has recorded a new daily record high number of infections, with more than 13,000 people testing positive for the coronavirus on Saturday. 

Epidemiologists attribute the ongoing surge in numbers – much higher than the figures France was seeing earlier in the year, when the virus was at its peak – to a huge increase in testing levels and a faster circulation of the virus, largely among the young. 

Tighter measures are expected to be announced on Monday in Nice and Lyon and officials in the two cities have to present a plan to the government on Sunday for how to control the spread of the coronavirus.


Natalie Carney in Munich

Like everywhere in Europe, Germany is experiencing a rise in infections –recording an increase of nearly 1,345 new cases in the past 24 hours. From Friday to Saturday the country registered 2,300 new infections, the highest number since the end of April.

Germany's health minister Jens Spahn continues to urge the population to follow hygiene regulations. "At the moment, our health system is coping well with the situation, but the dynamic in Europe is worrying," he said. 

Several cities across the country are imposing their own restrictions and precautionary measures after crossing the critical infection rate of more than 50 cases per 100,000 citizens. 

The city of Munich in the southern state of Bavaria will decide on Monday if it will implement stage-three measures, such as a return to home office and school. On Saturday, restaurants and beer gardens across the city opened their own two-week localized version of Oktoberfest, which was canceled earlier this year due to COVID-19. 

These festivities are expected to bring numbers up even further over the coming days.



Iolo ap Dafydd in London

Heavier fines will be introduced on Monday to people in the UK who refuse to self-isolate says the government. 

Penalties could be as high as $13,000 for repeat offenders, if those who have tested positive ignore new legal restrictions to remain at home. 

Just 20 percent of those reporting COVID-19 symptoms in England fully self-isolate for the required two weeks, according to research last month by the government's scientific advisers committee, known as SAGE. 

To counter the disregard of rules, Boris Johnson's government is considering fines of $1,300 for breaches of lockdown measures, rising to 10 times that amount for those who keep on abusing the rules. 

Self-isolation advice could soon be a government order as fears of a second wave of the pandemic is growing in the UK.   

At the same time, a $646 sum is being offered to those who need to isolate but could lose money as a result of not working, and cannot work from home.  


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