World Paris city hall suggests 3-week lockdown to combat virus
Victoria's snap lockdown is over but it comes at a political cost for Daniel Andrews
Victoria's snap coronavirus lockdown could present a new challenge for Daniel Andrews if he has to take tough action in the future, with the Premier's social and political capital taking a hit over the past week, writes Richard Willingham.There has been untold economic damage and fresh concerns for the mental health of Victorians already doing it tough.
The Paris city hall suggested a three week lockdown to quell rising coronavirus cases in the French capital but faced swift accusations Friday that such a move was a political stunt with little effect.
France has so far avoided a third lockdown to battle Covid-19 but, with case numbers starting to rise, the government of President Emmanuel Macron is beginning to impose restrictions on a local basis.
Mayors do not have the power to impose lockdowns which must be approved by the government but Paris deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said a three week measure would give "hope of everything reopening again" including cafes and cultural establishments.
England's legal limits on social contact set to end in June - hugs may be allowed from May
The prime minister has said England is going to start "reclaiming our freedoms" - with all legal limits on people's social contact set to end by 21 June. Unveiling his long-awaited roadmap for easing the country's third COVID-19 lockdown, Boris Johnson said he hoped the nation was on a "one-way road to freedom" after a "wretched year", declaring: "The end really is in sight."After schools reopen on 8 March, with some outdoor restrictions lifted by 29 March, Mr Johnson said the next step would be to reopen beer gardens and hairdressers in England from 12 April at the earliest.
"You can't force yourself to live in a semi-prison for months. Now you have to make courageous decisions," he told France Info radio late on Thursday, adding the city hall would propose the measure to the government.
However right-wing critics slammed the call, saying that the move by the city hall under Socialist Anne Hidalgo was electioneering ahead of a possible presidential bid by the mayor next year.
"Anne Hidalgo cannot use Parisians, play with their life and future, for the sake of PR stunts aimed above all at opposing Emmanuel Macron," said the right-wing Change Paris group in a statement.
Its leader Rachida Dati, a former minster who stood against Hidalgo in last year's local polls, added on Twitter: "A lockdown endangers the economic and psychological life of thousands of people and must not be about 2022" presidential elections.
Revealed: Whitehall plans for rapid reopening of shops, pubs and restaurants
Internal plans in Whitehall suggest a rapid reopening of the economy in the weeks after pupils return to classrooms on 8 March, Sky News understands. Whitehall officials have drawn up a timetable to help work out internal plans to roll out the government's planned mass COVID testing regime.This suggests a desire to reopen rapidly in the weeks after schools readmit most children next month.The blueprint suggests that students in higher education and further education could be back in mid-April, and non-essential shops will reopen at the same time.
The head of the wider Ile de France region that includes Paris, Valerie Pecresse, also ridiculed the suggestion, telling the Le Parisien daily that "millions of people" travel in and out of the region every day.
The controversy comes after the French Riviera around Nice and the northern coastal city of Dunkirk -- two coronavirus hotspots -- were placed this week under weekend lockdown.
Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday placed 20 other territorial areas known as departments, including Paris and its suburbs, under "reinforced surveillance", meaning they too could soon be placed under partial lockdown.
"The health situation in our country has got worse," he told reporters at a press conference late Thursday, saying that the figure of 31,000 daily infections recorded on Wednesday was the highest since November.
He added that the more rapidly-spreading variant that originated in England now accounted for almost half of infections in France.
Observers say Macron has gambled by resisting pressure for a third lockdown, with schools and non-essential businesses all open in contrast to France's neighbours, even if cafes remain shut.
The cutest royal dogs in history .
Dogs are indeed amazing animals, so it's no surprise that many of us have them as pets. For years, celebrities from around the world have shown their love for pooches, and royals are no different. They too enjoy the company, loyalty, and joy their four-legged friends bring them. In this gallery, we bring you pictures of royals and their dogs, from Victorian times to the current day. Browse through and celebrate the cutest royal dogs!