As Germany enters a new phase in its efforts to combat the increase in coronavirus infections, Berlin has announced that it will impose harsher new restrictions on public and economic life.

Germany’s Fight

The German federal and state governments agreed on new “significant restrictions” aimed at reducing contact among citizens due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

Measures involving restrictions on the number of people in private meetings and bans on bars and restaurants in regions considered hot points were adopted after an eight-hour meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state prime ministers.

“We believe that what we are doing now will determine how we will survive this epidemic,” Merkel said.

Merkel urged the country’s young citizens to avoid parties for the time being so that they can enjoy life later. “We especially urge the young people to do without a party for now, in order to have a good life tomorrow or the next day,” she said.

RBA Policy

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) said on Thursday that monetary easing will become more effective as economic coronavirus restrictions decrease.

The statement from RBA President Philip Lowe indicates that another rate cut is likely.

Lowe said the board is examining the benefits that can come from purchasing longer-term government bonds as part of a monetary stimulus package to boost employment and growth.

These statements come ahead of the RBA’s board meeting to be held on November 3. Economists expect the interest rate to be lowered by 15 basis points to a record level of 0.1% from this meeting, and the current bond-buying program to be expanded to include longer terms.

These expectations dropped the Australian dollar to 0.7129 USD on Thursday, its lowest level in a week.

“When the pandemic was at its worst and there were severe restrictions on activity, we decided that there was little to gain from further monetary expansion,” Lowe said in a speech in Sydney.

Referring to fiscal policy, Lowe said that “the solution to the problems facing the country lies elsewhere” and that the government has provided a “welcome boost” to the economy.

US-China Tensions

China accused the US of destabilizing Tibet on Thursday after the Trump administration appointed a senior human rights officer as a special coordinator for Tibetan issues.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that Robert Destro has been appointed as Special Representative for Tibet.

China has flatly refused to contact the US coordinator, seeing this as an interference in its internal affairs.

“Tibetan issues are internal affairs that China will not allow foreign intervention,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry.

“The establishment of the so-called coordinator for Tibetan affairs is a purely political manipulation to intervene in China’s internal affairs and destabilize Tibet. China is absolutely against this,” he said.

“As long as Tibetans work hard, listen to the party (Chinese Communist Party) and follow the party, they will have a happy future,” China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region director Che Dhala told reporters.

Hong Kong Sanctions

The United States announced new sanctions against 10 senior officials, including Carrie Lam, the head of the Hong Kong autonomous administration appointed by Beijing, in response to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong late Wednesday night.

On the same day, the US Department of State asked the White House to sanction the Chinese Ant Group.

Shortly after, according to a statement from the US Navy, the American destroyer ship Barry crossed the Taiwan Strait earlier in the day.

“The passage of Barry through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said.


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