Lockdowns, curfews and tough restrictions are being imposed across Europe as it struggles to cope with the second wave of the coronavirus.
Europe has become the region with the highest number of registered cases of the new coronavirus, according to a tally by AFP on Thursday based on health authority data.
The continent’s 52 countries have a combined total of 11.6 million cases including more than 293,000 deaths, ahead of Latin America and the Caribbean which has reported 11.4 million cases with 407,000 deaths.
Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic in recent weeks after experiencing a lull during the northern hemisphere summer.
Since the beginning of October, the region has had the highest number of new infections daily in the world.
Last week, 277,000 new cases a day were recorded, more than half of the total number of cases worldwide of 517,000 daily.
And the pandemic continues to accelerate across the continent, with the number of cases detected last week 20 percent higher than the previous week.
In terms of fatalities, the pace is even faster, with almost 50 percent more new deaths — 21,500 last week, compared with 14,403 the week before.
The countries in the region with the most new cases in the last seven days are: France (44,000 cases daily on average, up 11 percent over the previous week), Italy (28,600, up 43 percent), the United Kingdom (22,400, up two percent), Spain (21,100, up 13 percent) and Poland (20,000, up 46 percent).
Here are the latest measures being taken:
– Lockdowns —
BRITAIN: England’s second lockdown starts Thursday for a month following neighbouring Wales and Northern Ireland. Schools and universities stay open with cafes and restaurants allowed to offer takeaways.
FRANCE: Schools also remain open after the country went back into lockdown on October 30, having earlier imposed curfews on some major cities.
GREECE: Three-week lockdown starts Saturday, with Greeks needing an authorisation by text message to leave their homes. Primary schools and creches stay open.
IRELAND: The first country in Europe to go back into lockdown on October 22. Schools remain open.
WALES: Two-week lockdown began the day after Ireland. Some secondary schools closed.
– Voluntary lockdowns –
GERMANY: Bars, restaurants and leisure facilities closed since Monday, with people urged to stay at home.
PORTUGAL: More than two-thirds of the population urged not to leave home except to go to work, school and do food shopping.
NORWAY: Premier Erna Solberg appealed Thursday for people to “stay home as much as possible” and avoid social contact even though the country has one of the lowest rates of the virus in Europe.
SWITZERLAND: Non-essential shops closed in Geneva and its region, with people urged only to leave home when strictly necessary.
– Curfews –
ITALY: Local nighttime curfews go national Friday, from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am.
SPAIN: Under a similar curfew since October 26.
BELGIUM: Despite being called a lockdown, people are free to move around during the day. All non-essential shops closed, with homeworking now the norm. A curfew ending at 5:00 am has been in force since October 19.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Shops must close at 8:00 pm and on Sundays with curfew from 9:00 pm.
AUSTRIA: Curfew since Tuesday, with museums, cinemas, theatres and swimming pools shut. Birthday parties and Christmas markets banned.
SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, CYPRUS, LUXEMBOURG: All under curfew.
KOSOVO: Curfew only for over 65s.
– Other curbs –
POLAND: Cinemas and most shopping centres closed.
THE NETHERLANDS: Cinemas, museums and other public spaces shut.
SWEDEN: People in some areas advised to limit social contact and avoid sharing closed spaces.