Several countries have announced drastic new measures to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Here’s a look at what’s going on on the continent right now.
Infections are on the rise again in the region of northern Italy where the pandemic first took hold in Europe.
As of Wednesday, a record 7,332 cases were reported nationwide – more than the 6,557 seen on the worst day in March.
Cases in Italy per 100,000 population have doubled in the past two weeks to almost 87, but death figures are lower, hovering around 40 from the worst day in March, when there were 969.
The government wants to avoid another lockdown but has refused to rule out the closure of cities or provinces.
Instead, bars and restaurants are under a midnight curfew and occasional sports are prohibited, as are celebrations in public places. Since last week, masks are mandatory indoors and outdoors.
More than 5,000 new cases daily have been reported in Germany for the first time since mid-April and Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that “it will not end well” if action is not taken.
“We need to call on young people in particular to skip a few holidays now to have a good life tomorrow or the day after,” she said.
In places where the infection rate is over 35 per 100,000 inhabitants, masks will be mandatory in crowded public places. They have been compulsory in public transport and in shops since April. Bars and restaurants will also close early.
In areas with more than 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, parties will be limited to 10 people and bars and restaurants will close at 11 p.m. People will also be encouraged to avoid non-essential travel to and from places on this list.
Bavaria’s head of state Markus Soeder warned: “We are much closer to a second lockout than we would like to believe. It may not be five at midnight, but rather the stroke of midnight. “
The country reported 22,591 new daily cases on Wednesday – the third time in six days that the daily total has exceeded 20,000.
COVID-19 patients also occupy a third of the country’s intensive care beds.
A state of emergency has been declared, and President Emmanuel Macron announced a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for the most affected areas.
Ile-de-France and eight metropolitan regions – including Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Saint-Étienne and Toulouse – will be under curfew for four weeks, starting Saturday.
This means that people cannot go to restaurants or visit friends, but there will be no restrictions on public transport or traveling between regions.
Spain became the first country in the European Union to pass 900,000 cases on Wednesday.
Hospitalizations are also on the rise, but the number of severe cases remains well below that of the first wave.
Authorities in Catalonia have ordered bars and restaurants to be closed for 15 days and limited the number of people allowed in stores.
There will be a ban on all home visits from Thursday evening, unless it is for child care or compassion reasons.
The border counties of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan have been moved to the second highest level of restrictions.
This means shutting down gyms, swimming pools, recreation centers and non-essential stores. It also means encouraging people to work from home.
The rules will be in effect until November 10.
Schools were closed to fight an infection rate of 521 per 100,000 population for 14 days – the highest rate in Europe.
The country’s education minister, Robert Plaga, said: “We have to do it and do it quickly.”
The health ministry said the number of infected teachers and education staff rose to more than 4,500 since September – a higher number than among health workers.
Intensive care beds could be full by mid-November if the virus continues to grow at the current rate in Belgium.
The country recorded an infection rate of 429 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days – the second worst in Europe.
Curfews were introduced last week and bars in Brussels have been closed for at least a month.
Russia has reported more than 10,000 new cases for 11 consecutive days – and the 14,231 reported on Wednesday is its highest number since the start of the pandemic.
There were restrictions in the spring, but most of them were lifted during the summer, and officials are trying to avoid a second lockdown.
In Moscow, the elderly have been asked to self-isolate and school holidays have been extended by a week, with some students switching to online classes.