SECOND wave of Covid crushes Europe – as France imposes curfews, Spain closes bars, and Portugal declares ‘state of calamity’.
Many countries in Europe have announced tough new measures to try to limit the impact of the new peak.
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The new restrictions in Europe come as Britain also faces new coronavirus rules, with a three-tier system introduced at the start of winter.
Social life has closed in all of Europe, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany and many other countries limiting interactions.
Scientists have issued a warning as the cold approaches, with the flu spreading and people spending more time indoors, allowing the virus to spread more easily.
France recorded 22,591 new cases of Covid on Wednesday – the third time in just six days, there were more than 20,000.
The country’s five largest cities are on “high alert”, with bars and gyms closed.
A third of intensive care beds in France are occupied by Covid-19 patients, and President Emmanuel Macron has declared a state of emergency.
A curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. has been established for the most affected areas of the country, including Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Saint-Étienne and Toulouse.
These areas will be under curfew for four weeks from Saturday.
People living in curfewed areas are not allowed to eat out or visit friends.
Spain became the first European country to have more than 900,000 cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday.
Spain now has 908,056 cases of Covid – the seventh in the world.
Hospitalizations in the country increased during the second wave.
In Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia, bars and restaurants have been forced to close for 15 days, and the number of people in shops is limited.
The Portuguese government imposed a ‘state of calamity’ yesterday as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise.
Gatherings have been limited to five people, while the government hopes to make masks mandatory in all public places.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa said: “The success of our fight against this pandemic depends on the personal behavior of each of us”.
Portugal yesterday recorded its highest number of new daily cases with 2,072.
Health Minister Marta Temido said the Covid cases in Portugal were “in a growing situation which will tend to worsen in the coming days”.
The government is also hoping to introduce a tracking app, while fines for businesses breaking the streets with coronavirus have been increased to € 10,000 (£ 9,045).
Infections are increasing in northern Italy, the region where the pandemic first hit Europe.
A record 7,332 cases were reported across Italy yesterday – more than the worst day in March, when the pandemic began.
Cases in Italy per 100,000 population have doubled in the past two weeks to 87.
Bars and restaurants have a midnight curfew, while occasional sports and celebrations in public places are prohibited.
Masks are mandatory inside and outside.
The Italian government has refused to rule out the closure of towns, but also wants to avoid another severe lockdown.
Russia has reported more than 10,000 new cases in each of the past 11 days.
As of Wednesday, 14,231 cases were reported – the highest since the start of the pandemic.
Older people in Moscow have been told to self-isolate, while school holidays have been extended by a week.
Some students have been moved to online courses in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.
Germany yesterday recorded a new record number of Covid-19 cases with 6,638.
Politicians are debating whether to extend school holidays over Christmas and New Years to stop the spread of the virus among children.
Chancellor Angela Merkel would also like to strengthen measures against coronaviruses, in particular by requiring the wearing of masks in more public places.
The proposals that will be discussed in Germany include new restrictions introduced once a region has 35 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in one week.
Merkel urged the Germans to keep the Covid cases manageable.
According to a draft policy document, citizens are asked to consider the extent to which private parties are “necessary and justifiable”.
The document also warns that tighter restrictions could be introduced if infections continue to rise.
Infection rates are now 521 per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks, the highest rate in Europe.
Schools in the Czech Republic have been closed.
The Minister of Education, Robert Plaga, declared: “We must [close schools] and do it quickly. ”
The country’s health ministry said more teachers and other education personnel had Covid than health workers, with 4,500 school workers infected.
Hospitals have cut back on elective surgeries and medical procedures to free up hospital beds.
Bars, restaurants and clubs have closed across the country.
Manufacturers have also rushed to transform general hospital services into Covid-19 departments.
There are fears that intensive care beds in Belgium will be full in just one month if Covid cases continue to rise at the same rate.
Hospitals have had to reserve a quarter of their beds for Covid patients.
Belgium has an infection rate of 429 cases per 100,000 people, the second worst in Europe.
Curfews were introduced in the country last week, and bars in the capital Brussels have been closed for at least a month and indoor sporting activities have been restricted.
Yesterday, 1,621 Covid patients were hospitalized in Belgium, including 281 in intensive care.
Crisis center spokesman Yves Van Laetham said: “We will reach our maximum capacity of 2,000 beds by mid-November in ICUs if this type of increase continues.
“We absolutely must avoid this scenario. “
A ban on all home visits will be introduced in Ireland tonight, excluding compassionate grounds.
Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan have been moved to the second highest level of restrictions.
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In these counties, gymnasiums, swimming pools, recreation centers and non-essential stores are closed.
The rules are expected to be in place until November 10.
People are also encouraged to work from home.