European countries push to combat coronavirus second wave without lockdowns

Germany on Thursday became the latest European country to announce new restrictions this week amid record coronavirus case numbers. But governments are seeking to avoid a second round of nationwide lockdowns.

Why it matters: Widespread lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus have devastated economies around the world.

The big picture: German Chancellor said Thursday new measures would include a curfew for restaurants and bars in coronavirus hot spots and a limit on gatherings, after the country reported a record 6,638 new infections, per DW.

  • “I am convinced that what we do now will be decisive for how we come through this pandemic,” she aid. “We are already in a phase of exponential growth, the daily numbers show that.”
  • Merkel said as cases began rising again last month “we all want to avoid a second national shutdown and we can do that,” per Reuters.

In France, President announced in a televised address Wednesday a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. would be imposed on Paris and its surrounding regions, and in the cities of Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Toulouse, Montpellier, Grenoble, Rouen and Saint-Étienne.

  • “We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus,” Macron said, confirming that the curfew that starts Saturday would remain in place for at least four weeks.
  • “We are going to have to deal with this virus until at least the summer of 2021.”

In the United Kingdom, the government introduced a three-tier alert system for towns and cities this week — with Liverpool the first to face the toughest restrictions whereby measures include the closure of bars that don’t serve food.

Russia registered a record 14,231 new cases Wednesday, but officials were focusing on touting a coronavirus vaccine developed by the country, the New York Times reports.

Italy on Wednesday surpassed its record number of cases with 7,332 new infections.

  • Health officials announced Tuesday new measures including mandatory seating in restaurants and bars after 9 p.m., a mandatory midnight closing time for venues and a ban on outdoor and indoor private parties, Forbes notes.

In Spain, Authorities in Catalonia ordered restaurants and bars that don’t offer takeaways to shut for 15 days from Thursday, per AFP.

  • Madrid officials on Tuesday expanded restrictions that have seen nightclubs clubs close and regional authorities in Navarre, Catalonia and Andalusia announced new measures including restaurants and bars operating at reduced capacity, El País reports.

The Netherlands government imposed a “partial lockdown” that began at 10 p.m. Wednesday local time, forcing cafes, bars and restaurants to shut for four weeks, according to DutchNews.nl.

Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced Wednesday gatherings would be limited to five people and declared a “state of calamity,” as the country confirmed more than 2,000 cases in a single day for the first time, Anadolou Agency notes.

The Czech government on Wednesday announced household guests must be limited to three people, alcohol could not be sold after 8 p.m. and there would be a “wider mandatory use of face masks,” AFP reports.

  • On Thursday, the country’s health ministry confirmed a record 9,544 new cases, per the Guardian.

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