European countries reimpose lockdown curbs amid spike in coronavirus cases
As Europe has seen a rise in the number of coronavirus infections again, several countries have decided to reimpose lockdown restrictions. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the reason behind the spike could be the lifting of restrictions and complacency among people. It has been observed that the young population is leading the "second wave" of infections across the continent.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the average number of daily new infections in the European Union and the United Kingdom reached a record high of over 71,000 between September 29 and October 4.
In the past week, the UK has witnessed a surge in infections, with daily new cases reaching a record 22,965 on October 4, the Johns Hopkins University's data showed. Notably, in mid-August, the nation was averaging a little over 1,000 new cases daily. At more than 42,000 fatalities, the UK also has the highest death toll in Europe.
New restrictions have been imposed in the UK, including a cap of 15 guests for weddings, mandatory face covers in taxis and private hire vehicles, etc. Bars/pubs/restaurants will close by 10 pm. People in self-isolation are not allowed to leave their homes for 10 days, even to buy essentials. If a suspected/confirmed case fails to quarantine, they may be fined up to £10,000.
In Spain, the capital city of Madrid has witnessed a massive surge in infections, accounting for roughly a third of all new cases detected across the country. Spain remains one of the worst-hit nations in Europe, with 8.25 lakh COVID-19 cases and over 32,000 deaths. The nation reported an all-time high of 31,785 new cases on September 28.
Spain has decided to impose a two-week ban prohibiting all non-essential trips in and out of Madrid and nine of its suburbs. Further, restaurants have been ordered to close earlier at 11 pm and shops at 10 pm. They must also reduce their occupancy to 50% of capacity. Gatherings have been limited to six people and parks/playgrounds have been shut.
France has seen a surge in coronavirus infections since mid-August, with daily new cases touching a record high of 29,300 on September 21. The total number of infections has now reached 6.75 lakh, while over 32,000 deaths have been reported. In the capital city of Paris, the COVID-19 incidence rate exceeded 250 infections per 100,000 people.
Paris and its surrounding suburbs have been put on maximum alert. Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, and the surrounding areas have also been placed on maximum alert. Bars will remain closed for two weeks starting Tuesday. Working from home will be prioritized "now more than ever" and university lecture halls should remain only half full. Gatherings have been limited to 10 people (limit for weddings/parties is 30).