Several European countries announced new restrictions on Friday to curb infections of the new coronavirus. This time the restrictions are in certain cities and not nationally, for the time being. However, the UK is considering further national containment.
Cases in the UK nearly doubled to 6,000 per day last week (4,322 were on Friday), hospital admissions have increased and infection rates have skyrocketed in parts of northern England and London.
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Asked by Sky News about the possibility of a second nationwide lockdown next month, UK Health Minister Matt Hancock said this should only be seen as a last resort, but the UK government will do whatever is necessary to fight the virus.
The UK has imposed new restrictions in the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire from Tuesday. Local lockdowns will affect around 10 million people in cities like Glasgow (Scotland), Manchester, Leicester and Birmingham (England).
In addition to these local blocks, gatherings with more than six people are prohibited (except for rare exceptions, such as weddings or work) and social places, such as bars or restaurants, are required to request tests. and screening information to clients and to retain that information. for 21 days. Violations of the rules could result in fines of between £ 100 and £ 3,200 (approx. € 109 and € 3,497).
However, it is not just the UK that has seen a sharp increase in cases. In fact, countries like Spain and France are much worse (including, on Thursday, France had the maximum number of cases recorded in 24 hours since the start of the pandemic).
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In Spain, which has recorded more cases than any other European country, the Madrid region will limit movement between and within areas severely affected by a new outbreak of infections, affecting more than 850,000 people.
Regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso said on Friday that access to parks and public spaces would be restricted and meetings would be limited to six, but people would not be barred from working in the hardest-hit region of the country.
“We have to avoid closure, we have to avoid economic disaster,” Ayuso said at a press conference.
In France, officials in the city of Nice, in the south of the country, have banned crowds of more than 10 people in public spaces and limited the opening hours of bars, following new restrictions introduced earlier this week. week in Marseille and Bordeaux.
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In northern Europe, Denmark, where the 454 new infections on Friday were close to the record high of 473 in April, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the limit for public meetings would be reduced from 100 to 50 people and ordered that bars and restaurants closed earlier.
Iceland has ordered the capital region entertainment venues and bars to close for four days between September 18 and 21.
In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his government was preparing “regional” measures to tackle the pandemic after the country recorded a record 1,972 cases in the past 24 hours.
The measures will be detailed later this Friday and are expected to include tighter restrictions on public meetings and shorter closing times for bars and restaurants. Hot spots include the main cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.
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In southern Europe, Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said the government is ready to tighten restrictions in the greater Athens area as cases escalate.
Mitsotakis said Greece’s committee of health experts recommended additional restrictions on public meetings, the suspension of cultural events for 14 days and other measures that “could be decided today. [sexta-feira] and will come into force on Monday ”.
Europe is trying to avoid following in the footsteps of Israel, which has entered a second national lockdown.