Although many countries around the world have been trending towards reopening amid COVID-19, several European countries are actually taking steps backward into another lockdown. As fall and winter approach, Europe has seen a worrying increase in cases that are prompting partial lockdowns and more social distancing measures.
The Czech Republic, for example, has one of the region’s highest new infection rates and has already introduced a partial lockdown for three weeks where schools, bars, and clubs will be closed. The Netherlands also recently announced a partial lockdown, with masks becoming mandatory again in public indoor spaces. In Italy, a new decree is banning school trips, amateur contact sports, and parties over six people.
Italy’s new restrictions went into effect this week and will last through November 24, with bars and restaurants now required to close by 6:00 PM. Gyms, movie theaters, and public pools will be closing completely. Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte told reporters in a news conference on Sunday, “We think we will suffer a bit this month but by gritting our teeth with these restrictions, we’ll be able to breathe again in December.”
Spain also announced new restrictions for a period of 15 days, though that could be extended for up to six months if needed. A state of emergency has been imposed, along with a national nightly curfew from 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM. Gatherings of more than six people are also banned.
Hospitalizations are also on the rise in France. Last week, President Emmanuel Macron announced curfews and restaurant and gym closures in Paris, Aix-Marseille, Grenoble, Montpellier, Toulouse, Saint-Étienne, Lille, Rouen, and Lyon between 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM.
The UK announced new restrictions last month. Each country has different regulations set by the devolved governments but they are all taking a similar approach setting local COVID alert levels and tiered lockdown rules to match the number of infections in the different regions.
Even Germany, which has so far faired well in the pandemic, is seeing a concerning rise in numbers and has enacted two-week lockdowns in the districts of Rottal-Inn and Berchtesgaden. Residents in these areas are banned from leaving their homes without an approved reason.
A version of this article was previously published on October 15, 2020, and was updated on October 27, 2020, with more information.