More than a quarter of a billion Europeans are currently in or facing new lockdowns after a second wave of COVID-19 flooded the continent.
The UK nations of Wales and North Island are already under coronavirus lockdown, and Scotland has warned that it may be forced to increase restrictions after moving to England.
Britain is joining a host of other nations, including France, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Ireland, Austria and the Czech Republic, to issue new bans.
It has been dubbed “bleak midwinter” as more than 250 million Europeans are said to be staying at home for the whole of November.
Other countries like Italy, Portugal and Spain have imposed restrictions at the regional level and warned that they may also go into full lockdown mode.
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Great Britain and Ireland
On Saturday, the UK Prime Minister said a four-week lockdown from November 5th would be crucial to averting a “medical and moral disaster” for the country’s health service, the NHS.
He said the deaths could hit “several thousand a day” and above that of the April lockdown.
Mr Johnson had previously vowed not to put England in a second lockdown as he relied on regional restrictions to combat outbreaks. However, rising numbers – 22,000 new cases on Saturday alone – have led the UK into the club with a million coronavirus infections.
As with the initial lockdown, people are encouraged to work from home. Pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will be closed. and people are prevented from mingling with others outside of a “support bubble”.
However, the lockdown is loosening as schools and universities remain open.
“Christmas will be different this year, maybe very different, but I sincerely hope and believe that if we take tough action now, we can enable families across the country to be together,” said Johnson.
However, UK senior minister Michael Gove has warned that the lockdown could go beyond the December 2 end date unless infection rates drop significantly.
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Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, who heads the UK’s business lobby, said the second lockdown should be used to strengthen the UK’s handling of the pandemic and prevent a third.
“For many companies, a second lockdown marks the beginning of a bleak winter,” she said.
A two-week lockdown in Wales is due to end once restrictions in neighboring England begin.
There was anger in the principality, a slightly larger population than Western Australia, when supermarkets were allowed to stay open but could only sell essential items so as not to affect sales of other stores that had to close.
This meant that products like comforters, frying pans and underwear were on the shelves but couldn’t be bought, leading customers to demand that they assess what was essential and what was not.
At the end of October, Ireland was the first European country to reintroduce the lockdown measures.
“I understand and feel very personally and deeply the feeling of disappointment, loneliness, maybe even despair that this announcement will bring for many,” said Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin.
“The days are getting shorter and colder, but I ask you to remember: Even when winter comes, there is hope. And there is light. ”
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BELGIUM, FRANCE AND GERMANY
Statistically, Belgium was the European nation hardest hit by COVID-19, with more than 100 deaths per 100,000 population.
From Monday, a strict lockdown will be accompanied by a curfew of up to six weeks.
Belgium was challenged by its small geographic size but highly dispersed regional governments, which resulted in virus restrictions being different from city to city in some cases.
In France, an accumulated traffic jam of 700 km clogged the streets of greater Paris as residents poured out of the city to spend a second lockdown in the country where many have second homes.
Anyone leaving their home must fill out a certification form stating the reason why.
President Emmanuel Macron said the country was “overwhelmed” with 36,000 new cases of coronavirus in a single day last week. Half of the intensive care beds in France are now filled with COVID-19 patients, UK Sky News reports.
The borders are closed to non-EU countries and the residents have to stay in their region.
In contrast, Germany is often cited as a shining example of how to deal with the pandemic. But even now there is an increase in cases, albeit at a lower level than in France.
The lockdown begins on November 2nd. It will be an easier lockdown than the UK or other countries as shops and schools are allowed to stay open and indoor gatherings are still allowed.
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CZECH REPUBLIC, GREECE, ITALY AND SPAIN
The Czech Republic and Greece, two countries that successfully avoided a COVID disaster earlier this year, are also imposing new restrictions.
There are more and more cases in Greece, but he is still doing better than many of his neighbors. Bars, cafes, cinemas and fitness studios must be closed for one month.
Italy and Spain have not yet imposed national bans, but tensions are high nonetheless.
Italy’s government intends to lock down the country’s main cities, including Milan, Rome and Naples, in an attempt to slow the alarming surge in infections, local media reported.
“We meet with experts and consider whether we should intervene again,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told the newspaper The paper.
Even before these restrictions are discussed, protests against current measures have broken out in some parts of Italy.
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An unauthorized protest in Florence late Friday turned violent. According to AFP, clashes broke out between riot geared police officers and protesters, some of whom hurled Molotov cocktails, bottles and stones, overturned trash cans and broke surveillance cameras.
The protests came as Italy reported over 31,000 new virus cases on Friday, breaking a daily record.
Spain continues to rely on local restrictions rather than nationwide lockdowns. Police were in place on the main streets and train stations to prevent people from leaving Madrid as the regional borders are closed.
Despite the increasing number of bans, some countries with lower infection rates hold out against greater restrictions.
The Nordic states of Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland are largely free of lockdowns.
There has been an increase in cases in Sweden, which relied on voluntary advice rather than legal enforcement. But the deaths remain minor.
The government there has asked residents of Stockholm and Gothenburg not to go to gyms and shops in order to reduce infections.
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