Covid: How are European countries tackling the pandemic?

Publish Date : 2021-03-21

Covid: How are European countries tackling the pandemic?

Europe's vaccination campaign has been hit by delays and the number of infections is rising in many countries. They are once again extending lockdowns and introducing new measures.

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France: New lockdown in Paris and other areas
Paris is entering a new month-long lockdown, together with several other regions in the north and the south.

A total of around 21 million people in 16 areas of France will be affected.

Non-essential businesses have to close, but schools and hairdressers will remain open.

People will be allowed to exercise outdoors within 10km (6 miles) of their home but are not allowed to travel to other parts of the country unless they have a valid reason.

As in previous lockdowns, those in the affected areas will have to fill out a form to explain why they have left their homes.

France has a nationwide curfew between 19:00 and 06:00.

Italy: A total shutdown over Easter
Shops, restaurants and schools are once again closed in more than half of Italy, including in Rome and Milan.

People are required to stay at home except for work, health or other essential reasons.

For three days over Easter (3-5 April), there will be a total shutdown across the whole country.

Germany: Some easing of restrictions
Germany has started lifting some restrictions in place since mid-December.

In most states, shops and museums, hairdressers, beauty salons, massage and tattoo studios have been allowed to reopen, but the exact rules on visitor numbers depend on the local infection rate.

On 20 March, the city of Hamburg will return to a full lockdown, after a spike in cases.

People can no longer wear home-made cloth masks or scarves as face coverings in shops and on public transport. Clinical masks, such as single-use surgical masks or filtering face-piece respirators (known as FFP2 masks), are now required.

Greece: Different restrictions according to infection levels
Schools across Greece are once again closed, for two weeks from 16 March.

In areas with high infection rates - the "red zones", which include Athens - non-essential shops hairdressers and beauty salons are also closed.

People can shop for essential goods within a 2km radius of their home, but cannot travel outside of their area.

A curfew from 21:00 to 05:00 is in place during the week and from 19:00 to 05:00 at the weekend.3

The Czech Republic: Tighter lockdown
One of the hardest hit countries in the EU,the Czech Republic has now tightened its lockdown.

The new measures include closing nurseries and schools for younger children and those with disabilities, a ban on movement between districts and mandatory mass testing for employees of factories and companies that stay open.

Spain: Curfew and other measures to continue
Spain is under a nationwide curfew until early May 2021.

People are only allowed out in that period to go to work, for education, to buy medicine, or care for elderly people or children.

Anyone aged over six must wear a face covering on public transport and in indoor public spaces nationwide. They are also compulsory outdoors in many regions.

Belgium: Lockdown continues
Belgium's lockdown has been extended until 1 April.

All non-essential travel is banned.

A maximum of one person is allowed to visit your home (always the same person) and, for meetings outside, the rule of four remains in place.

Schools and shops are open, but people must shop alone and not stay in any shop for more than 30 minutes.

Masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces as well as in crowded areas outside.

Portugal: New lockdown under way
Mainland Portugal will continue a state of emergency, which started in January, until 31 March.

But some easing of measures started from 15 March. with the reopening of some businesses and nurseries and primary schools for face to face teaching

A gradual further reopening is planned for April. Most shops as well as museums, secondary schools and universities could be reopened on 19 April, if the situation allows.

Netherlands: Some easing of lockdown measures
Secondary school pupils are now having at least one day's lessons at school.

Hairdressers and other close-contact professions (apart from sex workers) have reopened, and shops can open to customers by appointment. Teenagers and adults up to the age of 27 can play team sports outside.

However, a 21:00 to 04:30 curfew will remain in place until the end of March. Bars and restaurants remain closed, along with non-essential shops. Gatherings of more than two people are banned.

Denmark: Gradual lifting of restrictions
The Danish government has lifted some lockdown restrictions.

From 1 March some shops were allowed to reopen and outdoor activities, such as sports, have resumed for a maximum of 25 people.

Older school students returned to classrooms in regions with lower infection rates.

Denmark has been in a lockdown since December, when all shops and other businesses were closed, apart from supermarkets and pharmacies. Schools stayed open only for younger primary school children.

Ireland: Highest level of restrictions to continue
Ireland returned to a full lockdown at the end of December, and the highest level of restrictions - level five - will stay in place until 5 April.

People have to stay at home except for travel for work, education or other essential reasons, or to exercise within 5km (3.1 miles) of home.

No visitors are allowed in private homes or gardens unless it is for the care of children, the elderly or those who are vulnerable. Weddings are limited to six people and funerals to 10.

All non-essential shops, gyms, pools and leisure facilities are closed. Restaurants, pubs and cafes can provide takeaways and deliveries only.

Sweden: New government coronavirus powers
Sweden tried to avoid imposing rules when other countries were in lockdown, but on 10 January a new emergency law came into effect.

It gave the government the power to impose coronavirus-related curbs for the first time.

Until now, the Swedish government has relied mostly on the public following official health recommendations voluntarily.

Current national guidelines ask passengers to wear face masks on public transport in rush hour, but several regions now recommend them outside the rush hour as well.

Shops and gyms must limit numbers to make at least 10m of space available per customer. There is a rule of four in restaurants and bars, reduced to one person per table in cafes inside shopping malls and large retail stores.

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