Curfews and restrictions imposed across Europe as COVID-19 cases soar

People wearing masks wait for a bus in Barcelona. Spain has reported over a million cases of COVID-19
People wearing masks wait for a bus in Barcelona. Spain has reported over a million cases of COVID-19 Copyright Emilio Morenatti/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Copyright Emilio Morenatti/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By Michael Daventry with AP, AFP
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More European countries tell people they will have to stay indoors overnight and restrict social interaction to help stop the virus spreading


Overnight curfews and new restrictive measures were announced in multiple regions across Europe as COVID-19-related hospital admissions and deaths continued to rise.

Greece, Italy and France introduced or extended nightly bans on people going outdoors this week in an effort to stem the surge in cases.

Many other countries sought to close bars and restaurants early in major cities.

The below map shows where these restrictions have been introduced across the continent as well as some additional information on local measures.

Belgium hospital fears

A curfew has been put in place in Belgium, where authorities said the average daily number of people testing positive over the past week had exceeded 10,000, prompting fears of a strain on hospitals.

Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke announced an increase in intensive care unit beds and said some non-urgent operations would be delayed.

Belgium's midnight-5 am curfew comes with the closure of cafes, bars and restaurants and a ban on alcohol sales after 8 pm.

Luca Bruno/AP
A pedestrian crosses a near-deserted road in front of the Peace Arch in Milan on Thursday nightLuca Bruno/AP

Curfews in place across biggest Italian cities

In Italy, a nightly curfew between midnight and 5 am begins on Saturday in the region of Lazio, which includes Rome, and will last for 30 days.

Similar measures are already in place in Lombardy, where cases are surging, especially in Milan, and in Naples.

Italy confirmed a daily record of over 16,000 cases on Thursday for the first time since the pandemic started.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has avoided announcing another national lockdown but urged Italians to avoid "unnecessary" movements.

Spainish PM appeals for unity

In a televised speech on Friday Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called on his country to unite despite public fatigue at restrictions to contain the spread.

Spain became the first European country to exceed one million confirmed cases earlier this week.

Sánchez is known to want to introduce a nightly curfew but is being resisted by local politicians, particularly in the capital Madrid.

Greek restrictions put in place

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said wearing a mask was now compulsory in all public places, whether indoors or outdoors.

He also announced a nightly curfew in large cities including Athens between 12.30 am and 5 am.

"The aim is to reduce general movement and evening gatherings, which favour the transmission of the virus," Mitsotakis said in a televised address on Thursday.

"With a little less fun, for a short period of time, we will have better health for a long time."

Thanassis Stavrakis/AP
A medical worker wearing protective gear collects a swab from a commuter during rapid COVID-19 tests in AthensThanassis Stavrakis/AP

France escalates night curfew

A curfew imposed in eight major French cities last week was extended to 38 other regions, meaning two-thirds of the population must stay indoors between 9 pm and 6 am.

On Thursday night, public health authorities announced they had recorded 41,600 new virus cases in a single day, the highest since widespread testing began.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has now exceeded 1 million in both France and Spain.

As many as 6 million people in Britain have been affected by new coronavirus restrictions.

Regional lockdowns in Britain

A "firebreak" lockdown that took effect in Wales from Friday evening sees people told to stay at home for 17 days. All pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will be closed.


Meanwhile, many parts of England — including Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire — moved into the highest level of restrictions, which include a ban on households mixing together.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a new five-tier system of restrictions will be place early next month.

Gatherings restricted in Poland for a fortnight

The Polish government says it will limit all public gatherings to five people and require older schoolchildren to attend class remotely.

Restaurants and bars across the country will close for a fortnight, as virus cases reached a new daily record on Friday.

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