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Europe’s second wave of coronavirus – here’s what’s happening across the continent

Lockdowns, curfews and regional restrictions are being introduced across Europe to combat a spike in coronavirus cases.

Here is a recap of what’s happening in key countries across the continent.

Czech Republic: Europe’s coronavirus epicentre?

The eastern European country has recorded an average of 12,000 new cases each day over the past week.

It has the EU’s highest 14-day incidence rate for COVID-19 deaths with 14.1 fatalities per 100,000 population.

It also has the second-highest incidence rate for cases after Belgium with 1,481 infections per 100,000 inhabitants.

The government has responded by shutting hospitality businesses, schools and limiting public gatherings to two people.

The army has set up a 500-bed field hospital in Prague.

Meanwhile, volunteers are being trained to take the pressure off a health service under huge pressure.

Belgium: One of the worst coronavirus fatality rates in the world

The small country of 11.5 million has lost nearly 10,900 inhabitants since the beginning of the pandemic.

Its deaths per 100,000 population ratio is 95.42 — the third highest in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The number of infections has risen nearly 200 per cent over the previous 14 days compared to the previous fortnight while fatalities have soared by over a third, figures from Santé Publique Belgique reveal.

Nighttime curfews have been imposed, bars, cafés and restaurants have been forced to close their doors and social gatherings are severely limited. Travel between regions is restricted.

The situation is so bad in one hospital in Liege that nurses have been asked to carry on working even if they test positive for COVID-19.

France: Soaring cases push Macron to announce a new month-long lockdown

The country is to enter its second national lockdown on Friday which will last until December 1. All non-essential shops are to close once more. People will need to fill in a form to justify getting out of their houses but schools, factories and building works will continue.

President Emmanuel Macron said it was necessary to curb spiking numbers of infections which have surpassed “even the most pessimistic projections”.

He added that up to 50,000 people are being infected every day and that 3,000 of the country’s 5,000 ICU beds are now occupied by COVID patients.

So far over 1.2 million people have contracted COVID-19 in France and more than 35,700 have lost their lives.

Germany: New partial lockdown to ‘avoid a national health emergency’

Germany was seen as a role model in the spring for its fast and aggressive contact tracing method which was credited with keeping the country’s death toll down.

But rising cases has pushed the government to announce a partial lockdown from November 2. Bars, cafes and restaurants are among the businesses that will close nationwide.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said the measure was “to avoid a national health emergency”.

More than 481,000 cases have so far been confirmed in Germany with the highest daily increase of 14,000 recorded on Wednesday. The country’s death toll currently stands at 10,259.

Italy: Introducing curfews amid a ‘worrying’ surge in cases

The southern county was the first in Europe to impose a local and then national lockdown in early March to stem the quick spread of the virus.

Now, amid a “worrying” surge in infections, Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte has imposed new measures, including nighttime curfews and the closure of cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools.

The new restrictions were met with anger with protests breaking out in Rome.

The country recorded nearly 25,000 new infections on Wednesday, bringing its total number of cases to 590,000. Its death toll is the second highest in Europe after the UK at 37,905.

Poland: National stadium turned into a field hospital

Twice this week, the country has reported a record number of daily new infections, and on Wednesday it also announced a record number of daily deaths, at 236.

The total number of confirmed infections is now just shy of 300,000 with the death toll standing at 4,851.

Soldiers are being mobilised to conduct COVID-19 testing, so medical professionals can focus on helping patients while other spaces, including Warsaw’s National Stadium, are being transformed into field hospitals.

Bars and restaurants have been closed and gatherings of more than five people have been banned.

The authorities are partly blaming the rise in cases on protests against last week’s ruling from the constitutional court wich further restricted abortions in the country.

Spain: National state of emergency imposed

Authorities in Spain declared a national state of emergency earlier this week that is to last a minimum of 15 days but could be extended for up to six months, which Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said was the amount of time “necessary to overcome the most damaging stage of the pandemic”.

Nighttime curfews have been imposed across the country and travel between regions is strongly discouraged.

The country was hit hard and fast by the first wave and imposed one of the strictest lockdowns.

More than 1.1 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in Spain since the beginning of the outbreak while nearly 35,500 have succumbed to the disease.

Sweden: Has its more relaxed strategy help it avoid COVID fatigue?

Sweden, which drew criticism during the first wave for eschewing a strict lockdown and betting on herd immunity, is now urging people to avoid stores and transport.

Restrictions on nightclubs have also been recently introduced.

The Scandinavian country has so far recorded 117,913 cases and 5,927 deaths — one of Europe’s highest per capita death tolls.

But some have suggested that Sweden’s more relaxed strategy has helped it avoid the COVID fatigue being seen elsewhere in Europe.

UK: Regional restrictions failing to stop rising cases number’s in Europe’s worst-hit country

Britain remains Europe’s most heavily impacted country. To slow the second wave currently sweeping the country, the government has rolled out a multi-tier system with local areas forced into certain restrictions based on their epidemiological situation Major cities including Liverpool and Machester are at the highest level of alert — Tier 3.

The government has been criticised for its handling with some experts demanding stricter measures.

study released on Wednesday said that as many as 100,000 people are contracting the disease daily in England with the outbreak doubling every nine days.

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