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Dublin: 21°C Thursday 18 August 2022

Restrictions tighten across Europe as pandemic persists

Here’s a look at how some other countries around Europe are faring with the virus.

Teatro Macello near the Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Teatro Macello near the Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Image: Shutterstock/Paolo Gallo

AS THE PANDEMIC persists, Ireland is not the only country still facing tight restrictions. 

Italy, Norway and parts of Poland are among European countries that have implemented stricter rules in recent days in an effort to control the spread of the virus.

Following a decision by the Italian government late last week, 80% of school children, from nursery to high schools, were locked out of the classroom from yesterday.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s new government applied “red zone” designation on more regions, including – for the first time since the colour-tiered system was created last autumn – on Lazio, which includes Rome.

Italy has faced mounting numbers of ICU beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, steadily rising daily caseloads and infection transmission predominantly driven by the variant first discovered in the UK.

In Italy’s red-zone regions, restaurants and cafes can only do takeaway or delivery, non-essential shops are closed and residents must stick close to home, except for work, health or shopping for necessities.

Similarly, Poland has tightened restrictions in a western province that borders Germany and a region that includes the capital, Warsaw.

Two other provinces were already under restrictions.

Poland has seen a sharp spike in the number of new infections and of new Covid-19 hospital patients.

Under the heightened measures, hotels and shopping centres have to remain closed, as do theatres, cinemas, fitness clubs and sports facilities.

School children aged six to nine will have a combination of in-class and remote teaching.

France has entered a “form of third wave” of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Jean Castex says, as the government considered whether to impose a new lockdown, notably in the capital region where hospitals are close to overflowing.

As is the situation elsewhere in Europe, virus variants are suspected of fuelling increases in serious cases in France.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government has been trying to stave off another punishing nationwide lockdown in 2021 by opting for a 6pm to 6am nationwide curfew instead.

A decision on whether the Paris region and its 12 million inhabitants will be locked down on weekends is expected in a few days.

The Norwegian capital Oslo announced tougher measures yesterday to stem the spread of coronavirus, closing secondary schools and restricting the number of visitors to homes as case numbers rise.

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A record number of Covid-19 cases, 1,960, were detected last week in Oslo, which has a population of 700,000 people.

“We have never before seen such a high level of recorded cases,” the capital’s mayor Raymond Johansen told a press briefing.

“If the spread of the virus is too high for too long the system collapses and you lose control,” he added. 

Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro have also announced tighter measures amid a surge in cases.

Portugal has emerged from a two-month lockdown to move into a gradual reopening over the next seven weeks, with primary and nursery schools, hair salons and book shops returning.

Overall, European countries have recorded over 900,900 deaths and 42,689,900 cases as of this morning, according to an AFP tally.

Additional reporting by AFP

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