Italy is considering new restrictions on public life as fresh curbs on movement took effect in London and Paris in Europe’s escalating efforts to check its corona virus surge while limiting economic harm.
According to a statement from the Italian Prime Minister’s office, Giuseppe Conte is planning to announce the new measures on Sunday. Londoners are now banned from mixing with other households indoors; while people in Paris and eight other French cities are confined to home; between 9 pm and 6 am for four weeks.
The new and increased restrictions came into effect as new cases hit daily records across much of Europe. Italy reported 10,925 new infections on Saturday, the U.K. had 16,171, and Germany posted 7,695. Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to her citizens to meet with fewer people indoors or outdoors.
Stressing the importance of refraining from unnecessary journeys and celebrations; Merkel said in her weekly podcast that “How winter and Christmas work out will be decided in the coming days; and weeks through the sum of individual actions.”
According to government officials who were asked not to be identified in line with their policy; Italy’s Lombardy region, which includes Milan; has reined in alcohol consumption and gambling; and Conte’s government may order bars; and restaurants to close at 10 p.m., ban some sporting activities; and change hours for high schools to prevent congestion.
After broad lockdowns triggered some of the worst recessions in living memory; European officials are eager to stick to local restrictions; targeted mainly at urban virus hot spots this time around. But with Europe heading into the winter, when people will be unable to spend as much time outdoors; and transmission rates are likely to rise, getting back to normal appears some way off.
Belgium, which has the most cases per-capita in Europe except for the Czech Republic, went for national measures.
Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said hospitality restrictions, along with a midnight to 5 am curfew and curbs on alcohol sales and gatherings, will take effect on Monday for four weeks. Work from home will be mandatory whenever possible. Bars in Brussels were already closed last week.
De Croo said during a news conference, “By many measures; the numbers are worse than they were in March or April. And I bring no good message: those numbers will likely keep rising in the coming days.”
Natalie Diaz-Fuentes co-owner of London’s Santo Remedio Mexican restaurants; and bar said that “Everyone is worried about a second; full lockdown.” The top U.K. teachers’ union is pushing for a two-week nationwide; “circuit-breaker” lockdown that would extend the half-term school break; according to a report in the Telegraph.