Heightened restrictions and lockdowns are back on the cards across Europe, as the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be well underway in many countries.
The Irish government has been advised to reintroduce a full lockdown right across the country for the next four weeks in order to get the virus under control, as case numbers have risen considerably.
Ireland’s National public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) met on 4 October and delivered its recommendations to the government, which will meet today (5 Oct) to discuss their next steps.
Ireland is currently operating a five tier system of restrictions, with different parts of the country dealing with varying levels of restrictions in line with the number of coronavirus cases in each area.
Currently, most of the country is under level 2 restrictions (the second lowest), with just Dublin and Donegal under level 3 restrictions. NPHET’s proposal would see all 26 counties put under level 5 restrictions.
This would mean no visits between households, hospitality venues only offering takeaway services, and only essential retail shops remaining open, among other restrictions.
Heightened restrictions in Spain
Elsewhere, more than three million people in Madrid have had tighter restrictions imposed on their everyday lives, as Spain attempts to cope with the most serious second wave of the virus in Europe.
New rules imposed over the weekend mean that people can only travel outside their home districts for essential journeys, and hospitality venues can only serve until 10pm.
These measures come as cases are once again peaking in the country, with the effect also being felt in hospitals. Many hospitals in Madrid have reported that their intensive care units are full with Covid-19 patients.
Bars shut in Paris
In Paris, all bars will be shut completely for two weeks starting from 6 October, as the city’s coronavirus alert level was raised to the maximum level following a sustained rise in the number of infections.
In France, the maximum level of restrictions come into effect in an area when the infection rate exceeds 250 per 100,000 and at least 30 per cent of intensive care beds are reserved for coronavirus patients.
The second largest city in the country, Marseille, saw all bars, restaurants and gyms close for two weeks on 26 September.
A second wave in central Europe
The Czech Republic declared a state of emergency last week and implemented measures including closing secondary schools and limiting the number of customers per table in bars and restaurants to six.
The country has seen the second highest number of new cases per 100,000 in Europe in the last two weeks, after Spain, and the fourth highest number of deaths.
Case numbers have also started to rise at significant rates in Hungary, Slovakia and Romania in recent weeks.