Europe lockdown: New coronavirus rules country by country


image copyrightGetty Images

Restrictions to deal with new coronavirus outbreaks have been imposed in parts of Europe.

So, what are countries doing?

France: Large gatherings banned in some regions

image copyrightEPA
image captionMasks are compulsory outside in some areas of France

France’s lockdown was imposed on 17 March, but restrictions began to ease on 11 May.

However, following fresh outbreaks in July, the government made face masks compulsory in enclosed public spaces.

From 10 August, masks are also compulsory outdoors in busy parts of Paris for anyone aged 11 and over.

A number of other cities, including Toulouse, Nice and Lille, as well as some beach resorts, have made masks compulsory outside in crowded areas.

The government said it would impose local lockdowns rather than another national one, if there was a second wave of infections.

Spain: Travel warnings after infection spike

On 4 May, Spain set out its plan to start easing one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.

While coronavirus appears to be under control in much of the country, Catalonia – including Barcelona – and neighbouring Aragón in the north-east saw a huge spike in July.

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe Madrid region introduced the mandatory use of masks outside

Stay-at-home orders have been issued to four million residents in Catalonia, and stricter measures could yet be introduced.

Madrid has seen a spike in cases, leading to compulsory face masks in public – regardless of whether social distancing is possible.

In a huge blow to tourism, some European countries issued travel warnings for the affected regions. The UK imposed a 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving from Spain.

Germany: Compulsory airport testing

Germany began easing its lockdown in April, allowing small shops to open.

In May, shops of all sizes and schools started to reopen. Bundesliga football matches resumed behind closed doors.

image copyrightEPA
image captionTesting at German airports is compulsory for all travellers arriving from high-risk countries
However, a surge in cases linked to a meat-processing plant near the western town of Gütersloh triggered

new local lockdowns.

Testing at airports is now compulsory for all travellers arriving from high-risk countries.

New rules to contain local outbreaks in future, such as travel bans in and out of coronavirus hotspots, have been drawn up.

Children are starting to go back to schools in August and in some areas they will have to wear masks at all times.

Italy: Police close popular tourist spots

image copyrightReuters
image captionStrict social distancing and the compulsory wearing of face masks are in effect in Italy’s museums and galleries

Italy’s strict lockdown started on 7 March and was gradually lifted two months later.

Bars, restaurants, hairdressers, museums and tourist sites all reopened with strict social distancing and the compulsory wearing of face masks.

On 3 June, Italy reopened its borders and ended regional travel restrictions.

However, in July infections rose again in Rome and the surrounding Lazio region.

Police closed popular squares in Rome to limit crowds at weekends. Clubs which did not follow social distancing rules were closed.

Belgium: Further easing delayed

image copyrightReuters
image captionA cautious reopening began in Belgium in early May

In Belgium, shops, schools, markets, museums, zoos, hairdressers and beauty salons were gradually allowed to open from early May.

Sports events, religious services and village fetes have been allowed since 1 July, with a maximum 200 participants or spectators indoors and 400 outside.

However, Belgium has seen a rise in new infections.

The city of Antwerp, which saw a spike, introduced a curfew at the end of July. In restaurants, a maximum of four people are allowed to sit at a table, although larger households are allowed to sit together.

The government decided not to go ahead with the next phase of reopening and has issued warnings against travel to a number of areas in Europe.

At the same time, several European counties issued warnings against all but essential travel to Belgium. The UK has imposed a 14-day quarantine.

Nightclubs remain closed and no major events, such as festivals, are allowed.

Netherlands: Travel warnings issued

On 1 July the Netherlands lifted the limit for people inside or outside shops and some other services, provided they stick to 1.5m social distancing.

Further measures to ease the lockdown were brought forward. For example, brothels were allowed to open on 1 July, from their planned reopening in September.

image copyrightReuters
image captionDutch bars, cafes and restaurants are expected to observe social distancing

However, the rate of infection started to climb and on 6 August new measures were announced, including local closures of cafes, cinemas, museums and amusement parks for 14 days in case of an outbreak. Local authorities can impose curfews and further restrictions.

The government warns against all but essential travel to Sweden, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and areas of Spain, the UK, Portugal and Belgium.

Voluntary testing will be introduced at airports for those arriving from high risk areas.

Portugal: Nightclubs remain closed

Portugal has had fewer coronavirus cases and deaths than some other south European nations.

The government reopened different sectors of the economy every 15 days: restaurants, coffee shops, museums and beaches opened in May and June.

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe UK has advised against all non-essential travel to Portugal

The final phase of reopening started on 1 July.

Hotels have mainly reopened, but nightclubs remain closed.

The UK has advised against all non-essential travel to Portugal, since Lisbon saw a spike in infections. The Portuguese government complained, as British tourists usually flock to both Portugal and Spain in summer.

Greece: Airport testing available for passengers

Greece recorded its first Covid-19 case on 26 February and the government swiftly imposed a lockdown.

Relaxation measures started in late April, with a particular focus on opening up the country for the summer.

However, the number of cases started rising again in July.

image copyrightCOSTAS BALTAS
image captionThe number of cases in Greece started rising again in July

Since 29 July, face masks have been compulsory in supermarkets, shops, cafes, banks, government offices and hairdressers.

Travellers to Greece have to fill in forms so that they can be tracked in case of emergencies.

Republic of Ireland: Non-essential foreign travel discouraged

Ireland has had a stricter lockdown than the UK, with residents only allowed to exercise within 2km (1.2 miles) of their homes.

The government still advises against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Britain, but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

There is a limited list of countries which are exempt from this advice, including popular tourist destinations such as Italy and Greece. People coming back from these locations are not required to restrict their movements.

Related Topics

  • Coronavirus lockdown measures

  • Tourism

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