Curfews sweep Europe to tackle rising COVID-19 cases

Nine months from the initial lockdowns, Europe grapples with record coronavirus cases. It comes as dozens of more contagious strains emerge from as close as the United Kingdom to as far as Brazil.

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom dominates Europe’s COVID crisis with 700,000+ cases reported since the new year. The island nation turned to national lockdowns throughout its four countries to combat the more contagious variant discovered in the South-East.

UK National Lockdown measures shown on a bus stop in London | Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Mainland Europe

Many mainland European countries are taking a different approach. Rather than imposing full national lockdowns, they have turned to curfews. France, for instance, has turned to an 8 am – 6 pm curfew. This will remain in effect for a minimum of two weeks; and is done to stabilize the case numbers without jeopardizing the economy.

This is not France’s first curfew. A similar curfew was implemented in October to curb an increasing spread of cases. You can see the effect of the curfew on small businesses.

Similar curfews are also present in other mainland European countries such as Italy, Hungary and Latvia.

National Lockdowns

Some countries have imposed national lockdowns to contain the English variant of the novel coronavirus that is seen to be 70% more transmissible.

Aside from the UK itself which will remain in lockdown until at least the middle of February, countries such as the Netherlands are also under national restrictions. Germany, the largest economy in Europe, is leaning towards national lockdown after record breaking deaths recorded in the last week/s.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has been forced to consider a ‘mega lockdown’ after deaths reached a record high | Image: GETTY

Light at the end of the tunnel

With multiple vaccines rolling out across Europe, there is hope for the end of these national limitations. Seeing as there is currently no data indicating that the new strains of SARS-CoV-2 wouldn’t respond to existing vaccines, we can remain optimistic.

The United Kingdom has deployed more vaccines than any other European country, with an ambitious target of 14 million vaccinated by mid-February. Currently, if they remain on a constant daily rate, this will be achieved by late February.

European vaccinations per country | Source: ourworldindata.org

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