Ireland imposed some of the most severe pandemic restrictions in Europe as countries across the region battle to overcome the virus.
Non-essential stores and restaurants will be forced to close for at least six weeks, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said. Travel will be further restricted, with people told to stay within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of their home.
Countries across Europe are toughening restrictions to fight the pandemic. Governments are grappling with the challenge of trying to check the outbreak without inflicting lasting damage on their economies, prompting differing approaches.
In Belgium, the hardest-hit country in Europe behind the Czech Republic, all restaurants, bars and cafes in the country will remain closed for four weeks. A curfew from midnight to 5 am will also take effect.
In London, rules took effect banning people from mixing with other households indoors, while in Paris and eight other French cities, residents must stay home between 9 pm and 6 am for four weeks. In Northern Ireland, schools have closed.
The Italian region of Lombardy, which includes the financial capital Milan asked the government to approve a curfew after a spike in cases. The restrictions would apply from 11 pm to 5 am, starting on Thursday. Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza agrees with the request and has spoken to regional leaders to make progress on the issue, according to a statement from his ministry.
Italy is clinging to the idea that incremental measures can be enough. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte late on Sunday drew the same conclusion as many of his counterparts: prioritise the economy.
Daily coronavirus cases climbed to a record of 11,705 on Sunday before dropping to 9,338 on Monday.
Trying to keep people Covid-free without limiting their personal freedom is something many nations are having a hard time squaring off in this less deadly wave of infections.
“We must act, deploying all the measures necessary to avert a new generalized lockdown,” Conte said at a news conference. “The country cannot afford a new setback which would severely jeopardize the whole economy.”
Trying to keep people Covid-free without limiting their personal freedom is something many nations are having a hard time squaring off in this less deadly wave of infections. When Italy’s new curbs fell short of the demands made by scientific experts, it showed Conte has become the latest leader trapped between competing interests, with local officials and central government clashing.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week struggled to forge a consensus with regional premiers in a meeting that dragged on for eight hours, while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has fought publicly with the president of the Madrid region over the correct strategy.
UK government officials continued to negotiate with local leaders in Manchester in an attempt to persuade them to accept the toughest restrictions.
Merkel’s Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier, said Germany will be sticking to a policy of targeting measures at localized outbreaks.
“A complete shutdown isn’t an option this time because in many sectors there are no problems,” Altmaier said Monday in an interview with ZDF television. “When we have very few infections for example in the auto industry or in retail, then you don’t achieve anything if you close down the shops or companies.”
After cases rose to a record above 7,000 last week, Germany recorded 4,007 new infections in the 24 hours through Monday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Case numbers typically decline over the weekend and into the start of the following week.