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European countries push to combat coronavirus second wave without lockdowns

Governments across Europe have announced new restrictions this week as several countries report record coronavirus case numbers, but they're avoiding imposing nationwide lockdowns.

Why it matters: Widespread lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus have devastated economies around the world.


The big picture: German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Thursday new measures, including a curfew for restaurants and bars in coronavirus hot spots and a limit on gatherings, after the country reported a record 6,638 new infections, per DW.

  • "I am convinced that what we do now will be decisive for how we come through this pandemic," she said. "We are already in a phase of exponential growth, the daily numbers show that."

In France, President Emmanuel Macron announced in a televised address Wednesday a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. would be imposed on the Paris region,Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Toulouse, Montpellier, Grenoble, Rouen and Saint-√Čtienne.

  • "We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus," Macron said, confirming that the curfew that starts Saturday would remain in place for at least four weeks.
  • "We are going to have to deal with this virus until at least the summer of 2021."

In the United Kingdom, the British government has imposed a three-tier alert system on several cities, with Liverpool the first city to face the toughest restrictions that has seen bars that don't serve food closed.

Russia also registered a record 14,231 new cases Wednesday, but officials were focusing on touting a coronavirus vaccine developed by the country, the New York Times reports.

Italy on Wednesday surpassed its record number of cases with 7,332 new infections.

  • Health officials announced Tuesday new measures including mandatory seating in restaurants and bars after 9 p.m., a mandatory midnight closing time for venues and a ban on outdoor and indoor private parties, Forbes notes.

Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced gatherings would be limited to five people and declared a "state of calamity," as the country confirmed more than 2,000 cases in a single day for the first time, Anadolou Agency reports.

The Czech government on Wednesday announced household guests must be limited to three people, alcohol could not be sold after 8 p.m. and there would be a "wider mandatory use of face masks," per AFP.

  • On Thursday, the country's health ministry confirmed a record 9,544 new cases, the Guardian notes.

Why it matters: Widespread lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus have devastated economies around the world.

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