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COVID-19

Covid-19 cases ‘explode’ in Europe: Which countries are under lockdown or curfew?

As Europe sees an "explosion" of Covid-19 cases many countries are reimposing tight restrictions that they had relaxed over the summer. Here's a round-up of what rules are in place in each country.

Covid-19 cases 'explode' in Europe: Which countries are under lockdown or curfew?
Police in the French Riviera city of Nice check permission forms. Photo: AFP

Europe has become the region with the highest number of registered cases of the new coronavirus,

The continent's 52 countries have a combined total of 11.6 million cases including more than 293,000 deaths, ahead of Latin America and the Caribbean which has reported 11.4 million cases with 407,000 deaths.

Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic. On Thursday The World Health Organization in Europe on Thursday said they were seeing an “explosion” of virus cases in the European region and warned mortality rates were also rising.

As a result lockdowns, curfews and tough restrictions are being imposed across Europe as it struggles to cope with the second wave of the coronavirus.

Here are the latest measures being taken:

UNITED KINGDOM: England's second lockdown starts Thursday for a month following neighbouring Wales and Northern Ireland. Schools and universities stay open with cafes and restaurants allowed to offer takeaways. Wales imposed a two-week 'circuit-breaker' lockdown on October 23rd with all non-essential trips out of the home barred. Some secondary schools have also closed.

FRANCE: The country went back into lockdown on October 30th, having earlier imposed curfews on some major cities in an attempt to curb the rapidly rising case numbers.

France's second lockdown is less strict than its spring restrictions and schools remain open along with some types of business. However all 'non essential' shops have had to close and every trip outside the home in France now requires an attestation permission form showing that the person in outside for an essential reason such as school, work or grocery shopping. Trips out for exercise are allowed for one hour per day, within 1km of the home.

Source ECDC

READ ALSO These are the 'essential' reasons you are allowed out of your home in France 

GREECE: Three-week lockdown starts on Saturday, with Greeks needing an authorisation by text message to leave their homes. Primary schools and creches stay open.

IRELAND: The first country in Europe to go back into lockdown on October 22nd. Schools remain open but non-essential trips outside the home are barred.

DENMARK: Does not have a lockdown in the general understanding of the term, but announced significant local restrictions on movement in the North Jutland region on November 5th. The measures are in the form of a request, and ask residents in seven northern municipalities not to leave their home areas. Restaurants, sports and cultural activities will also be closed for the next four weeks.

The decision by the Danish government is in response to a concerning outbreak of a mutated form of coronavirus which occurred in mink and has now been passed back to humans. 

The mutation “could pose a risk that future (coronavirus) vaccines won't work the way they should,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a press conference, adding: “It is necessary to cull all the minks.”

READ ALSO: How serious is Denmark's mink coronavirus mutation and outbreak?

SPAIN: Most of Spain's region have imposed perimeter confinements to close off the borders and stop people crossing between different regions. Many municpalities are also under perimetral confinements including all towns in Cantabria, the Basque Country and Murcia and all provincial capitals in Aragon and Asturias. Galicia has closed off all its provincial capitals plus 60 smaller municpalities while La Rioja has closed off the cities of Logroño and Arnedo. Andalusia has restrictions around provinces of Seville, Jaen and Granada. 

Madrid has taken the decision to limit movement in and out of the region only over the bank holiday weekends but imposed perimetral confinement of 35 healthcare zones within its territory for at least two weeks while Catalonia has a regional confinement and is limiting people to within their own municpalities at weekends.

LATEST: What are the restrictions in place in each of Spain's regions right now?

GERMANY: Bars, restaurants and leisure facilities have been closed since Monday November 2nd, and are slated to remain shut until the end of the month, with only take-out and deliveries allowed. Overnight stays for tourism purposes are also prohibited.

As opposed to the spring shutdown, Germany’s new oft-dubbed “lockdown light” still allows schools and kitas to remain open.

Up to 10 people from two separate households are also able to meet, and in some states outdoor facilities such as zoos and tennis courts can remain open as long as hygiene and social distancing measures are adhered to.

READ ALSO: Germany enters month-long partial lockdown

PORTUGAL: More than two-thirds of the population urged not to leave home except to go to work, school and do food shopping.

NORWAY:Premier Erna Solberg appealed Thursday for people to “stay home as much as possible” and avoid social contact even though the country has one of the lowest rates of the virus in Europe. 

That represents a reversal of the approach from just a few weeks ago, when a tentative reopening was announced. Solberg said that “we do not have time to wait and see if the measures we introduced the week before last are sufficient. We must act now to avoid a lockdown.”

Several of the new measures impact travel into the country, including for family members visiting Norway-based relatives. Solberg also advised strongly against travelling within Norway.

READ ALSO: Norway announces strict new coronavirus measures: Here are the details to know

SWITZERLAND: Non-essential shops closed in Geneva and its region, with people urged only to leave home when strictly necessary. 

In the majority of Switzerland, bars and restaurants are not allowed to open at night and meeting in large groups is restricted. 

ITALY: Local nighttime curfews go national fon Friday, from 10pm to 6am.

Several Italian regions are also under lockdown from Friday under a new three-tiered system.

MAP: Which zone is each region in under Italy’s new tier system?

BELGIUM: Despite being called a lockdown, people are free to move around  during the day. All non-essential shops closed, with homeworking now the norm.  A curfew ending at 5am has been in force since October 19th.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Shops must close at 8pm and on Sundays with curfew from 9pm. 

AUSTRIA: Curfew from 8pm to 6am since Tuesday, with museums, cinemas, theatres and swimming pools shut. Birthday parties and Christmas markets banned. 

READ: Everything you need to know about Austria's coronavirus shutdown 

People must be in their own homes or the homes of their 'life partners' and can only leave for work or to exercise. Picking up food or shopping is not allowed, but delivery is ok. 

SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, CYPRUS, LUXEMBOURG: All under curfew.

KOSOVO: Curfew only for over 65s.

POLAND: Cinemas and most shopping centres closed.

THE NETHERLANDS: Cinemas, museums and other public spaces shut.

SWEDEN: Sweden has so far rolled out local coronavirus rules in 10 out of 21 regions. These vary depending on region, but the most common factors are to limit social contact, avoid indoor venues and avoid public transport. They take the form of strong recommendations which have a legal basis and are not considered optional, but are not coercive and you can generally not be fined for breaking them. Everyone in the country is also urged to follow national recommendations, such as working from home if they can, and avoiding large parties or gatherings.

 

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HEALTH

HEALTH: Six things to know about visiting a doctor in Norway 

Going to the doctor is a necessary part of living overseas, but there are a few things you should be aware of before going for a check-up in Norway. 

HEALTH: Six things to know about visiting a doctor in Norway 

Norway is known for having excellent healthcare, and the medical systems in Scandinavian countries are often held up as examples of what other countries should try and emulate. 

Despite that, it’s not all plain sailing when visiting a doctor in Norway, and there are often some misconceptions people have and some idiosyncrasies with the system that can be a bit jarring for some. 

With that in mind, we’ve put together a run-down of what you should expect when visiting a doctor in Norway. 

You will need to sign up first  

You aren’t assigned a GP or fastlege automatically, so you will need to sign up for a doctor yourself. 

To be eligible for a doctor, you must be living and working in Norway legally. You will be enrolled in the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme if you meet this requirement. Everyone part of this scheme is entitled to healthcare services and a GP by extension

To find a GP, you will need to head to Norway’s digital health portal, helsenorge, and log in. You will need an electronic ID such as Commfides, BankID or Buypass ID to sign in. 

Once signed up, you can select the county you are in and see a list of doctors in your local area. The list will have the doctor’s name, age and gender, and if a substitute is covering them. 

READ MORE: How to register with a doctor in Norway

Visiting a doctor will cost you money

One of the biggest misconceptions about healthcare in Norway is that it’s free. It isn’t. Instead, residents will need to pay for healthcare at the point of service. However these costs are heavily subsidised through the National Insurance Scheme, and there is a relatively low limit on how much individuals have to pay each year. 

A GP appointment will cost 160 kroner during the day and 280 in the evening, a lab test costs 59 kroner, and a consultation with a specialist costs 375 kroner. You can get a full run-down of the fees you can expect to pay during a doctor’s visit here.

Language shouldn’t be an issue 

Norway ranks number 5 out of 112 countries for their English proficiency (English Proficiency Index). This means that you shouldn’t put off seeing a doctor because you’re worried about the language gap. 

Even if you are in more rural parts of the country, you can expect to be able to see a doctor that you can communicate with in English if that would make you feel more comfortable. 

READ ALSO: Does everyone in Norway speak perfect English?

Changing your doctor 

If, for whatever reason, you want to change your doctor, say you don’t gel with them, find it hard to get an appointment or have heard great things about another GP, then you can change your fastlege

The Norwegian GP system allows for decent flexibility, and you can change your doctor up to two times in one calendar year, for whatever reason you wish. 

To make the switch, you’ll need to sign into helsenorge and change your doctor there. 

READ ALSO: How to switch GPs in Norway 

Your medical history isn’t automatically available to doctors

When you change GPs in Norway, you’ll need to ensure your new doctor has access to your medical records. It is your responsibility to do this, and much like signing up for a new GP, this isn’t done automatically. 

Having your medical records sent to your new doctor simply involves contacting your former GP surgery and asking them to forward your record to your current practice. Your medical records also contain information from when something has been followed up, for example, notes from a scan or specialist.  

If you move from another country, then this may mean either filling in the doctor of your medical history or trying to get your medical history forwarded. 

What do The Local’s readers think of the medical system

The Local’s readers have previously shared their thoughts on the country’s healthcare system. Among the positives were competent GPs, excellent quality of treatment, and good quality service. 

Waiting times were the biggest issue cited by readers. Respondents to the survey said they either waited a long time for an appointment or to get a GP. 

READ ALSO: What do foreigners think of the Norwegian healthcare system?

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