Covid: How are European countries tackling the pandemic?

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image captionThe Louvre in Paris remains shut

Europe’s response to the coronavirus pandemic varies from country to country, depending on the rates of infection.

Many countries started 2021 with earlier curfews, stay-at-home orders and other measures to fight the new peaks in infections and deaths, while a few others eased some of the earlier restrictions.

France: Tighter nationwide curfew

France has had a curfew in place since December which restricted movement between 20:00 and 06:00, but this was tightened on 16 January, with a new national curfew from 18:00. Shops and businesses must close by then and everyone must be at home.

Schools are open with extra testing in place.

Anyone arriving in France from outside the EU must have a negative test for the virus within 72 hours of their travel into France, self-isolate for seven days and test negative again.

Bars, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and ski resorts remain shut.

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image captionParis bars have been closed since mid-October

Germany: Further restrictions expected

Germany introduced a new nationwide lockdown on 16 December.

Non-essential shops, businesses such as hairdressers, and schools are closed. Restaurants, bars and leisure centres also remain shut.

Private meetings are limited to one other person from a separate household.

Further tightening of restrictions, such as a curfew and partial shutdown of public transport, could be announced after a meeting between Chancellor Merkel and state leaders on 19 January.

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image captionBerlin has seen a steep rise in infections

Greece: Nurseries and primary schools reopen

Greece has been in a strict lockdown since November, when it imposed a curfew between 22:00 and 05:00 and shut shops, nurseries, and primary and secondary schools.

The lockdown helped to contain a new surge in infections and, in January, nurseries and primary schools were allowed to reopen.

The government is considering whether to reopen shops and other parts of the economy as well.

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image captionDog walkers in Athens are masked up

Italy: High school students allowed to return

A nationwide curfew from 22:00 to 05:00 remains in place, travel between Italy’s 20 regions is banned until 15 February, and mask-wearing is mandatory in public, both indoors and outdoors, across the nation.

Three areas of the country, including Lombardy, are in the highest (red) tier, with only essential shops allowed to open and everything else closed.

However, high school students have now been allowed to return to normal lessons, although they are divided into groups and full classroom occupancy is not allowed. Remote learning has been in place since October.

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image captionStudents and a teacher in a classroom in Rome

Spain: Curfew and other measures to continue

Spain is under a nationwide curfew until early May 2021.

People are only allowed out in that period to go to work, for education, to buy medicine, or care for elderly people or children.

Regional leaders can modify curfew times and can also close regional borders for travel.

Anyone aged over six must wear a face covering on public transport and in indoor public spaces nationwide. They are also compulsory outdoors in many regions.

Belgium: Lockdown continues

Belgium’s lockdown has been extended until at least 22 January.

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image captionBrussels residents have been told they must wear masks

A maximum of one person is allowed to visit your home (always the same person) and, for meetings outside, the rule of four remains in place.

Masks must be worn everywhere.

Portugal: New lockdown under way

Mainland Portugal entered a new lockdown on 15 January, for the first time since early May.

Remote working is compulsory, non-essential shops and services must close and cafes and restaurants are limited to takeaways and home deliveries only.

This time, however, schools are staying open.

The lockdown is expected to last at least a month, but it will be reviewed after two weeks.

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image captionRestaurants in Lisbon are closed

Netherlands: Schools shut and no travel abroad

Dutch lockdown measures will continue until at least 9 February.

All non-essential shops, cinemas, hairdressers, gyms and schools are closed.

The government advises against booking any trips abroad until at least 31 March.

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image captionWaiting for takeaways in Amsterdam

Denmark: Lockdown extended

Denmark has extended its lockdown, imposed in December, until 7 February.

All shops and other businesses will remain closed apart from supermarkets and pharmacies.

Restrictions include the closure of schools and universities, and home-working for most people.

A maximum of five people can meet in a public space and and face masks are mandatory in indoor public areas.

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image captionPassengers wear face masks on the metro in Copenhagen

Ireland: Highest level of restrictions

Ireland returned to a full lockdown at the end of December, after rules on travelling were relaxed over Christmas.

The highest level of restrictions – level five – will last at least until the end of January.

People have to stay at home except for travel for work, education or other essential reasons, or to exercise within 5km (3.1 miles) of home.

No visitors are allowed in private homes or gardens unless it is for care of children, elderly or vulnerable. Weddings are limited to six people and funerals to 10.

All non-essential shops, gyms, pools and leisure facilities are closed, and restaurants, pubs and cafes can provide takeaways and deliveries only.

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image captionFace masks on sale in Dublin

Sweden: New government coronavirus powers

Sweden had avoided imposing rules in this crisis, but on 10 January, a new emergency law came into effect.

It give the government the power to impose coronavirus-related curbs for the first time.

Until now, the Swedish government has relied mostly on the public following official health recommendations voluntarily.

The government will now be able to restrict the number of people in shops, businesses and public places, including theatres and swimming pools. Authorities can fine individuals for flouting the rules, as well as order businesses to close in the case of violations.

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image captionA Stockholm restaurant enforces social distancing

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