Governments across Europe are ratcheting up restrictions as the continent recorded its highest weekly number of new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said there were more than 700,000 new Covid-19 cases reported in Europe last week, a jump of 34% compared to the previous week, with the UK, France, Russia and Spain accounting for more than half of new infections recorded in the region.
The increasing case numbers in Europe are partly the result of more testing, but the UN health agency noted that deaths were also up 16% in the region last week compared to the previous week.
Doctors are also warning that while many new cases currently affect younger people, who tend to have milder symptoms, the median age could rise again, resulting in more serious illnesses in elderly populations.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered bans on sports games among friends and parties in closed spaces. Private gatherings at homes with more than six people who do not live together are also discouraged.
Like other European countries, Italy is also limiting nightlife, with bars and restaurants having to close at midnight, and drinking while standing at a bar banned after 9pm.
Italy made wearing masks mandatory outdoors last week, a requirement already in place in Spain, Turkey, India and a handful of other Asian countries. Elsewhere in Europe, such mandates are in effect in hotspot cities like Paris, Brussels and Pristina, Kosovo, and are being introduced in several German cities.
French govt says curfews on the table as ministers mull new Covid-19 measures