Europe tightens restrictions as coronavirus infections rise
European countries are tightening restrictions as they struggle to contain rapidly increasing coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.
Coronavirus cases hit new daily highs this week in Russia, and Germany and the U.K. announced plans Tuesday to expand virus testing.
Nations reintroduced restrictions to make progress against a virus that has caused more than 1.2 million deaths around the globe, over 270,000 of them in Europe, and is straining health care systems.
New measures took effect Tuesday in Austria, Greece and Sweden, following a partial shutdown imposed in Germany Monday and tighter rules in Italy, France, Kosovo and Croatia.
France's daily COVID-19 death toll spiked by 854 on Tuesday, an increase unseen since April 15, while the number of people hospitalised for the disease went up by more than a 1,000 for the fifth time in nine days.
The number of cases in France now totals 1,502,763, the fifth-highest in the world, and the death toll stands at 38,289, the seventh-highest globally.
Infections spiked in Russia, where authorities reported 18.648 new cases Tuesday. It was the fifth straight day of more than 18,000 confirmed cases, compared to the country's daily record of over 11,000 in the spring.
Russia has the world's fourth-highest reported coronavirus caseload with over 1.6 million people confirmed infected, including more than 28,000 who died in the pandemic.
The country lifted most virus-related restrictions this summer, and Russian officials say the health care system can cope. However, alarming reports have surfaced of overwhelmed hospitals, drug shortages and inundated medical workers.
Sweden, where the government skipped the lockdowns other nations adopted for a much-debated approach that kept much of society open, set new nationwide limits on restaurants and cafes, ordering them them to serve only seated customers and with a maximum of eight per table.
The Scandinavian country of 10 million people has 134,532 reported cases and nearly 6,000 deaths.