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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

Ticks in Denmark: How to protect yourself and what to do if you get bitten

Thousands of people in Denmark are bitten by ticks each year, especially during the summer months. Although most people are left unaffected, an estimated three thousand cases a year in Denmark turn into Lyme disease.

Ticks in Denmark: How to protect yourself and what to do if you get bitten

The humid and warm weather Denmark has experienced so far this year could make ticks even more common than usual this summer, an official said.

Ticks (skovflåter) can be found all over Denmark in forests, meadows, and long grass. They are particularly active during the summer months and increase in number if the weather has been warm and humid. So if you’re hiking, camping or berry-picking this summer, there’s a risk of getting a tick bite (skovflåtbid).

What are ticks?

Ticks are small, spider-like creatures which vary in size, usually between 1mm to 1cm long. They do not fly or jump but climb on to animals or humans as they brush past. Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off. In Denmark, ticks are often found on rodents or deer and they are particularly prevalent between May and October. 

Lyme Disease (Borreliose

In Denmark, the most common disease ticks transmit is Lyme disease and around 15 per cent of ticks in Denmark’s forests carry this.

It is not known exactly how many people in Denmark get Lyme disease every year, but it is estimated that there are a few thousand cases.

However this is a very small percentage of those who have been bitten by a tick. Broadcaster TV2 has reported that in 98 per cent of cases, people do not get ill from a tick bite.

“If you remove the tick within 24 hours, you most likely won’t get Lyme disease, as it takes longer than this for the bacteria, called borrelia, to transfer to the bloodstream,” Peter Andersen, senior medical officer at the State Serum Institute’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention department, told The Local.

Andersen said that humid and warm weather in Denmark so far this year has caused a high number of ticks.

For those who do develop Lyme disease, the symptoms usually appear between two and six weeks after the bite, but sometimes longer.

Some people can get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after being bitten by an infected tick. Children may complain of stomach ache, lose their appetite or lack energy.

But the most obvious sign of Lyme disease is a red circular rash around the bite.

“If you’ve had a tick bite, observe the area to check you don’t get a circular rash, which can indicate you’ve been infected. If this happens, contact a doctor to get treatment. Most infections will be treated with penicillin,” Andersen said, adding that treating Lyme disease is straight forward.

“But the danger is if you don’t acknowledge the rash, then the disease can spread to the nervous system,” Andersen warned.

This is called neuroborreliosis and occurs in around one in ten of of Lyme disease cases.

The symptoms of neuroborreliosis typically appear as headaches and neck or back stiffness and radiating nerve pain or muscle paralysis, typically in the face.

People with neuroborreliosis need to be treated in hospital.

There were 216 cases of neuroborreliosis in Denmark last year, according to the State Serum Institute, the country’s infectious disease control agency. That’s an increase from 197 cases in 2020 and 171 cases in 2019.

Most cases each year are detected between July and September and neuroborreliosis most frequently occurs in children aged 5-10 and adults aged 60-70.

TBE – Tick-borne encephalitis (flåtbåren hjernebetændelse)

This is more rare and is a viral brain infection caused by a particular tick bite. Flu-like symptoms can occur a week or more after the bite and can develop to include nausea, dizziness, and in around a third of cases, severe problems. 

In Denmark, TBE cases tend to only occur on Baltic Sea island Bornholm, where there are around 3 cases a year. There have been two reported cases in North Zealand in 2008 and 2009.

In Denmark, a TBE vaccination is recommended for people who travel regularly in areas with TBE. There isn’t a vaccination for Lyme disease.

What if I get bitten by a tick?

If you do find a tick, you should remove it quickly with a special tick remover (available at all pharmacies), tweezers or your nail. The sooner you can do this, the lower the risk the tick will be able to infect you.

The important thing is making sure you remove the whole tick, by grabbing it as close to the skin as possible and pulling slowly. Then wash and clean the bite, and contact a doctor if you’re worried.

Prevention

If you’ll be spending time in wooded areas with long grass, especially those known to have a high tick presence, you should wear boots along with long sleeved light clothing so you can see the ticks, and tuck trousers into socks. Mosquito repellent has also been proven to help deter ticks.

“Proper clothing is a good prevention but it’s not always realistic to wear long sleeves and trousers when it’s warm. So if you have been outside in nature, you should check yourself in the evening or get a family member to check you for ticks,” Andersen suggested to The Local.

Ticks tend to bite around thin areas of the skin such as kneecaps, groin, armpits and hairline. In children, they can often be found on their scalp and behind the ears.

“Ticks are very small and look like a tiny dot so they can be easily missed. They start to enlarge when they suck blood and then the red rash can appear,” Andersen said. 

Despite their high presence, ticks shouldn’t put you off enjoying Denmark’s nature this summer; keeping vigilant to the tiny black insects should keep any tick-related illness at bay.

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