Spain imposes night-time curfew; Italy tightens anti-COVID curbs after rise in cases
Stacked tables and chairs are pictured outside a coffee shop in Burgos, northern SpainImage source: AFP

Spain imposes night-time curfew; Italy tightens anti-COVID curbs after rise in cases

The novel coronavirus is making a strong comeback across Europe after showing signs of easing out

Spain has declared a national state of emergency and imposed a night-time curfew in an effort to help control a new spike in Covid-19 infections. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the curfew, between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am, would come into force on Sunday, the BBC reported.

Under the emergency measures, local authorities can also ban travel between regions, Sanchez said. He said he would ask parliament to extend the new rules, initially in force for 15 days, to six months. Spain was hit hard during the first wave of the pandemic earlier this year and imposed a much more restrictive lockdown - one of the toughest in the world.

On the other side, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also announced new measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Conte said that pubs, bars, restaurants, and ice cream shops must shut down at 6 pm. The new measures will go into effect from Sunday midnight through November 24, the Premier explained during a nationally televised press conference.

According to the new measures, 75 per cent of high school students must follow their lessons remotely, Xinhua news agency reported. Movie theatres, concert halls, gyms, swimming pools, as well as gaming and betting halls, must shut down. All contact sports are suspended except for national leagues.

Also suspended for a month are conferences, trade fairs, and civil ceremonies such as weddings and funerals. Museums, however, can stay open, Conte said. The Prime Minister added that the government will promote smart working in public administration and that it "strongly recommends" the private sector do the same in order to reduce crowding on public transportation. Conte said that while the government is not imposing a curfew, "we strongly recommend that people only leave home for work or health-related reasons."

The move came after the Ministry of Health reported a surge of more than 17,000 infections and 151 fatalities on Saturday, pushing the tally to 203,182 and toll to 37,210 in the country.

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