Covid: How other countries are tackling the second wave differently from the UK

Spain has limited travel to or from some parts of Madrid to quell the rise in infections. Credit: AP

After entire nations were shut down during the first surge of the coronavirus earlier this year, some countries are trying more targeted measures as cases rise again, especially in Europe and the Americas.

Here's a look at lockdown restrictions around the world:

A 9pm curfew is in place in Paris and other parts of France. Credit: AP


As of Saturday, several French cities, including Paris and Marseille, were subject to restrictions including a 9pm curfew.

Schools remain open and people will still be able to travel between regions during the day.

However, restaurant and bar owners in Marseille said the city was unfairly targeted last month for the nation’s toughest virus rules at the time.

France reported about 180 positive cases per 100,000 people during the last week and higher concentrations in some cities.

Last week, new daily infections peaked at more than 30,000.

President Emmanuel Macron also reinstated the state of health emergency for France which ended three months ago.

(PA Graphics) Credit: PA Graphics


Spanish officials have limited travel to and from some parts of Madrid before restrictions were widened throughout the capital and some suburbs.

The new restrictions will impact 860,000 people, or 13% of the region's 6.6 million residents, in an area where one of every four new virus infections are being detected.

The areas are also the poorest, more densely populated, and have a prevalent virus incidence above 1,000 cases per 100,000 for the past 14 days.

Residents of working-class areas in Madrid under mobility restrictions said authorities were stigmatising the poor.

Residents in an apartment in Mondragone were ordered to quarantine for 15 days. Credit: AP


Italy has introduced tight restrictions after it recorded its highest ever daily toll of infections.

With more testing in place, new daily infections in Italy have doubled in a week to more than 10,000.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte introduced a rule of six and has given mayors powers to impose a 9pm curfew in public spaces.

Restaurants and bars can only operate with table service after 6pm, but can stay open until midnight, while local festivals have been banned.

Italy also has a strict procedure for quarantine, with patients only permitted to end self-isolation if they have tested negative for coronavirus twice 24 hours apart.

Authorities have also quarantined areas as small as a single building.

When an apartment complex housing mostly Bulgarian migrant farm workers was locked down in late June in the Italian city of Mondragone, the workers protested, and about a dozen broke the quarantine.

Other residents of Mondragone feared infection would spread and, at one point, surrounded the buildings and jeered at the residents, one of whom tossed down a chair.

Eventually, authorities called in the army to maintain the quarantine and keep the peace.

Germany will impose stricter measures for mask-wearing. Credit: AP


Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to come together like they did in the spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the country posted another daily record of new cases over the weekend.

“Difficult months are ahead of us,” she said in her weekly video podcast. “How winter will be, how our Christmas will be, that will all be decided in these coming days and weeks, and it will be decided by our behaviour.”

Last week, Ms Merkel and the governors of Germany's 16 states agreed to tighten mask-wearing rules, limit gatherings to 10 people and close bars early in areas with high infection rates.

The decision came hours after Germany reported more than 5,000 infections in one day for the first time since mid-April.

Authorities have called for districts to take action when they report 50 new infections per 100,000 residents over seven days. Many major cities have exceeded that mark recently, including Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich.

The new restrictions will see action taken once infections hit 35 per 100,000 people.


Despite a rise in coronavirus cases and deaths, the US infectious diseases adviser Dr Anthony Fauci says that things would have to get "really, really bad" for him to advocate for a national lockdown.

The US is averaging more than 55,000 new cases a day and last Friday recorded the most infections in a single day since July. More than 8.1 million cases have been reported and 219,666 people have died.

Half of the US states are reporting an increase in new Covid cases.

A schoolboy has his temperature taken in New York. Credit: AP

New York’s latest round of virus shutdowns zeroes in on individual neighbourhoods, closing schools and businesses in hotspots measuring just a couple of square miles.

In New York’s most restricted “red zones”, houses of worship cannot admit more than 10 people at a time and schools and non-essential businesses have been closed. Those zones are ensconced in small orange and yellow zones with lighter restrictions.

Wisconsin issued an emergency order on Tuesday limiting public gatherings to no more than 25% of a room or building's total occupancy, the governor's after reporting its highest daily infections, death toll and hospitalisations.

Meanwhile, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear instructed authorities to step up mask enforcement.

And in New Mexico, a cap on mass gatherings was announced and a 10pm curfew was put in place for venues serving alcohol.

Some researchers, however, say officials need to consider not just where people live, but where else they go.

For example, in New York City, people can escape restrictions entirely by taking the subway one or two stops.

Dr Wafaa El-Sadr, who is on advisory boards in New York City, said: “It is pragmatic in appreciation of ‘restriction fatigue’… but it is strategic, allowing for mobilisation of substantial resources to where they are needed most.”

Other scientists are more wary. Benjamin Althouse, a research scientist with the Institute for Disease Modelling in Washington state, said: “If we’re serious about wiping out Covid in an area, we need co-ordinated responses.”

Mr Althouse and other scientists have found that amid patchwork coronavirus-control measures in the US this spring, some people travelled farther than usual for such activities as worship, suggesting they might have responded to closures by moving to less-restricted areas.

However, he noted that choosing between limited closures and more widespread restrictions is “a very, very difficult decision”, adding: “I’m glad I’m not the one making it.”

Water canons were fired at demonstrators in Prague protesting at the new Covid measures. Credit: AP

Czech Republic

A surge in infections in the Czech Republic in recent weeks has made it one of Europe’s worst-hit countries.

Authorities have reinstated a nationwide restrictions including a ban on sports competitions, the closure of bars and restaurants, and a ban on public gatherings of more than six people. Authorities are closing all schools until November 2.

The new measures sparked a violent protest in Prague at the weekend.


Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last week that the country needed to move a step closer to a full lockdown due to the spread of the virus, with cases increasing by some 60% in a week.

As of last Wednesday, bars and restaurants were closed, the sale of alcohol after 8pm was banned and households could receive no more than three guests per day.

People were also advised to limit their use of public transport as much as possible.

Women wearing face masks walk through a shopping mall in Beijing. Credit: AP


Foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas and residence permits for work have now been permitted to return to the country after a months-long ban as the threat of new cases continues to recede.

Returnees will be required to undergo two weeks of quarantine and follow other pandemic measures.

Officials announced seven new coronavirus cases Thursday, all of them imported, marking 39 days since China has reported a case of domestic transmission.


Restrictions in Melbourne have been eased, with residents no longer limited in the time they can spend away from home for education or socialising.

Restrictions allowing people to travel three miles from home have been increased to 15 miles, and outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people from two households will be allowed.

The partial reopening of shops, bars and restaurants will begin on November 2.

Early in the outbreak, countries tried to quell hot spots from Wuhan, China – where a stringent lockdown was seen as key in suppressing transmission in the world’s most populous nation – to Italy, where a decision to seal off 10 towns in the northern region of Lombardy evolved within weeks into a nationwide lockdown.

Other governments hope smaller-scale shutdowns can work this time, in conjunction with testing, contact tracing and other initiatives.

Some scientists say a localised approach, if well-tailored and explained to the public, can be a nimble response at a complex point in the pandemic.

For hotspot shutdowns to work, public health experts say, the message behind the measures is key.

Rutgers University epidemiology and biostatistics professor Henry F Raymond said: “Lead with: ‘Here’s a community in need. We should be empathetic.’

“It’s not a criticism of those people’s behaviours. It’s just saying: ‘These communities might need more attention.'”