ITALY is considering to close schools and bring in a 10pm curfew after it suffered its highest ever toll of Covid infections.
Authorities are mulling introducing other measures such as a ban on football matches as a surge of coronavirus cases swept across mainland Europe.
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On Friday more than 10,000 coronavirus cases were reported in Italy.
Italian authorities reportedly met on Saturday evening to discuss the situation and possible measures to stop the spread of the virus.
Cafes and restaurants could be shut from 10pm and compel people to return home.
Cinemas could also be closed and it is expected football matches, both professional and amateur, could be banned.
The tough measures would also see only emergency or essential travel allowed, according to Italian news reports.
There is also expected to be a push to increase the number of people working from home.
Italy’s most populous region, Lombardy, is once again suffering particularly badly from the resurgence in Covid-19 with more than 2,000 reported cases a day.
The intensive care units in the region’s hospitals are said to be coming under strain trying to deal with the amount of infections.
The northern region, where the coronavirus outbreak in Europe began in late February, has already introduced limited bar service and alcohol sales as well as bans on contact sports and closed bingo parlours.
HOSPITALS UNDER STRAIN
Rules banning drinking in public spaces and takeout sales of alcohol have also been outlawed to stop crowds forming in squares.
The regional government has also called for high schools to bring in hybrid schedules with pupils alternating between online and classroom learning.
Italy’s other hardest-hit region Campania, in the south, has also introduced similar strict measures which also include shutting down schools for two weeks.
Following a protest by parents though the regional governor backed off on Friday and allowed daycare centres to stay open.
The Vatican also reported that someone who lives in the same hotel as Pope Frances had tested positive for the coronavirus.
RISE IN CASES ACROSS CONTINENT
Other European countries have been suffering a rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in recent days.
Germany’s disease control centre reported 7,830 cases overnight, a new record, on Saturday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the country to come together as they did in the spring to slow the spread of the disease.
She urged Germans to avoid unnecessary travel, cancel parties and remain at home whenever possible.
In her weekly video podcast she said: "Difficult months are ahead of us.
"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."
Belgium has announced plans for a month-long nationwide curfew from midnight to 5am as well as the closure of all cafes and restaurants on Friday night.
A limit of one non-family “hug friend” per person has been imposed as well as Christmas markets cancelled and a ban on alcohol sales past 8pm.
A “partial lockdown” in The Netherlands was introduced on Wednesday after daily coronavirus cases hit a new record with more than 8,000 new cases were reported in 24 hours.
Bars and restaurants are closed and no alcohol can be served after 8pm.
In France nine cities, including Paris, authorities have forced restaurants, bars and cinemas to close no later than 9pm in an effort to reduce contact among people.
An extra 12,000 cops have been brought in to enforce the new rules.
Austria reported 1,747 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Saturday, a new record.
In the Czech Republic, the number of new infections passed 10,000 for the first time, rising to 11,105 on Friday, the Health Ministry said.
That was nearly 1,400 more than the previous record set the day before.
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