UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new four-week coronavirus lockdown for England. “Now is the time to take action because there's no alternative,” he said in a televised address to the nation.
Under the new lockdown which will come into effect from Thursday, people must stay at home except in cases where exemptions apply, such as for work, education or exercise, while all but essential shops will close.
However, schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
But pubs and restaurants will remain closed unless serving takeaway food, and all leisure and entertainment venues will close.
“We have got to be humble in the face of nature. In this country, alas, as in much of Europe, the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers,” said.
The devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already imposed partial lockdowns.
Europe goes for partial lockdowns
European neighbours have also announced new measures to curb the spread of the virus.
On Saturday, Austria brought in a second lockdown of its own, while Greece declared a partial one.
Ireland opted for a more strict lockdown a week before the other countries made a move.
Portugal on Saturday announced a partial lockdown from Wednesday to halt the spread of Covid-19.
“The moment has arrived when it is necessary to take more restrictive measures... in order to take control of this pandemic,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa said following a cabinet meeting.
According to the new rules, people will still be able to work if they cannot work from home and to take children to school. Shops will have to shut by 10pm and businesses will have to adopt staggered working hours.
Portugal on Friday recorded 656 new coronavirus cases and 40 deaths.
Protests and vandalism
Italy is eyeing a new lockdown after reporting 31,758 new cases of Covid-19.
The new measures could involve prohibiting travel between regions and limiting business activity in metropolitan "red zones".
On Sunday, Italy introduced new nationwide coronavirus restrictions, including the closure of all cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools and the closing of restaurants and bars at 6:00 pm.
The new restrictions had triggered protests in Rome, Milan, Naples and Turin that were marked by violence and vandalism.
Protesters in several Spanish cities clashed with security forces for a second night running, with with reports of looting and vandalism breaking out in some cities on the fringe of protests.
The country has imposed a nationwide nighttime curfew and almost all of Spain's regions have imposed regional border closures to prevent long-distance travel.
The biggest disturbances were in Madrid, followed by Malaga in the south and Barcelona in the northeast.
The virus has killed at least 1,196,109 people worldwide since the outbreak emerged last December, infecting more than 46 million.