A call for social distancing and restrictions on travel have left some of Europe’s biggest cities looking deserted as governments across the continent take drastic measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
Paris on lockdown
Activity on the bustling streets of Paris came to a complete halt after France announced a nationwide lockdown last Tuesday. People are not allowed to leave their homes, unless it is for a sanctioned reason such as buying food, visiting a doctor or going to work. The mayor of Paris, however, has called for stricter confinement measures as the number of infections increases worldwide.
Germany’s capital goes quiet
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday announced tightened restrictions on movement in Germany. The nine-point plan includes no public gatherings of more than two people, keeping 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) distance between people at all times and the closure of restaurants. Later on Sunday, Merkel went into quarantine after being told she’d come into contact with a doctor who tested positive for COVID-19.
Foreigners barred, borders closed
In addition to limiting movement domestically, Germany has tightened restrictions on foreigners entering the country. As a result, traffic at the country’s busiest airport, in Frankfurt, has seen a significant drop.
Bavarians ordered to stay at home
The southern state of Bavaria imposed a statewide lockdown late last week to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Under the measures that will be in force for at least two weeks, people are not allowed to gather outside in groups and restaurants have been closed.
Britain urges social distancing
The United Kingdom has closed all bars, pubs and restaurants to combat the threat of coronavirus. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged all citizens to avoid all nonessential travel and contact with other people indefinitely.
Milan: In the heart of the pandemic
In recent weeks, the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic has shifted from China to Italy. The country has seen an exponentional increase in infections and deaths. Italy has been on a nationwide lockdown since March 10.
Vatican closes to public
While an overwhelming number of coronavirus cases have been recorded in Italy’s northern Lombardy region, Rome and Vatican City have also been forced to severely curb public gatherings. Popular tourist sites such as St. Peter’s Square have been closed.
Spain: One of Europe’s hardest-hit countries
The Spanish government on Sunday sought to extend the country’s state of emergency until April 11, close to a month after it was first imposed on March 14. Spain currently has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe, with Barcelona and Madrid particularly hard-hit.
Infection rate slows in Austria
Austria reported a 15% rise in confirmed coronavirus cases over the weekend, far lower than its peak rate of 40%. The decrease comes after the government imposed drastic social distancing measures across the country. Authorities in Vienna, however, aim to bring the rate down to single digits over the next three weeks.