The Czech Republic is imposing a three-week partial lockdown shutting schools, bars and clubs, as Europe struggles to contain a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases.

Prague school pupils, May 2020

The country has the region’s highest new infection rate per 100,000 people. Restaurants will be closed and public consumption of alcohol is banned.

In the Netherlands, a partial lockdown was announced, and masks have become compulsory in public indoor spaces.

Meanwhile, hospital admissions are rising fast again in many countries.

Hospitals in Paris could have 90% of their intensive care beds filled by the end next week, Martin Hirsch, the head of public hospital group APHP, warned.

President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce further restrictions in a televised address on Wednesday. Local media reports suggest that cities considered hotspots, including Paris, could face evening curfews. Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “watching with great concern” the situation in Europe, and added: “I must say the situation continues to be serious.” German health officials reported more than 5,000 new cases on Wednesday, for the first time since April.

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