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Covid: How are European countries tackling the pandemic?

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image captionThe Louvre in Paris remains shut

Europe's response to the coronavirus pandemic varies from country to country, depending on the rates of coronavirus infection.

Some have eased earlier restrictions only to re-impose and even toughen them - to try to limit the spread of Covid-19 over Christmas.

Germany: Nationwide lockdown

Germany introduced a new nationwide lockdown on 16 December - it will last until 10 January.

Non-essential shops, businesses such as hairdressers and schools are closed. Restaurants, bars and leisure centres also remain closed.

Up to five people (from a maximum of two households) are allowed to gather in a home.

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image captionBerlin has seen a steep rise in infections

From 24 to 26 December, one household will be able to host a maximum of four close family members from other households, excluding children.

France: Nationwide curfew

On 15 December, France relaxed the national lockdown in place since late October.

People no longer need to fill out a form to say why they are leaving their homes. But bars, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and ski resort lifts remain shut.

A nationwide curfew is in force between 20:00 and 06:00 - it will be lifted for Christmas Eve but not on New Year's Eve.

The new measures will stay in place until at least 20 January.

Nurseries and schools are open, but universities will remain shut until February 2021, at the earliest.

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image captionParis bars have been closed since mid-October

Greece: Text requests to leave home

People must get permission to leave their homes by sending a text message to a government number, including the reason and their personal details.

A nationwide curfew now runs between 22:00 and 05:00, shops are shut, as are nurseries and primary and secondary schools.

The majority of the measures will remain in place over Christmas, including the curfew. The lockdown is due to end on 7 January.

From 18 December, the compulsory quarantine for travellers arriving in Greece was reduced from 10 to three days.

They still need proof of a negative coronavirus test.

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image captionDog-walkers in Athens are masked up

Italy: Nationwide lockdown

Italy will be in a nationwide lockdown over much of the Christmas and New Year period.

Between 24 to 27 December, 31 December and 3 January and 5 and 6 January, people will be allowed to leave home for work, health and emergency reasons only.

All bars, restaurants and most shops, as well as hairdressers and beauticians, will be closed.

The rules will allow a maximum of two guests, not including people under the age of 14, per household.

A nationwide curfew from 22:00 to 05:00 will remain in place.

image copyrightAFP
image captionRome's normally crowded streets have thinned out

Spain: New rules for Christmas

From 23 December to 6 January, travel between regions will only be allowed for visiting friends and family.

Social gatherings on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day will be limited to 10 people, including children (up from the current six).

Spain is under a nationwide curfew (between 23:00 and 06:00) until early May 2021.

People are only allowed out in that period to go to work, buy medicine, or care for elderly people or children.

Regional leaders can modify curfew times and can also close regional borders for travel.

Anyone aged over six must wear a face covering on public transport and in indoor public spaces nationwide. They are also compulsory outdoors in many regions.

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image captionCovid hygiene rules in Barcelona

Belgium: Rules on home visits

Normal rules allow a maximum of one person to visit your home (always the same person) - the so-called "close contact".

If you are living on your own, you are allowed to meet one other person in your home, but never at the same time as your "close contact".

On 24 and 25 December, that rule will be relaxed and single people will be allowed to have their "close contact" and one other person visit them at the same time.

For meetings outside, the rule of four remains.

On New Year's Eve, there will be a fireworks ban, but the curfew will be shortened, from midnight until 5 am.

All shops reopened on 1 December, but people are being told to shop alone and for no more than 30 minutes.

Businesses offering personal services such as hairdressing remain closed, as do all bars, cafes and restaurants. However they can offer takeaways until 22:00.

Masks must be worn everywhere.

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image captionBrussels warns residents they must wear masks

Portugal: Shorter curfew over Christmas

Portugal is under a 'state of emergency' until 23 December.

Rules will be relaxed over Christmas. Travel between regions will be allowed from 23 to 26 December.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the curfew will be from 02:00 to 05:00 and restaurants will be allowed to open until 01:00.

The rules will be a lot stricter around New Year. There will be a curfew from 23:00 on 31 December and a curfew from 13:00pm on 1, 2 and 3 January.

There will also be a ban on movement between regions from midnight on 31 December to 05:00 on 4 January, except for health reasons and other emergencies.

Netherlands: New lockdown

All non-essential shops, cinemas, hairdressers, gyms and schools are closed. Households are only allowed two guests.

Restrictions will be eased slightly for the three days of Christmas, allowing three guests per household, not counting children under 13.

On New Year's Eve there will be a fireworks ban.

The government advises against all non-essential travel abroad until mid-March.

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image captionWaiting for takeaways in Amsterdam

Czech Republic: New lockdown

Restaurants, hotels and indoor sports venues are closed but shops are open. Public gatherings are limited to six people indoors and out.

A nationwide curfew from 2300 to 0500 is in force.

Denmark: Christmas lockdown

Denmark will be in a full national lockdown from 25 December to 3 January. All shops and other businesses will be closed apart from supermarkets and pharmacies.

Across the country, alcohol sales after 22:00 are banned until 3 January.

A maximum of 10 people can attend social gatherings indoors and this will apply during Christmas too. The authorities are urging people to observe social distancing rules.

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image captionPassengers wear face masks on the metro in Copenhagen

Ireland: Rules on travelling relaxed

Up to three households are allowed to meet indoors and restrictions on travelling between counties have been relaxed.

Restaurants, cafes, hotels and pubs with kitchens reopened in early December, after being closed for six weeks.

Shops, hotels, hairdressers, museums and libraries are also open and people can attend religious services again.

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image captionFace masks on sale in Dublin

Sweden: Bars and restaurants to close early

Sweden's government is recommending wearing face masks on public transport during the rush hour, for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

The number of people allowed to sit together in restaurants is being cut, from eight to four, and alcohol sales are banned after 20:00.

Over the Christmas period, Swedes are advised to gather outdoors if possible and avoid travelling by train or bus.

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image captionA Stockholm restaurant enforces social distancing

Students over 16 have switched to online lessons. In the Stockholm region, this measure has been extended to students aged 13 to 15.

There are other measures which the government advises, such as social distancing, but Sweden has generally avoided imposing rules in this crisis.

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