As infection rates in Brussels, Belgium’s capital, which hosts the headquarters of the European Union, climb to among the highest in Europe, physical meetings will be reduced to the absolute minimum, according to a spokesperson for the German delegation, which holds the rotating presidency of the bloc.
Spain and Italy both extended restrictions this weekend to avoid second lockdowns, with Spain entering a new state of emergency and Italy again tightening limits on bars, restaurants and gyms.
Spain’s new declaration set few nationwide rules, and instead granted regions far greater leeway to take their own measures. In the region of Catalonia, Meritxell Budó, a member of the regional government, said on Monday that Catalans could soon be forced to stay indoors over the weekends, which would amount to a significant extension of the nighttime curfew announced on Sunday by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
In Britain, the number of virus hospitalizations has doubled in the last two weeks, though it is only about 33 percent of its spring peak, according to data released by the European Center for Disease and Control last week.
Ms. Merkel will meet with her governors at the end of the week to assess whether Germany will impose new rules. “We are facing very, very difficult months,” she said in a telephone call with party colleagues on Sunday night, according to the daily Bild. On Monday, Ms. Merkel’s party canceled a leadership conference scheduled for December. Also, the Bavarian district of Rottal-Inn is going into lockdown after registering 260 cases for 100,000 people in a week. Not only will schools, day cares, restaurants and museums close, people will not be allowed to leave their houses without a good reason. The lockdown, which follows another one in a Bavarian district last week, will initially last 10 days.
On Sunday, about 2,000 protesters gathered in Berlin to demonstrate against rules imposed by the government to keep infections at bay. Early Sunday morning, security personnel stopped vandals who were throwing Molotov cocktails at the Robert Koch Institute, the German federal authority that keeps track of infections.