The weather has turned distinctly autumnal in Europe, but the pandemic looks much like it did in the spring, with cases climbing at alarming rates in nearly every country.
Britain, which had the greatest surge of excess deaths during the pandemic’s first peak in Europe and still holds the most reported deaths in the region, has recorded 151,391 new cases in the past seven days, according to a New York Times database.
In Germany, where 71,567 new cases have been documented in the past week, Chancellor Angela Merkel said she foresees a bleak winter ahead, and in neighboring Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz evoked the possibility of a second lockdown as cases continued to spike.
Experts in Belgium, which has recorded 83,156 cases in the past seven days, warned that the country is entering a crucial week for its hospitals.
France has added nearly a quarter of a million cases — 241,473 — in the past seven days. On Sunday alone, the country reported 52,010 new cases, and the head of the scientific council that advises the government on the pandemic said that the real number could be over 100,000 cases per day.
Jean François Delfraissy, an immunologist and expert in emerging diseases who heads the panel, said in a radio interview on Monday that the situation was “difficult, not to say critical.” France has now surpassed one million total cases. Mr. Delfraissy urged a stricter curfew that could eventually be tightened into a lockdown, or an immediate lockdown “lighter than the one in the month of March” that would allow schools and some economic activity to operate.
In Belgium, 467 people are being admitted to the hospitals each day, a rise of 85 percent compared to a week ago, with 5,000 people in the hospitals and 750 of them in intensive care units.
“Without changing the infection curve, we should have 2,000 patients in intensive care in two weeks, which is our maximum capacity,” Yves Van Laethem, the spokesperson for Belgium’s crisis center, said on Monday at a news conference.
Rules differ among the country’s three regions. Starting on Wednesday, high school students in two regions, Wallonia and Brussels, will no longer be allowed to attend in person.
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.