The new measures are introduced as new cases are hitting 100,000 daily in Europe. Nearly 20,000 infections were reported in Britain, while Italy, Switzerland and Russia were among nations with record case numbers.
Germany at ‘decisive stage’
The German government announced the new measures as daily infections passed 5,000 — the highest since April – and the country entered a "decisive" stage in its efforts to combat the virus.
The measures, which include limits on the number of people at private gatherings and a curfew for bars and restaurants in areas deemed hotspots, were agreed following an eight-hour meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country's 16 state premiers.
"I am convinced that what we do now will be decisive for how we come through this pandemic," Merkel said. "We are already in a phase of exponential growth, the daily numbers show that.”
Curfew, public health emergency in France
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a late night curfew for residents in Paris, Marseille and seven other cities.
The restriction, which will come into force on Saturday and last for at least four weeks, will mean residents will not be able to go to restaurants or private homes during these hours.
Macron said on national television: "We have to act. We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus."
The government also declared a public health state of emergency, giving officials greater powers to impose new measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 epidemic constitutes a public health disaster which, by its character and its severity, puts at risk the health of the population,” the government said in a statement announcing the state of emergency.
“It justifies the declaration of a state of emergency so that measures can be adopted ... which are strictly proportionate to the public health risks.”