Germany and France, Continental Europe's two largest economies, are at the mercy of a COVID-19 second wave and are falling back on the same tough restrictions that quelled the disease in the summer.
Germany was stunned by a record daily jump in new COVID-19 cases Thursday - reporting 6,638 new infections. This was a 29% jump from 5,132 cases Wednesday.
Germany's previous record daily increase was 6,294 March 28, according to the Robert Koch Institute, the German federal government research institute responsible for disease control and prevention.
Germany reported 33 new deaths - raising the number to 9,710 since the pandemic began in January in Bavaria. It posted 43 deaths Wednesday, 13 Tuesday and 11 Monday.
On Wednesday, Germany announced "considerable restrictions" on public life as it stumbled into what it says is the decisive stage in its efforts to combat the disease's resurgence. The tougher new restrictions on contact between citizens was agreed on following an eight-hour meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country's 16 state premiers.
The restrictions include limits on the number of people at private gatherings and a curfew for bars and restaurants in hot spot areas.
"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."
France has been hit harder. On Wednesday, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health announced more than 9,100 patients were admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 - the most since June 25. The increase led some public health experts to suggest France's medical system might be overwhelmed.
Confirmed cases ballooned this week. There were 8,505 Monday, 12,983 Tuesday, 22,591 Wednesday and 30,621 15 Thursday.
President Emmanuel Macron has ordered a nighttime curfew for Paris, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Rouen, Saint-Étienne and Toulouse. These cities account for a third of France's population.
Macron said residents won't be allowed outdoors between 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) and 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) from Saturday. This curfew is expected to last at least four weeks - except for essential reasons.
"We have to act. We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus," Macron said. "We are going to have to deal with this virus until at least the summer of 2021. We won't be partying."
He said new daily coronavirus cases must be brought down to "3,000 or 5,000" from current levels.