New Covid restrictions are being imposed across Europe as the continent recorded its highest weekly number of new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said there were more than 700,000 new Covid-19 cases reported in Europe last week, a jump of 34% compared to the previous week, with the UK, France, Russia and Spain accounting for more than half of new infections recorded in the region.

The increasing case numbers in Europe are partly the result of more testing, but the UN health agency noted that deaths were also up 16% in the region last week compared to the previous week.

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What restrictions are being imposed in Europe?

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered bans on sports games among friends and parties in closed spaces. Private gatherings at homes with more than six people who do not live together are also discouraged.

Like other European countries, Italy is also limiting nightlife, with bars and restaurants having to close at midnight, and drinking while standing at a bar banned after 9pm.

Italy made wearing masks mandatory outdoors last week, a requirement already in place in Spain, Turkey, India and a handful of other Asian countries. Elsewhere in Europe, such mandates are in effect in hotspot cities like Paris, Brussels and Pristina, Kosovo, and are being introduced in several German cities.

Even with virus infections rising again, governments are eager to avoid the total lockdowns they imposed back then that caused huge economic damage and job losses.

The UN health agency has cautioned against a one-size-fits-all mindset when it comes to restrictive measures. WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva that lockdowns should be a "last resort".

Chancellor Angela Merkel has summoned the governors of Germany's 16 states to meet in person for the first time since mid-June. Bavarian governor Markus Soeder called for "a really clear set of rules for everyone in the coming weeks" to prevent the situation spinning out of control.

In an effort to keep people and goods moving throughout the European Union, member countries approved a traffic light system on Tuesday.

The countries agreed to not restrict people travelling between so-called green areas - where virus infection numbers are low - but EU governments will continue to set their own restrictions, such as quarantines or mandatory testing upon arrival, for people coming from orange or red zones.

Under the criteria, most of EU regions would be either red or orange.

How do the rules compare to Scotland?

New measures were introduced by the Scottish Government last Friday which mean pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes outside central Scotland can only conduct indoor business between 6am and 6pm and not serve alcohol, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.

Pubs and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley – were forced to close for all but takeaway service until October 26.

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Snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling, casinos and bingo halls were made to close and no outdoor live events are allowed in these five areas.

In addition, shops were asked to return to two metres of physical distancing and to reintroduce measures from earlier in the pandemic such as one-way systems.