At first, the front line of Europe’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic was fought in hospitals by overstretched health care workers. Now, as European countries seek to avoid the long-dreaded second wave, that line has shifted to the streets — and is being manned by police forces.

In the last week, several European countries have seen record infection rates. Not since the spring have countries like FranceGermanyItaly and Spain seen such a surge in the number of new cases. Countries like Greece and Croatia, largely spared by the first wave, have also seen fast rises in August as tourists, taking advantage of the reopening of Europe’s internal borders in June, headed to the beach for their summer holidays.

With authorities determined to avoid a second wave of lockdowns, legislation has been introduced to try and stop the spread of the virus. Nightclubs have been closed in Italy and in Greece, curfews introduced in Spain, Italy and Greece, and face masks made mandatory in an ever-growing number of public, outdoor spaces, in most EU countries: a gradual tightening of regulations that now have to be enforced.

The fight against Covid-19 has become, in these last couple of weeks in Europe, a matter of law and order.

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