It’s a scenario many ruled out after the summer, when coronavirus cases were receding across Europe and borders were re-opening. A resurgence was expected, but the conviction was that a targeted approach would do.

That early sense of victory has given way to disappointment, and set the stage for a deeper crisis with major cities under curfew and central governments openly clashing with local officials on the way forward.

“The hope was that the second wave would be easier to control because we know how to identify and contain clusters and keep the economy running,” said Christian Odendahl, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform. “But that has not worked in Europe.”

The latest figures from Germany, France, Italy and Ireland show records in infections, while Spain had the most new cases since April. Hospitalization and death rates have ticked up across the region.