Paris-People in France and Germany were bracing Wednesday for tough new curbs on their daily lives as Europe struggled to contain an alarming surge in coronavirus cases with winter looming. 

The deepening gloom across the continent contrasted with the jubilation in Australia’s second city of Melbourne where champagne corks popped to celebrate the end of a months-long lockdown.

The pandemic has unleashed devastation across the global economy since emerging in China at the end of last year, whereas, in the absence of a vaccine or effective treatment, countries are being forced to impose widely unpopular Covid-19 restrictions that have sparked violent clashes in Italy.

Much of the United States -- the worst-hit nation in the world -- is also bracing for a tough winter, and the pandemic is dominating the campaign for next week’s election.

In Europe, the main stock markets tumbled as investors fretted over the tighter measures expected to be imposed in the EU’s leading economies.

Daily cases of Covid-19 in France have topped 50,000, while Germany is regularly reporting 10,000 new infections.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also expected to push for tighter restrictions in crisis talks with regional leaders Wednesday.

The proposed measures include closing restaurants and bars and putting strict limits on private and public gatherings while keeping schools, daycares and shops open, according to the Bild daily.

And in Russia, an order making masks mandatory at public gatherings, on public transport and in elevators is set to come into force Wednesday.