Coronavirus: How European countries are easing the lockdown?
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Europe has been among the hardest-hit regions in the world. However, as the nations witness a decline in the rise in daily cases, several have started easing lockdown measures imposed to curb the spread of the outbreak. After months of lockdown, here's what the situation looks like for the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Italy, and France.
The lockdown in the UK will stay in place until June 1, with "careful" easing restrictions. Those who cannot work from home are being encouraged to return to work. While schools could partially reopen from June, people are being allowed to go outdoors from Wednesday. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said hospitality businesses and other public places could also reopen from July.
Johnson also unveiled a COVID Alert System, ranging from level 1 to level 5. The system would help flag risks in different parts of the country and manage restrictions accordingly. Johnson said the country is currently at level 4.
As part of the new lockdown measures, people in France would not have to provide travel certificates anymore. Car journeys are permitted up to a distance of 100 km from home and a certificate is required for longer travels. Primary schools/nurseries will reopen from Monday with restrictions. France has also been split into red and green zones. Paris has been declared a red zone.
In green zones, schools for 11 to 15-year-olds will reopen from May 18. All shops will be allowed to reopen, however, bars and restaurants will remain closed. Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed. Vulnerable groups are being allowed to go outdoors.
Spain had unveiled a four-stage plan to ease lockdown restrictions from May 4. Lockdown restrictions will be eased in two-week blocks until June 10 starting with limited regions, subject to review. Schools can partially reopen from May 26, but a full reopening is not expected until September. Churches and mosques can reopen from May 11 at partial capacity.
Cinemas, theaters, and exhibitions have been allowed to reopen from May 26. From May 11, customers can order a beer in a terrace bar. However, bars and restaurants will not fully reopen until June 10, with strict restrictions.
Italy had relaxed some lockdown restrictions in early May, allowing people to visit their relatives. However, visits to other regions are still banned. Bars and restaurants, which can offer takeaway services, may fully reopen for dine-in service from June 1. Salons and hairdressers will be allowed to function from June 1. Museums, libraries, and limited shops will be allowed to reopen from May 18.
Germany has largely relaxed the lockdown with the reopening of shops and partial reopening of schools. Bundesliga football matches have been allowed to resume, however, big public festivals are banned until August. Lifting lockdown measures will now be up to the nation's 16 federal states.