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The world at a glance: the countries that have started to ease lockdown restrictions


By Megan Burns
27th Apr 2020
The world at a glance: the countries that have started to ease lockdown restrictions

With countries across the world starting to gradually ease lockdown restrictions, we take a look at what this means for each nation


With various forms of lockdown implemented across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, it gives us a little hope when we see that other countries are beginning to ease their lockdown restrictions. Of course, this does not mean that we are ready to do so here, and should remain vigilant, as each nation is at a different stage of the pandemic.

Each country also had its own specific lockdown rules, with some worst-hit countries being much stricter than we have seen in Ireland. Here are some of the countries that have announced how they will be easing their lockdown restrictions.

Italy

Italy was the first European country to impose lockdown restrictions, and has been one of the worst-affected countries worldwide. Yesterday, however, the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, announced that Italy’s manufacturing industry will be allowed to gradually start production on 4 May, but that schools will not reopen until September.

He warned, however, that businesses would have to introduce strict safety measures before being allowed to open to ensure that the virus would not be easily spread.

The northeastern region of Veneto has defied the central Italian government, and has already eased restrictions on cemeteries, takeaways and pizzerias. It is too soon to tell how this has affected the infection rate in this region.

Spain

Yesterday, children under 14 in Spain were allowed outside to exercise for the first time since mid-March when strict restrictions that mandated they were not allowed out at all. Spain has had the second-highest number of infections after the United States, but recorded its lowest daily death toll, as well as a drop in new infections.

Children are now allowed outside for an hour a day within a 1 kilometre radius, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday that if the infection and death rates continue to fall, adults would be allowed to exercise outside individually from May 2.

France 

Although France has not yet allowed any of its restrictions to ease, the Prime Minister Édouard Philippe plans to present a national exit strategy to parliament on Tuesday. This would then be debated and voted on before any implementation.

He also identified what the priorities were for France, which might give some clue as to what the easing of restrictions will focus on. These include people returning to work, schools reopening, widespread testing, getting public transport back to normal and support for the elderly.

Austria

Austria will allow large shops, shopping centres and hairdressers to open from May 1. It has been announced that restaurants and hotels could open from the middle of May if infection rates continue to decline.

Germany

Last week some German shops were allowed to reopen, including bookshops, florists, clothing stores, bike and car shops and other shops smaller than 800 square metres. Masks are “urgently recommended” for anyone going outside their home, and it is also planned that schools will reopen in some capacity next month.

America

US states Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska have eased some of their lockdown restrictions, despite America recording over 55,000 deaths from the virus, and health officials warning it was too soon to do so.

Georgia and Oklahoma allowed salons, spas and barbershops to open, and Alaska made plans for restaurants to open again, as well as retail shops and other businesses to open their doors with hygiene and social distancing restrictions. Orange County in California has allowed beaches to reopen, but not their car parks, in the hope that this will limit the number of people who will use them.

Czech Republic 

Universities are allowed to reopen today in the Czech Republic. Non-essential travel is also permitted now, as is meeting up in groups smaller than 10 people, however masks are mandatory when outside your home.

Featured image: @SpainMFA


Read more: How are six of Ireland’s leading wellness experts keeping their head right now?

Read more: Twelve thoughtful Irish-made gifts to send to the grandparents we miss

Read more: We all need a simple daily practice to get us through lockdown – here’s how to find one that works for you