Italy, France and Spain to ease lockdown restrictions
Just weeks ago France, Italy and Spain were being pulverised by coronavirus, but now they’re set to ease restrictions — and other countries are watching closely.
Other than the US, which has become the new epicentre for the disease, these three countries have the highest numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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In Italy, which was the first European country to impose a lockdown in March, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said manufacturing and construction could start as soon as 4 May.
Some businesses deemed “strategic”, including activity that was mainly export-oriented, could reopen this week providing they get the go-ahead from local prefects, he told Italian daily La Repubblica.
Exporting companies need to resume activity sooner to reduce the risk of being cut out of the production chain and losing business, Mr Conte added.
The Italian Prime Minister said schools, however, would not reopen until September. Measures would be announced early this week,
Meanwhile, France also appears to be gearing up for an end to lockdown restrictions.
Prime Minister Édouard Philippe will present a national exit strategy to parliament on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister said there were 17 priorities that would make the country return to normal.
These include reopening schools, companies returning to work, getting public transport back to normal, the supply of masks and sanitiser, testing policy and support for elderly people.
In Spain, coronavirus deaths in the country dropped below 300, and children under 14 are now allowed out to exercise on the streets for the first time in six weeks.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will also allow adults to exercise outside from next weekend.
Health authorities announced plans for a move towards “a new normality” after hearing of the decrease in death rates.
Speaking on Sunday, Fernando Simon, the head of Spain’s centre for health emergencies, told media that recent figures showed a “clear descending trend”.
The Government’s decision to allow some non-essential workers to return to their jobs a fortnight ago had not had any negative impact so far, he said.
THE REST OF THE WORLD
Several other European countries, including Belgium, Greece and Malta, have already announced a tentative easing of restrictions.
Under Belgium’s new rules, all shops will be allowed to open their doors again from May 11, with schools reopening the following week – albeit with a cap on pupil numbers in each class.
Greece recorded zero coronavirus deaths four days ago, while Malta registered only one new case on Wednesday.
Around the world, other countries are also beginning to show their frustration towards lockdowns.
America dominated headlines last week because thousands of protesters took to the streets calling for an end to restrictions.
In Jerusalem, Israeli police clashed with merchants at a fruit and vegetable market frustrated that they weren’t able to reopen their businesses.
In Berlin, dozens of protesters were arrested on Saturday for a demonstration against the lockdown.
Meanwhile in Australia, Queensland and Western Australia have also announced plans to loosen social-distancing measures.
The following social distancing measures will be lifted across Western Australia starting today:
– Non-contact recreational activities such as picnics in parks, fishing, boating, hiking and camping will be allowed, but people must comply with travel restrictions.
– Ten people will be allowed at weddings
– Outdoor personal training will also be allowed for up to 10 people, providing groups adhere to social distancing and do not share equipment.
– Open houses and display villages will be permitted, but records must be kept of everyone who enters a home.
– Outdoor gyms and playgrounds will stay closed, while food outlets remain restricted to takeaway.
From Saturday May 2, Queenslanders will be able to do the following:
– Shop for non-essential items
– Travel within 50km of their home
– Have picnics
– Meet people not from their own households