Italy, Spain begin to ease lockdowns

Вторник, 28 Апр, 2020

Spain recorded its lowest death rate since March 20, and Italy since mid-March.

Even as confirmed virus infections around the world approached three million, governments were increasingly itching to revive shuttered economies - although there was intense debate on how quickly to move forward.

Coronavirus cases around the world topped 2.9 million April 26 and deaths hit almost 203,000 people, well over half of them in Europe, according to an AFP tally.

The Italian bishops' conference accused the government of adopting plans to ease the country's COVID-19 lockdown rules in a way that "arbitrarily excludes the possibility of celebrating Mass with the people".

But the kingdom said it would maintain a round-the-clock lockdown in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

Italy has the world's second-highest death toll at 26,644, behind the United States with more than 55,000 fatalities.

Italy will allow factories and building sites to reopen from May 4 and permit limited family visits following weeks of lockdown, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said.

Starting May 4 people will be able to walk in the park and take outdoor exercise. "If you love Italy, keep your distance from others", Conte said in a national address.

Despite these reopening plans, Italian residents will still be urged to follow social distancing measures such as wearing a protective face mask and avoiding large public gatherings.

Hugs and handshakes will still be discouraged and a decision to restart Italy's beloved Serie A soccer championship has been postponed.

Italy pm Conte says hopes to reopen museums, exhibitions, libraries and team training in sports on 18 May. Restaurants can open for takeout and wholesale stores can resume business on 4 May. Also June 1, restaurants will be allowed to resume dine-in service.

Schools will remain closed until September. There are as of yet no plans in place for the country to emerge from lockdown, with the government coming under pressure to show it has some exit strategy for the enforced shutdown that was put in place in March.

Under the revised rules, children are allowed out once per day between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm, but can not venture more than one kilometre (0.6 miles) from their homes. Professional riders were initially allowed to train outdoors but were harassed by the public and eventually forced to remain inside.

Conte said the government will "work with experts" to monitor the situation and then later "evaluate whether there are the conditions to end the suspended championships".

In neighbouring Germany, facemasks have become mandatory in public transport.

Primary schools in Norway have re-opened. The country started locking down towns with COVID-19 cases in the Lombardy region on February 23, and has added more regions of lockdown through March 9 when the entire country closed up shop.

In Greece, courts have now been allowed to resume work. Universities welcomed students back on Monday.

Her sons wore little face masks.