How are other countries lifting their lockdown measures?

Ministers are under pressure to publish an exit strategy detailing how unprecedented restrictions imposed on the country could be eased.

What steps are other countries taking to scale back their own lockdowns?

– Germany

Restrictions in Germany began to ease this week, with non-essential shops reopening from Monday while keeping social distancing in place.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country was “still walking on thin ice, one could also say the thinnest ice”, as she warned against rushing out of the lockdown imposed on March 23.

Chancellor Angela Merkel (Steve Parsons/PA)
Chancellor Angela Merkel (Steve Parsons/PA)

Schools will start reopening from May 4, with priority for final-year students, but other social distancing measures including a ban on public gatherings will remain in place.

Germany has reported more than 150,000 infections but a relatively low death toll of around 5,000, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

– Denmark

Hair salons, dentists, physiotherapists and even tattoo parlours have been permitted to reopen in Denmark, which has reported around 400 deaths.

It was one of the first European countries to introduce lockdown measures on March 11, and is now among the first to ease restrictions.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen permitted day care centres and schools for younger children to reopen on April 15, allowing parents to return to work.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

All remaining restrictions, including a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, are to stay in place until at least May 10.

– Italy

A limited number of shops have been allowed to open in Italy, where the death toll has climbed to over 25,000.

Some of the country’s worst-hit regions have decided to hold off and will maintain the lockdown measures for longer.

A man wearing a protective outfit walks past headstones at the Monumental cemetery in Turin, Northern Italy (Marco Alpozzi/AP)
A man wearing a protective outfit walks past headstones at the Monumental cemetery in Turin, Northern Italy (Marco Alpozzi/AP)

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said the country is likely to begin lifting the lockdown further on May 4 – almost two months on from March 9 when measures were introduced.

– United States

President Donald Trump unveiled a plan to reopen America earlier this month, and the states of Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska have already begun loosening lockdown orders on businesses.

The confirmed US death toll from the coronavirus crisis has soared past 50,000, in what is the world’s deadliest outbreak.

US President Donald Trump (Niall Carson/PA)
US President Donald Trump (Niall Carson/PA)

Health officials have warned that it could be too soon to lift the lockdown and risks sparking a second wave of infections.

– Austria

Sharing a border with hard-hit Italy, Austria went into lockdown on March 14.

Earlier this month, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced that there would be a “resurrection after Easter”, with non-essential shops, DIY stores and garden centres allowed to reopen from April 14.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz wears a protective mask (Ronald Zak/AP)
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz wears a protective mask (Ronald Zak/AP)

This is expected to be extended to shopping centres, larger stores and hairdressers from May 1.

It will not be a complete return to normality, however, as the Austrian government has made it mandatory to wear a mask whilst outdoors.

– Spain

Youngsters in Spain who have spent more than a month inside due to stringent restrictions will be allowed outside for short supervised walks from this weekend.

A man walks along an empty street in downtown Barcelona (Emilio Morenatti/AP)
A man walks along an empty street in downtown Barcelona (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

One of the world’s worst-hit countries, with over 22,000 deaths reported, Spain declared a nationwide lockdown from March 14.

Construction and factory workers were allowed to return to work earlier this month, but the majority of the population continues to work from home, while the majority of shops remain shut.

Spain’s parliament backed Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s request to extend the country’s state of emergency until May 9.

– Norway

Norway has prioritised the reopening of schools as it begins to scale back measures introduced on March 16.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg allowed kindergartens to reopen on April 20 while children in grades one to four will return to classes from Monday.

A ban on families travelling to their country cabins has also been lifted.

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