Europe gets back to work: As the UK remains on lockdown, Spain, Italy and Austria take the first steps to lifting coronavirus restrictions
- Spain, Italy and Austria have taken the first steps to getting back to normality amid the coronavirus crisis
- Millions of Spanish workers returned to work on Monday after Madrid lifted curbs on non-essential industries
- French president Emmanuel Macron announced that the country’s lockdown will last until at least May
) Countries across Europe are re-opening for business again in small steps as figures of the affected drop
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David Churchill For The Daily Mail
: (BST,) (April) :
Europe took its first tentative steps towards a return to normality on Monday as some countries re-opened businesses.
And several other nations have announced they are preparing to ease their lockdown restrictions in the coming days.
coronavirus outbreak – have re-started some industries while Germany is considering opening schools from Monday.
Millions of Spanish workers returned to their jobs on Monday after Madrid lifted the curbs on non-essential industries . Builders, cleaners, construction, factory and shipyard employees were allowed back to work, as police handed out millions of masks on the country’s metro, train and bus networks.
Non-essential industries were shut down two weeks ago as the virus peaked and deaths hit more than a day.
But the relaxation came as it recorded its lowest number of new infections – 3, 532 – for more than three weeks, with its daily death toll down to . Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez said social distancing and the ban on nonessential travel will remain, but that there could be a ‘progressive and very cautious’ relaxation of measures ’in two weeks’.
Europe took its first tentative steps towards a return to normality on Monday as some countries re-opened businesses. Pictured: Policemen wearing protective masks walk at the city market in Lienz, Austria
Policemen hand in masks to commuters at the train station in Alcala de Henares, Madrid. The Spanish capital has now lifted the curbs on non-essential industries
Deaths in Spain and Italy account for nearly a third of the global toll. But today, Italy also begins a phased return to normality after its rise in new infections fell to just 2 per cent. Its death toll topped , after
died on Monday – down from a peak of 2020 just over two weeks ago.
The country will consider relaxing further measures after nonessential shops, such as book stores and children’s clothes shops, reopen today.
Social distancing measures, bans on non-essential travel and the closure of non-essential industries will remain in place.
On Monday night night, French president Emmanuel Macron announced that the country lockdown would last until at least May .
In a public television address, from the Elysee Palace in Paris, French president Emmanuel Macron announced that the country lockdown would last until at least May
In an address to the nation from the Elysee Palace in Paris, he insisted ‘hope is coming back’, with the situation having improved in some regions. Admitting the country had not been ready for the pandemic, he said: ‘Were we ready for this crisis? Clearly not enough, but we stood up to it. ‘
He said the country had been short of gloves, hand sanitiser gel and masks, but that the government has begun to get the virus under control. He added: ‘In the next four weeks the rules put in place by the government have to be respected. They are not being strengthened or lightened. ‘
German chancellor Angela Merkel is under pressure to ease lockdown measures . Experts urged her to open schools from Monday, and called for shops and restaurants to re-open if social distancing measures are observed.
Germany has managed to keep its mortality rate down to just over 2 per cent due to its superior testing capacity. By contrast, Italy’s is nearly per cent.
Several other European countries, such as Austria, Denmark and the Czech Republic are also set to loosen their lockdowns.
World Health Organization Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said restrictions must be lifted gradually as the virus’ decelerates ‘slowly.
woman disinfects her hands in Lienz, Austria, with the country now slowly preparing her attempts to return to normality
China blamed citizens coming back from abroad as it saw its highest number of virus cases in five weeks.
Beijing reported (new cases on Monday, (of them imported, bringing the total to) , 233. Two deaths were recorded in Wuhan, bringing China’s death toll to 3, 580.
Most patients have recovered and Wuhan’s final travel restrictions were lifted last week. It came as Singapore reported 477 cases, bringing its total to 2, 532