EU countries set to ease lockdown measures
France intends to progressively ease the coronavirus lockdown. The country went into a nationwide lockdown on March 17 in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19. Thus, the government will lift its ban on visits to seniors’ and nursing homes starting today, April 20. Schools and shopping centers will start gradually reopening after May 11. The country reached its coronavirus peak in the end of March. Since then the number of new coronavirus cases began to decrease.
“By May 11, the government would make 500,000 coronavirus tests available per week for people who show symptoms and those who had been in contact with people contracting the virus, up from the current 150,000 weekly, and people who test positive would be placed in isolation,” said French Health Minister Olivier Veran during the press conference.
However, the easing of lockdown restrictions in France will not apply to all. Thus, restaurants and cafes, as well as cinemas and museums will remain temporarily closed. In addition, the French authorities recommend the elderly citizens to continue self-isolation and stay at home. France reported a total of more than 19,000 coronavirus cases.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom sees the surge in coronavirus cases, the UK government reported. The country recorded 596 COVID-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours. The UK total death toll reached more than 16,000.
There is currently a heated debate going on in Italy over the relaxation of lockdown rules in the country. The local authorities cannot decide at what level this issue should be addressed, regional or national. Today, April 20, a special commission will make a report about the country’s readiness to lift the lockdown measures. Despite this, most officials express their opinion that the COVID-19 isolation in Italy should be extended until May 3. On Sunday, the country reported more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases and 433 deaths. The total COVID-19 related death toll in Italy reached 23,660.
Spain extends coronavirus lockdown until May 9. However, the country will be slowly easing the rigorous restrictions. Thus, the Spanish authorities plan to gradually lift quarantine measures in various regions of the country.
“The restrictions currently in place would however be loosened slightly to allow children time outside from April 27,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
Meantime, the coronavirus situation in the United States remains grave. The COVID-19 infected 770,000 people and killed 41,000 patients in the US.
According to the data from Johns Hopkins University, reported cases of COVID-19 infection worldwide stand at more than 2.3 million and at least 164,000 people died from the novel coronavirus. 615,000 patients reported to have recovered.