Despite 1.5 million collective infections across the continent, several European nations are beginning to ease their lockdown restrictions.
Outside of the United States, Europe has been the hardest hit region in the world in terms of the number of confirmed coronavirus infections. According to Johns Hopkins University data, seven out of the top 10 worst hit countries are European – joined only by Iran, Brazil and the United States – with Spain having the most infections (224,350) and the UK with the most deaths (31,930).
According to BBC, several nations across the continent are making the bold move to reopen, hoping that it will not lead to a second wave of infections. In France, primary schools, clothing stores, hair salons and book shops will all reopen while restaurants, movie theatres and bars will remain closed. In Belgium, restaurants, bars and cafes remain closed, but most other businesses will resume activity with social distancing measures. Primary schools, libraries, physiotherapists, driving schools and hairdressers will be opening in the Netherlands today.
Switzerland will reopen primary and middle schools, but with reduced class sizes. Restaurants, book shops and museums will reopen with certain restrictive measures. Spain will reopen in some regions, allowing gatherings of up to ten people and outdoor spaces in restaurants will reopen with social distancing measures in place. In England, some lockdown measures will be eased, but other parts of the UK will retain strict measures. Denmark will reopen shopping centres and Poland will reopen hotels some time this week, although foreign tourists will still need to be put in quarantine for two weeks.
Elsewhere, Germany, Austria and Italy have already begun easing their lockdown restrictions.