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Joggers hit the streets of Naples as Europe continues to relax coronavirus lockdown

Joggers in the Italy city of Naples hit the streets on Tuesday as strict coronavirus lockdown measures began to be relaxed across the country.

Dozens of people were pictured making their way along the Lungomare, the city’s seafront promenade, as the sun came up  – while pizzerias were also allowed to reopen for deliveries.

It comes after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the start of ‘Phase Two’ of Italy’s virus plan, meaning outdoor exercise is permitted away from the home with people also allowed to travel in their home regions.

Spain and France were also due to announce their lockdown exit strategies on Tuesday as Europe regains a sense of normalcy more than six weeks after the World Health Organisation declared the continent the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.

Luxembourg also announced plans to test its entire 600,00 population for the virus in a single month, starting from May 19, which the government said would be essential to easing lockdown measures.  

Joggers are seen along the Lungomare – Naples’ beachfront promenade – on Tuesday morning after Italy began to relax its lockdown measures

Dozens of people took to the streets after Italy's Prime Minister announced that exercise would be allowed away from the house

Dozens of people took to the streets after Italy’s Prime Minister announced that exercise would be allowed away from the house

Claude Meisch, the minister for research, told L’Essential that 20,000 tests will be performed every day across 17 stations in the country. 

Luxembourg currently performs around 1,000 tests per day, largely on people who have reported symptoms.

The country has so far detected 3,729 cases of coronavirus, with 88 confirmed deaths from the virus. 

Since the start of the crisis, Europe has seen some 1.4million cases of coronavirus confirmed on the continent and more than 124,000 people die from the virus.

But the epicentre now appears to be shifting across the Atlantic – with more than 1million people diagnosed in the USA and with the death toll mounting in Brazil.

As a result, European nations are now emerging from lockdown measures which had seen the continent reduced to a virtual standstill throughout March and April

Here is how each country is going about it… 

Italy has been on nationwide lockdown since March 10, but the government has now outlined plans for a staggered return to normal - including allowing outdoor exercise

Italy has been on nationwide lockdown since March 10, but the government has now outlined plans for a staggered return to normal – including allowing outdoor exercise

ITALY 

Italians began enjoying their first taste of freedom Tuesday as the country began emerging from one of the strictest and longest lockdowns in Europe.

Conte announced Monday that people will now be allowed to move around their home regions – though not between regions – while distance limits on exercise will also be eased.

Bars and restaurants, which are currently allowed to open only for delivery, will be allowed to provide a takeout service from May 4.

Italy's moves to end lockdown came as the number of coronavirus cases has been steadily declining since the country hit its peak in mid-March (daily totals pictured until April 27)

Italy’s moves to end lockdown came as the number of coronavirus cases has been steadily declining since the country hit its peak in mid-March (daily totals pictured until April 27)

Italy's daily death totals have also been in steady decline since late March (daily totals plotted up until April 27, the most-recent date available)

Italy’s daily death totals have also been in steady decline since late March (daily totals plotted up until April 27, the most-recent date available)

Some shops – such as bookstores and dry cleaners – had been allowed to reopen on April 14, but all non-essential shops not covered by that order will be allowed back open by May 18.

Museums and libraries will be allowed to reopen on the same date, while sports teams will also be allowed to restart group training.

Hairdressers, beauty salons, bars and restaurants are expected to reopen for dine-in service from 1 June, though will still have to observe some form of social distancing.

However, the easing is expected to be hampered by the fact that schools will remain shut until September – meaning many workers will not be able to return to their jobs. 

Italy has already allowed restaurants to reopen for delivery, with plans to allow takeout services to resume on May 4

Italy has already allowed restaurants to reopen for delivery, with plans to allow takeout services to resume on May 4

FRANCE 

France will reveal its plans to unwind a six-week-old coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday, joining countries from Asia to the Americas looking to take advantage of falling infection rates to rescue their free-falling economies.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe faces a delicate balancing act, keen to relieve the mounting frustration of people holed up in their homes since mid-March without heightening the risk of a second wave of infections if France moves too swiftly.

He will present the measures to parliament at 3 p.m. (1300 GMT), followed by a debate and vote in the early evening, with just 75 of the National Assembly’s 577 lawmakers sitting in the chamber to respect social distancing rules.

France will outline plans to ease lockdown restrictions on Tuesday, with schools set to return within weeks (pictured, a bookshop in Paris offering a 'click and collect' service)

France will outline plans to ease lockdown restrictions on Tuesday, with schools set to return within weeks (pictured, a bookshop in Paris offering a ‘click and collect’ service)

President Emmanuel Macron said earlier this month that a gradual loosening of the lockdown would begin on May 11, when schools and retailers would start to reopen. 

‘It’s not possible to maintain such a lockdown,’ Jean-Francois Delfraissy, head of the scientific committee advising the government, told LCI television. 

‘The main issue is ensuring the infection rate does not pick up again.’ 

The plan is expected to include guidelines for public use of masks, and what to do on public transport as more people start going back to work.

Lawmakers are also scheduled to discuss a tracing app the French government is working on to help track the virus after the lockdown eases, and which has raised privacy concerns.

However, the plan is not expected to include deadlines for reopening restaurants, hotels and museums, which are central to France’s tourism economy.

Despite a recent increase in infections, France has seen a general decline in its figures since its peak around the start of the month (daily totals pictured up until April 27)

Despite a recent increase in infections, France has seen a general decline in its figures since its peak around the start of the month (daily totals pictured up until April 27)

Despite several large peaks, France has seen a general decline in coronavirus deaths since early April (daily totals pictured up until April 27, the most recent date available)

Despite several large peaks, France has seen a general decline in coronavirus deaths since early April (daily totals pictured up until April 27, the most recent date available)

SPAIN 

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is also expected to outline his plans for ending the lockdown Tuesday, after presenting them to his Cabinet who will vote on whether to approve them.

While the outline of the plans remains vague, health minister Salvador Illa has previously suggested a ‘staggered’ return to daily life – with different age groups allowed out at different times of day.  

Spain is due to outline plans to end its lockdown today, including when bars (pictured in Madrid) and restaurants might be able to reopen

Spain is due to outline plans to end its lockdown today, including when bars (pictured in Madrid) and restaurants might be able to reopen

It comes after Spain allowed children to go outside the home this week, after previously banning them from leaving for any reason

It comes after Spain allowed children to go outside the home this week, after previously banning them from leaving for any reason

The announcement comes in the heels of a new order that is allowing children to take supervised strolls around their house for one hour per day. 

They had previously not been allowed outside for any reason. 

Spain has also allowed some manufacturing and construction workers to return to their jobs. 

Officials have made a public call to be responsible and avoid crowds after people were seen in promenades and beach fronts closer than experts recommend. 

Despite a recent peak Spain has seen its daily infection totals in steady decline since the beginning of April, with 1,308 cases reported on April 28

Despite a recent peak Spain has seen its daily infection totals in steady decline since the beginning of April, with 1,308 cases reported on April 28

Spain has also seen a steady decline in the number of deaths from coronavirus, with 301 new fatalities logged on April 28

Spain has also seen a steady decline in the number of deaths from coronavirus, with 301 new fatalities logged on April 28

AUSTRIA

Austria will take further steps to ease its lockdown on Friday, allowing events with up to 10 people and instructing the public they no longer need a specific reason to leave home, the government said on Tuesday.

Austria acted early in its coronavirus outbreak to close restaurants, bars, schools, non-essential shops and other gathering places six weeks ago. DIY stores, garden centres and smaller shops reopened two weeks ago – bigger shops and hairdressers will follow from May 1.

A closed wine bar called Heurige in Grinzing in Vienna, Austria

A closed wine bar called Heurige in Grinzing in Vienna, Austria

The public has repeatedly been told to stay at home, though that was largely advice rather than a legal requirement.

The recommendation from Friday will be to follow existing social distancing rules like staying 1 metre apart, though working from home is still encouraged, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober and Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said.

‘This is from my point of view a very big change and a very big step, in which we are betting on trust,’ Anschober said. ‘It is now … up to each of us not to be reckless but to conscientiously keep fully implementing these measures.’

HUNGARY

Hungary’s government plans to ease the lockdown that has kept the country’s businesses shut and residents mostly at home since mid-March, according to the pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet, which published the outlines of the plans on Tuesday.

Hungary has restricted public gatherings and shut down businesses during the novel coronavirus pandemic, like most other countries. It has avoided the massive toll in Italy and Spain, with 2,649 cases as of early Tuesday and 291 deaths in a population of 10 million people.

A worker at an Audi factory wears a mask after being allowed to restart work in Gyor, Hungary

A worker at an Audi factory wears a mask after being allowed to restart work in Gyor, Hungary

Consequently, it has built up a supply of protective gear and hospital technology like respirators. With the healthcare system prepared for an increase in the number of cases, a gradual opening is now possible, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said.

The loosening will begin early next month, Orban said on Friday, adding that he expected the economy to recover rapidly from the effects of the pandemic.

 

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