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  • Writer's pictureValentin Vassilev

China, Europe Cautiously Ease Covid-19 Restrictions

Controls are slowly being lifted.

China and parts of Europe have started warily lifting Covid-19 restrictions as they seek to gradually restart their economies and resume some public activities.

The easing of the constraints, however, is occurring gradually, and many facilities, including university campuses, remain shut.

China declares victory over virus

China started easing restrictions in early March to try to revive the world’s second-largest economy. Car factories and other businesses considered essential reopened. However, some businesses including real estate agencies are still closed.

Students in their final year of senior and junior high schools in some provinces returned to school in mid-March after more than a month off, according to the country's state broadcaster CCTV. Senior high school students and senior middle school students in Beijing are set to return to school in the coming weeks. Senior high school students are set to return to campus on 27 April and senior students at middle schools will go back to school on 11 May. University campuses, however, remain closed.

Some European countries to ease controls

Over recent days several European countries declared that they will be lifting some restrictions. Austria was the first country to announce an easing of measures. Some non-essential businesses, including hardware stores and garden centres, reopened after the Easter weekend. Shopping malls and hairdressers are set to resume operations on 1 May. In mid-May, restaurants and hotels will follow suit. Public events are prohibited until at least late June.

Spain, one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus, has also started easing its lockdown measures, although more cautiously. Those employed in manufacturing, construction have returned to work. The rest of the population must still remain at home. A complete removal of restrictions is still a long way away. Health Minister Salvador Illa said: “Spain continues in a state of lockdown. We are not yet in a de-escalation phase.

Italy allowed some bookstores, children’s clothing shops and some forestry-related occupations to resume operations on 14 April. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said last week that manufacturing might follow suit if trends are favourable.

Children up to the age of 11 are returning to nurseries and schools across Denmark, which is the first country in Europe to relax coronavirus restrictions on education. The majority of European university and business school campuses remain closed.

Instruction has moved online at least for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year, which ends in the summer.

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