Asia, US also begin lifting restrictions as economies get affected
Europe on Sunday prepared for a further cautious easing of coronavirus restrictions following signs the pandemic may be slowing, with hard-hit Italy set to follow Spain in allowing people outside.
More than 243,000 people have been killed and 3.4 million infected worldwide by the virus, which has left half of humanity under some form of lockdown and pushed the global economy towards its worst downturn since the Great Depression.
With signs that the spread of the contagion has been brought under control, parts of Europe, Asia and the United States have begun to lift restrictions to try to inject life into economies crippled by weeks of closures and ease the pressure from populations wearying of confinement.
After a two-month lockdown in Italy — with the second-highest number of virus deaths in the world — people on Monday will be allowed to stroll in parks and visit relatives. Restaurants can open for takeaway and wholesale stores can resume business, but there was some confusion about the extent of the easing.
Elsewhere in Europe, Germany will continue its easing on Monday, while Slovenia, Poland and Hungary will allow public spaces and businesses to partially reopen.
With health experts warning the disease could hit hard once again, governments are sticking to measures to control the spread of the virus and more testing to try to track infections even as they relax curbs on movement.
Face masks will be mandatory on public transport starting Monday in Spain, where people were allowed to go outdoors on Saturday after a 48-day lockdown.