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These are the countries considering easing their coronavirus curbs

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A summary of steps taken or considered by the most affected nations.

Various countries around the world are

wondering when and how to ease coronavirus lockdowns, though the

World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that should be done

slowly and only when there is capacity to isolate cases and

trace contacts.

Following is a summary of steps taken or considered by the

most affected nations. 

EUROPE

ITALY

, with the most Covid-19-linked deaths in Europe, is

keeping the lockdown largely in place although it lifted

restrictions on two categories of shops – stationers and

children’s clothes – on April 14.

In SPAIN

, construction and manufacturing sectors returned to

work on April 13, but the government has said the nationwide

confinement in force until April 26 would likely last until May.

FRANCE

and BRITAIN

, the two other European countries with

more than 10 000 deaths, both plan to extend current measures.

President Emmanuel Macron said schools and shops would gradually

re-open from May 11, but restaurants, hotels, cafes and cinemas

would remain shut for longer. British Health Minister Matt

Hancock said on April 16 it was too early to lift the lockdown.

GERMANY

, Europe’s largest economy, will allow stores of up

to 800 square metres (8,611 square feet), car dealers and bike

shops, to reopen from April 20, while schools will reopen on May

4.

Rebekka Hjorth holds an outdoor music lesson at the Korshoejskolen in Randers, Denmark. Denmark is beginning to relax its strict coronavirus lockdown measures by allowing some classes nationwide to return to school. Picture: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix via AP

AUSTRIA

let non-essential shops of up to 400 square metres

(4,306 square feet), DIY shops and garden centres reopen on

April 14. Shopping malls, hairdressers and larger stores should

reopen from May 1, unless infections accelerate. Restaurants and

hotels could reopen in stages from mid-May.

DENMARK

, one of the first European countries to shut down,

reopened care centres and schools for children in first to fifth

grade on April 15. All other curbs apply at least until May 10.

POLAND

, scheduled to have a presidential election on May 10,

will gradually lift lockdown measures from April 19. The easing

will include shops but borders will remain closed until May 3.

A man peers through a window decorated with a Serbian flag during a 60-hour curfew in Belgrade. Serbia has introduced some of the harshest measures in Europe as part of efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. Picture: Darko Vojinovic/AP

UNITED STATES, CANADA & LATIN AMERICA

The UNITED STATES

, which has the world’s highest infections

and deaths, is inching toward a gradual resumption of business.

President Donald Trump has cited May 1 as a target, but a

50-state patchwork of policies is likely, with many state

governors forming regional alliances to coordinate actions.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state is the hardest

hit, said on April 15 he would begin with reopening the most

essential businesses and those with the lowest infection risk.

Some governors have warned there was no return to a

pre-pandemic “normal” until a vaccine becomes available.

Two people walk past an area meant for hundreds to wait for screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington. Picture: Elaine Thompson/AP

CANADA

will keep non-essential businesses shut for several

more weeks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on April 14, and

the nation’s most populous province Ontario extended for another

28 days its shutdown that was due to expire on April

23.

Lockdowns are set to continue in BRAZIL

’s largest cities and

most states, with Sao Paulo extending its social distancing

measures until April 22 and Rio de Janeiro until April 30,

despite the health ministry’s suggestion that states with less

than 50% of occupancy in health systems could loosen rules.

ARGENTINA

‘s lockdown has been extended until April 26, but

the government is considering widening the list of essential

services to allow some businesses back.

MEXICO

, bracing for the spread of the coronavirus to

accelerate, is widely expected to extend the shutdown of schools

and non-essential businesses beyond April 30.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

IRAN

, the region’s worst-hit country, lifted a ban on travel

within provinces on Sunday, while restrictions on trips between

provinces end on April 20.

Businesses seen as lower risk reopened from Saturday outside

Tehran and will reopen from April 18 in the capital.

SAUDI ARABIA

has halted year-round pilgrimages to Mecca and

extended a nationwide lockdown indefinitely this week.

People wait in line to order fish to make fesikh, a traditional dish, which is eaten during the Sham el-Nessim holiday, in Cairo, Egypt. Picture: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

EGYPT

, the Arab world’s most populous nation, extended a

curfew until April 23, closed places of worship, schools and

tourist sites and banned public religious gatherings in the holy

month of Ramadan, starting late April.

ISRAEL

keeps “stay-at-home” orders for all except those who

work in vital industries, and said any exit strategy will be

“slow and responsible”.

SOUTH AFRICA

has extended a complete lockdown until the end

of April and said key sectors could be reopened gradually under

“strictly controlled conditions.”

NIGERIA

extended the lockdown of the states of Lagos, Abuja

and Ogun until April 27, exempting only critical workers,

including those selling food, water and medicine. Most large

African nations so far have no plans to ease restrictins.

ASIA-PACIFIC

CHINA

earlier this month lifted the lockdown of Wuhan, where

the outbreak began. On April 15, the city’s vice mayor said it

aimed to fully restore rail, flight and freight operations by

the end of April. Prevention measures remain elsewhere,

including Beijing.

Residents wearing masks against the new coronavirus pass by government propaganda posters featuring Tiananmen Gate in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province. Picture: Ng Han Guan/AP

INDIA

is under lockdown until May 3, but the government will

allow some industries, such as farming and construction in rural

areas, to open after April 20.

PAKISTAN

, which extended its shutdown on April 14 by two

weeks, said some industries would reopen in phases, starting

with construction and export industries, such as garments.

In JAPAN

, a month-long state of emergency is in force in

cities since April 7, but the government has refrained from

nationwide business closures for fear of damaging the

economy.

SOUTH KOREA

, lauded for controlling its outbreak, has urged

to follow social distancing until at least April 19.

TAIWAN

, another example of a successful early response, has

avoided full lockdown but continues to promote social

distancing.

SINGAPORE

, which saw cases spike recently after early

success in containment, aims for schools and most workplaces to

reopen on May 4.

NEW ZEALAND

has no immediate easing plans with schools,

restaurants, cafes and gyms shut and its borders

closed.

Similar social distancing rules that have closed businesses

and confined people to their homes remain in place in AUSTRALIA

with no definite end date announced. 

Reuters