Coronavirus

EU Planning For Transition Out Of Lockdown

European countries explore ways to ease out of coronavirus restrictions

European countries, including France, Spain, Belgium and Finland, among others, have begun tentatively etching out potential ways to ease social distancing requirements for the coronavirus pandemic over the next few months, according to the Financial Times.

The countries stress that it will likely be some time before everything returns to normality, but the aforementioned countries have enacted committees to strategically plan ways to both ease the restrictive conditions implemented to stop the virus, while also trying to stop further infections and not overwhelm the medical systems.

That could look like a few different things, the countries say.

Pedro Sánchez, prime minister of Spain, has extended the shutdown of his country until April 26. But he said the previous ban on non-essential work like manufacturing would be lifted after Easter.

In Denmark, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said a "gradual, quiet and controlled opening" of the country could be achieved if people continue working together and staying apart for now. That would also be contingent on infection numbers staying stable.

Germany has been reluctant to discuss the possibilities of reopening anything as to not get people's hopes up. But a survey by Munich-based Ifo economics institute lays out a complex schematic of ways society could try to climb back to something appropriating normalcy.

That could mean a "risk adjusted" strategy, in which some groups like schoolchildren, who are at lower risk for infection, could potentially re-enter public life before others, like higher-risk senior citizens. School could resume, the study said, and factories could start operations again, but businesses like nightclubs likely wouldn't be a priority.

Belgium and Denmark have pondered opening schools with tiered attendance, split over different days of the week, to promote social distancing.

Martin Lohse, professor of pharmacology at the University of Würzburg, and an Ifo author, said any such attempts would also necessitate more testing.

Lohse said the way forward would also have to come with transparency, and "telling people about difficult choices but also the hopes" would be key here.

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