Austria has reportedly announced that it will enact a "gradual easing" of its coronavirus lockdown measures starting from next week. This move would make it the first EU nation to take a step towards normalising conditions amidst the ongoing pandemic. Austria has till now reported 13,782 cases and 337 deaths from COVID-19. Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz reportedly announced at a press conference that the "country could expect some sort of resurrection after Easter, with non-essential shops allowed to reopen under strict hygiene measures starting on April 14."
According to reports, the authorities have already made it compulsory for citizens to wear face masks in public spaces however, the measure is expected to extend the compulsion to public transports. Meanwhile, the new measures would allow the opening of stores, hairdressers and shopping malls from May 1. In addition, all restaurants, hotels would remain shut until mid-May and a discussion regarding the same would take place in mid-April after which the final decision would be announced. In addition to that, classes in schools would remain suspended till the end of the April however, exams will go ahead. All events across the nation will be banned until till the end of June.
Meanwhile, in Spain, the authorities have begun handing out masks at metro and train stations as some companies re-open after a two-week "hibernation" period. On March 30, Spain toughened its nationwide lockdown, halting all non-essential activities until after Easter as it sought to further curb the spread of the virus.
The measure particularly targeted the construction and manufacturing sectors. The government will distribute masks in metro or interurban train stations "where usage is recommended" and where work will resume after the Easter weekend "on Monday or Tuesday," Health Minister Salvador Illa said. But there would be no further easing of the drastic national lockdown, in place across the country since March 14, with Illa saying such measures would be enough to avoid "a resurgence of cases".
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