Denmark is about to make its first move to relax restrictions imposed to fight coronavirus.
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It’s among the first European countries aiming to put the lockdown into gradual reverse, just as it was one of the first to impose restrictions.
“It’s important we don’t keep Denmark closed for longer than we need to,” said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, as she announced the move last week.
But Denmark’s moves will be slow and cautious. Ms Frederiksen likened them to walking a tightrope.
“If we open Denmark too quickly again, we risk infections rising too sharply and then we’ll have to close down again,” she said.
Norway and Austria are also scaling back restrictions slowly.
In Austria some shops reopen this Tuesday, followed by other stores, restaurants and hotels in May.
Children go back to Norway’s kindergartens on 20 April and junior schools a week later.
In Bulgaria farmers’ markets are reopening. In the Czech Republic, shops selling building materials and bikes are back in business and rules have been relaxed for open-air recreation areas.
Spain, which along with Italy has been hardest hit by Covid-19, aims to allow non-essential workers back to work from Monday and will hand out protective masks at stations.
But for many countries the easing of restrictions still lies ahead. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said it’s too early to consider an exit strategy. And the head of the World Health Organization has warned against lifting stay-at-home measures too fast.
Compared with other European countries, Denmark was an early mover. A raft of restrictions was announced on 11 March, 12 days before measures were introduced in the UK.
Gatherings have been limited to 10 people, the workforce told to stay home, and the borders shut.
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