Coronavirus: Europe Beginning to Lift Lockdowns

  • There were 194,416 confirmed cases in Spain as of Saturday with 20,639 deaths.
  • Since April 14, some blockade measures have been gradually lifted in Austria.
  • Denmark became the first country in Europe to reopen schools on April 15.

Spain implemented national lockdown measures from March 15, and is expected to continue until April 26, but some measures have been lifted recently. An estimated 300,000 non-essential staff members returned to Madrid this week to work. Authorities have allowed some industries, including the construction industry, to resume work.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

However, bars and restaurants are still closed, and police are distributing more than 10 million masks for those returning to work. Spanish Minister of Health Salvador Illa said on April 13 that Spain has not yet entered the “downgrade stage,” and “only a very limited number of industries” lifted the blockade. Quim Torra, President of the Government of Catalonia, criticized the Spanish government’s decision, saying that the lifting of the blockade was “irresponsible and reckless”.

According to the statistics of Johns Hopkins University in the United States, as of 18th, there were 194,416 confirmed cases in Spain, the second-highest in the world. Spain has also reported 20,639 deaths, with a higher-than-average mortality rate. In addition, Spain lacks protective equipment, and its doctor infection rate is the highest in the world.


Austria imposed a lockdown from March 16. The Austrian authorities have recently stated that the country has flattened the epidemic curve. Since April 14, some blockade measures have been gradually lifted. Thousands of stores have reopened on the day, but customers must still maintain social distance and wear a mask.

Austrian Economy Minister Margarete Schramböck said “the experience of those countries that have properly handled the epidemic has taught us that we must take action gradually.” According to Johns Hopkins, as of 18th, there were 14,671 confirmed cases in Austria and 443 deaths.


Coronaviruses are species of virus belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae, in the order Nidovirales. There are seven known strains of human coronaviruses, including COVID-19.

Denmark began implementing lockdown measures on March 12 to restrict all activities and strengthen screening and disinfection. The latest figures show that the number of new cases in Denmark is lower than expected. The authorities plan to relax the measures.

From April 15th, children under the age of 11 will return to school to make Denmark the first country in Europe to allow such. Last weekend, some churches in Denmark reopened for Easter, but the authorities said that large party events and festivals will still be canceled until the end of August. According to Johns Hopkins, as of the 18th, there were 7,242 cases and 347 deaths in Denmark.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic entered a 30-day state of emergency from March 12th, closing most shops and restaurants. The authorities asked the public to cover their noses in public places. At present, the authorities are gradually relaxing the ban.

Shops and outdoor sports facilities have been reopened, and students will gradually return to school, but some secondary schools may be closed until September 1. Before May 25, the authorities will allow restaurants, bars and liquor stores with outdoor terraces to open. Before June 8, all retail stores will be reopened.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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