While the US is still embroiled in the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, bracing for peak deaths this week and next, Europe is finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Many European nations have been deeply entrenched in lockdown measures for weeks, and those won’t be lifted in their entirety right away, but there are signs that some countries are eyeing dates for a relative return to normalcy.
According to The Guardian, on Monday, Austria became the first EU country to announce plans to lift restrictions, targeting April 14 for smaller shops to reopen. If all goes to plan, larger shops would reopen on May 1, with hotels, restaurants, and other services soon to follow. Similarly, Denmark announced a plan to reopen nurseries and primary schools on April 15, assuming the number of coronavirus deaths remains relatively steady.
Germany has reported four consecutive days with a drop in the number of COVID-19 cases, and while no official announcement has been made, a leaked interior ministry document hints that officials are planning a gradual end to the country’s lockdown starting on April 19. This doesn’t, however, mean that life will go back to normal. Upon lifting the lockdown, Germany would require residents to wear masks in public, place limits on public gatherings, and only open schools on a regional basis.
Even Spain, which recorded the second-highest death toll in the world, is starting to think of post-lockdown life after four consecutive days off decreasing COVID-19 deaths.
The worst is still upon us in many countries around the world, particularly the US and Japan, but Europe’s flattening of the curve is an encouraging sign of what’s to come if everyone obeys social distancing measures.