Some European countries are eyeing how to begin the process of emerging from lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic begins to slow.
Austria, Denmark, and Italy are among the first that are planning how to reopen after shutting down nearly every aspect of their countries, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The first visage of normalcy will begin to return in Italy, which is still reeling from the virus, next week, when it is expected to start reopening some factories. The lockdown lift will be a gradual process given fears that a rapid switch back could bring on a second wave of infections. It may still be another month before Italians are allowed to begin leaving their homes.
Austria released a document on Monday detailing its plans on how to move on from the lockdown. The first change will come on April 14, when some shops that are small enough will begin to reopen. In the Czech Republic, some stores will begin reopening as soon as Thursday.
Denmark is hoping to begin easing its lockdown after Easter.
“This will probably be a bit like walking the tightrope. … We must take one cautious step at a time,” said Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said the country has “taken control of the virus” and would start easing lockdown restrictions “little by little” on April 20.
Despite the plans, the virus is still ailing all of the countries, with Italy reporting an additional 604 death on Tuesday. Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said that as the country reopens, it will need to dampen potential infections that come with lessened restrictions.
“Phase two is a necessary phase in which we will have to learn to coexist with the virus because the virus won’t disappear,” Speranza said. “We have to rethink how we will organize our social life, our manufacturing, and our public healthcare system in such a way that allows us to completely exit the lockdown. It will be very gradual.”
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in about 1.5 million cases worldwide and 87,400 deaths worldwide, according to the latest tally by Johns Hopkins University.