Italy and Spain, among the European countries with the strictest coronavirus lockdowns, on Sunday announced plans to ease confinement measures further.
Italy’s manufacturing industry will start reopening on May 4 but schools will remain closed until September, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told La Repubblica. Spain will allow family walks and individual physical activity from May 2, the country’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said.
In mid-April, the European Commission urged capitals to coordinate their so-called exit strategies, but so far EU countries have presented their own plans unilaterally. While Italy will reopen schools after the summer, Belgium is looking at May 18 and France May 11 for children to go back to classes.
Italy’s Conte told La Repubblica that “strategic” businesses, such as companies who export, could restart as early as next week with the approval of local authorities. To reopen, businesses will have to introduce strict safety measures. Conte will present the package by the beginning of next week.
Spain’s Sánchez said that from May 2, individual physical activity and walks with people from the same household would be authorized. The measures, which will be presented to the Council of Ministers on Tuesday will apply in May and could be extended in June.
The easing of the lockdown will be “gradual and asymmetric, but coordinated,” Sánchez said, warning that there could be “territorial differences” between the country’s regions. The country recorded Sunday the lowest number of coronavirus-related deaths in more than a month.