Austria and Denmark Plan to Ease Coronavirus Restrictions Despite Health Warnings

Austria and Denmark became the first European countries to announce that they plan to reopen their societies in the coming days, The Washington Post reports.

Austria said it would lift the restrictions in multiple stages.

The country is expected to reopen small shops on April 14 and reopen larger stores on May 1.

Austria is expected to delay reopening schools, hotels, and restaurants until the middle of May, though that decision will be discussed at the end of April.

The country still plans to maintain guidelines on social distancing and wearing masks, as well as limiting the number of people who are allowed in stores at one time.

The country may restart public events by July.

“We reacted faster and more restrictively in Austria than in other countries and were therefore able to prevent the worst from happening so far,” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. “The quick and restrictive reaction now also gives us the opportunity to get out of this crisis faster.”

Austria reported 241 new cases on Monday, the third consecutive day the number of new cases dropped.

Denmark too:

Denmark is expected to reopen nursery and primary schools on April 15 but will reopen businesses in phases.

The country will continue to prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people and will keep its borders shut.

“It’s like walking on a line. If we stand still along the way, we can fall,” warned Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. “If we go too fast, things can go wrong. Therefore, we must take one cautious step at a time. And we do not yet know when we have firm ground under our feet.”

Other countries unsure:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned last week that she “would be acting absolutely irresponsibly if I simply gave you a specific date today when the measures could be abolished, or at least relaxed, but then could not keep promises because the infection numbers did not allow it.”

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe agreed that lifting restrictions was “frighteningly complex” and warned the public that they should not expect a “general deconfinement, all at once, everywhere and for everyone.”

Multiple Asian countries had begun to reopen but have since pulled back in some areas over concerns of another wave of infections.


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