Some countries are coming out of traffic jams, but the UK remains tight

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ROME / LONDON (Reuters) – Countries from Italy to New Zealand have announced easing of coronavirus blockages, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson returns to work on Monday after being in intensive care with COVID- 19 said it was too early to relax the restrictions.

The total number of confirmed infections exceeded 3 million on Monday, with more than 206,000 dead, according to a Reuters tally of official figures. But as infection rates fall and fears of economic ruin increase, many countries are seeking to ease their closings.

The worst pandemic in the world in a century, which started in China in December, has posed a dilemma for governments. People locked up in their homes for weeks are feeling increasingly frustrated and worried about what the future holds.

And with economic activity from shops and bars to factories and reduced tourism, deep and protracted recessions are predicted for many countries.

As no antidote has yet been found, the leaders are also fully aware that a second wave of infections could sweep their country as life returns to some kind of normalcy.

Italy, which has the second highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world, with nearly 27,000 deaths, will allow factories and construction sites to reopen from May 4 and allow limited family visits while ‘It is preparing the gradual end of the longest closure in Europe, said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Sunday.

But the northern Veneto region, one of the first hotspots for coronavirus in Italy, which includes the cities of Venice and Verona, was not ready to wait a week to make life a little more bearable.

Its governor, Luca Zaia, broke with the national government, decreeing that residents can now exercise freely outside their homes, visit second homes in the region and go to take away.

“We cannot become a laboratory or guinea pigs,” he said. “We also have to live. “

“CLEAR PLAN OF THE UNITED STATES”

Critics in the U.S., who have recorded nearly a million cases and more than 55,000 deaths, have accused President Donald Trump of confusing the messages as states bickered with him over how to manage the epidemic and to reopen their savings.

Georgia, Oklahoma and several other predominantly rural states took interim measures to restart businesses on Friday, despite disapproval from Trump and medical experts.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said his home stay order would likely be extended beyond May 15 in many areas of the state, but restrictions could be relaxed in some areas if they had the capacity sufficient hospitality and met other criteria.

Dr. Mike Ryan, the leading emergency expert at the World Health Organization (WHO), from which Trump has suspended US funding for its management of the pandemic, said Monday that the United States appeared to have a “Very clear scheme”. , federal plan with scientific vocation to fight against its epidemics.

New Zealanders will be able to go fishing, surfing, hunting and hiking this week for the first time in more than a month as their country begins to break out of strict isolation.

About 400,000 people will return to work after the alert level dropped a notch Monday at midnight, but shops and restaurants will remain closed.

“We have to make sure that we don’t let the virus get out again,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters. “To be successful, we have to track down the latest virus cases.”

In Norway, first to fourth grade schoolchildren returned to school for the first time since mid-March, while a series of small businesses, including hairdressers, were allowed to open.

“I feel like a burden has been lifted,” said Abi Qadar, a 36-year-old artist, after dropping off his seven-year-old daughter at school in central Oslo.

DIY AND GARDEN CENTERS

Spain, with more than 23,000 deaths from some 230,000 confirmed cases, has cautiously prepared new measures to ease one of the most severe blockages in Europe after six weeks, after slowing the rate of infection and mortality.

He downplayed concerns that leaving children outside since Sunday after six weeks inside had caused crowds in public spaces.

Belgium has already reopened garden centers and DIY centers and begins a broader and gradual easing from May 4. In Switzerland, people had their hair cut in a few weeks and visited dentists, while queues were forming in garden centers.

On Sunday, Israel authorized the reopening of some businesses and said it plans to let the children go back to school.

Romania has said it will not extend its state of emergency after May 15, when people can move around with documents.

The British Conservative Prime Minister, speaking outside his Downing Street residence a month and a day after being tested positive for the virus, compared the disease to a street criminal the British people had fought against.

Johnson, 55, who spent three nights in intensive care in a London public hospital, said he understood the concerns of the companies and would consult with opposition parties – but made it clear that he should not have quick release of the lock.

“We have to … recognize the risk of a second spike, the risk of losing control of this virus … because it would mean not only a new wave of death and disease, but also economic disaster,” he said. .

But he added that the government would present plans to ease the brakes in the coming days.

The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus originated, now has no more cases in its hospitals, said a health official. The city still tests residents regularly despite the easing of its lockout.

Additional reports from Reuters offices; Written by Nick Macfie and Kevin Liffey; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Alison Williams

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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