Spain, Austria ease curbs but other countries extend lockdowns
MADRID/LONDON: Spain and Austria allowed partial returns to work after the Easter holiday yesterday but Britain, France and India extended their lockdowns to try to rein in the coronavirus outbreak, the most serious world pandemic in a century.
Nearly two million people globally have been infected and more than 119,200 have died, according to a Reuters tally of official figures.
In Spain, restrictions have helped to slow a spiralling death rate that reached its peak in early April.
The overnight death toll from the coronavirus rose to 567 yesterday from 517 a day earlier but the country reported its lowest increase in new cases since March 18. Total deaths climbed to 18,056.
The relaxation of restrictions did prompt some Spanish workers to express concern that it could trigger a new surge.
"I would have preferred to wait 15 more days confined to home or at least one more week and then come back," said Mr Carlos Mogorron, 27, an engineer from Extremadura in western Spain.
Across Austria yesterday, thousands of shops were allowed to reopen, but the government said it was "not out of the woods" yet.
Austria has reported 368 deaths in total, fewer than some larger European countries have been suffering each day.
Other hard hit countries in Europe are still continuing with lockdowns.
Italy, which has the world's second highest death toll after the US with 20,465, remained under tight lockdown.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also said there would be no easing of lockdown measures when they come up for review this week.
The Times newspaper said yesterday that he would extend them until at least May 7.
The death toll in British hospitals rose to 11,329 on Monday.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday extended a virtual lockdown to May 11.
He said the tense situation in hospitals in Paris and eastern France meant there could be no let-up.
India also extended its lockdown till May 3 as the number of coronavirus cases crossed 10,000. Its nationwide lockdown is the biggest in the world, covering 1.3 billion people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said yesterday: "From the economic angle, we have paid a big price. But the lives of the people of India are far more valuable." - REUTERS, AFP