Countries across Europe are cautiously starting to ease their lockdown measures, as infection rates slowly decline.
Small shops will open in Austria and Czech Republic, and schools in Denmark will re-open on 15 April. German health minister Jens Spahn suggested there could be “a gradual return to normality” after Easter if the current positive trend in numbers continues.
Even in the worst affected nations there are reasons for optimism. Reports in Italy suggest restrictions could be eased on 4 May. And on Thursday morning, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the country may be finally passing the worst of the outbreak. “The fire starts to come under control,” he told parliament.
Concerns remain however about the Easter weekend, when people usually travel to see loved ones. As of midnight, Portugal has banned people from leaving their local area without official documentation, with police vehicle checks to enforce the closure.
And the EU has still not decided how to respond to the economic meltdown. Finance ministers will hold another teleconference from 16:00 UK time to try to sort out a bailout plan