Denmark and the Czech Republic have said partially easing their lockdowns has not led to a surge in new coronavirus infections, as the WHO continued to urge extreme caution and Germany relaxed some restrictions but extended others.
As EU governments grappled with the complex and conflicting imperatives of easing the lockdowns crippling their economies while avoiding a disastrous second wave of infections, meanwhile, South Korea reported no new cases for the first time.
Of the 44 European countries to have imposed restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, 21 had started easing some of them and a further 11 were planning to do so soon, said Hans Kluge, regional director of the World Health Organization in Europe.
In Denmark, daycare facilities and schools began reopening two weeks ago, followed by hairdressers and other small businesses on 20 April.
“There are no signs at all that the partial reopening has caused a bigger spread of infection,” said Christian Wejse, a scientist at the department of infectious diseases at Aarhus University. “At least there is no indication that we are heading into another wave. That has been the concern, but I can’t see that at all.”
The Czech health minister, Adam Vojtěch, said the country’s number of new cases had been below 100 for the past eight consecutive days and also reported that a staggered reopening of shops and services had not so far led to a surge in infections.
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