Italy, Spain partially ease restriction on lockdown despite death of thousands of people

Spain is to allow some non-essential workers to return to their jobs as coronavirus restrictions are partially eased despite the death toll hitting 17,209.

The government tightened the country’s lockdown by halting all non-essential activities on March 30, which confined most of the population to their homes.

Italy is also easing its lockdown – Europe’s longest – with shops selling books, stationery and children’s clothes re-opened on Tuesday.

Coronavirus ravaged Spain’s death toll figures began to rise slightly at the weekend after recently showing a downward trend.

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The country will allow workers in industry and construction to return to work after the two-week shutdown.

Those who can work from home are strongly encouraged by authorities to continue doing so.

In a televised address to the nation Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned Spain had not yet entered the “second phase” in the fight against the coronavirus.

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He said a “de-escalation” of lockdown measures will start at the earliest in two weeks and will be “very gradual and very prudent”.

“We’re still far from victory, from the time when we get normality back in our lives,” he said.

“We’re all keen to go back out on the street – but our desire to win the war and prevent a relapse is even greater.”

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