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14 Apr, 2020 13:04

Europe's 'mixed picture': Optimism fading in UK as lockdown may be extended, while some European nations ease restrictions

Europe's 'mixed picture': Optimism fading in UK as lockdown may be extended, while some European nations ease restrictions

The UK Foreign Secretary has said the restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19 in Britain will remain in place until at least May 7, as other European nations re-open small businesses and non-essential stores.

Dominic Raab, who is deputizing for Boris Johnson while the latter continues his recovery, said on Monday that the UK still has a “long way to go” in its battle against the disease.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Valance also warned that there would be a “difficult” week of death figures ahead before the death rate, according to experts, will slow. He added that the UK would likely see mortality rates plateau for two-to-three weeks before beginning to drop off.

Meanwhile, countries such as Spain, Italy and Austria have already relaxed restrictions, allowing businesses that had been designated non-essential to re-open and other workers to return to their jobs.

Denmark and the Czech Republic have also begun to ease measures, with Germany set to review its lockdown on April 19.

However, France announced on Monday it would be keeping its lockdown in place until at least May 11. French and German citizens are both reluctant to have restrictions limited, with a majority of the population supporting their continuance.

It comes as the WHO released a statement describing the picture in Europe as “mixed,” with the outbreaks in Britain and Turkey still growing.

"The overall world outbreak, 90 percent of cases are coming from Europe and the United States of America. So we are certainly not seeing the peak yet,” WHO spokeswoman Dr Margaret Harris told a briefing in Geneva.

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