Denmark and Norway have both announced fresh plans to further ease COVID-19 restrictions.
Shops in Denmark will be allowed to reopen from Monday (May 11), followed a week later by the return of bars, restaurants and secondary schools. Professional sports teams will return to training immediately.
Denmark’s lockdown, introduced on March 11, was early compared to other European countries. At the time of writing, the country has registered around 10,000 infections and more than 500 COVID-19 fatalities.
The announcement of phase two of restrictions being eased came after a long debate in the Danish parliament and eventual agreement. But there is, as yet, no decision on when cinemas, universities and gymnasiums can reopen.
Meanwhile, the Danish capital Copenhagen has confirmed its commitment to hosting its share of the Euro 2020 football matches, now postponed until 2021. It will host four games despite them now coinciding with the opening stages of Le Tour De France.
Further north, in Norway, professional sports are also being allowed to restart. Football leagues will resume fixtures from June 16.
Primary schools have already reopened but middle and high schools will return from Monday (May 11).
Bars will reopen from June 1.
There’s also a relaxation in Norway of the number of people who can gather at any one time; private assemblies of people are now permitted to reach a maximum of 20.
In public, gatherings are now allowed up to a maximum of 50. The decision has arrived in good time: Norway celebrates its national day on May 17.
The country, which locked down early too, on March 12, has seen around 8,000 infections and more than 200 COVID-19 deaths.
Sweden, controversially, has been following a different trajectory during the pandemic with most restaurants and cafes remaining open.
The strategy, which has strong support amongst the Swedish public, was similar to one initially followed in the UK.
Sweden’s mortality rate is higher than its Scandinavian neighbours. It has had around 25,000 infections and more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths.