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Spain announces return to new normal by end of June

Spain has laid down a four-phase plan to lift its strict COVID-19 lockdown and return to a new normal by the end of June. PM Pedro Sanchez said each region would ease restrictions with a varied pace depending upon the severity of the virus. Four Spanish Islands will relax restrictions in the first phase from May 4, with the rest of the country following the suit a week later. The deadly outbreak has so far caused 24,000 fatalities in the European state and the nation has undergone some of the stringent social distancing measures to curb the outspread since March 14.

The decision has been announced by the Prime Minister after the authorities observed a decline in the new confirmed cases and number of deaths. According to numbers provided by Health Ministry, Tuesday recorded a death toll of 301 compared with the highest once day tally of 950 earlier in April. The number of new cases also dropped to 1,308 on Tuesday, its lowest level since March 14.

On Sunday, Spanish Children under the age of 14 finally came out of homes to saw the streets after serving a six-week-ban but they will only enjoy the freedom for one hour a day between 9:00 and 21:00.

Effective May 2, the rest of the Spanish population will also be permitted for brief outdoor exercise and walks, if the number of infections continue to drop.

Spain has already reopened its economy by allowing workers in construction, manufacturing and a limited services sector to return to work from April 13.

On Tuesday, the PM charted out a comprehensive plan to drop down the restriction in four phases, each coming after a gap of two weeks. Mr. Sanchez said it would take a minimum of six weeks and maximum of eight weeks to complete the de-escalation.

“By the end of June, we as a country will have entered into the new normality if the epidemic remains under control,” he said.

The plan will start from the phase zero on May 4 whereby hairdressers and other appointment-based businesses will allow to reopen. However as per the plan that will run until May 11, restaurants will only offer take-away and professional sports leagues will resume their training.

Once the plan kicks in, the Prime Minister said provinces will take decisions on their own and will be independent in their decisions to advance to less restrictive phases depending on their infection rates and local hospital capacity and the discipline carried out in maintaining social distancing. The government also wants to extend work-from-home regimen wherever possible until June when the last phase of reopening will come into effect.