Italy and Spain are among a number of European countries that are set to further ease their coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Monday.
Most businesses in Italy, including bars and hairdressers, will be free to reopen after more than two months of nationwide lockdown measures.
Spain is set to relax its restrictions outside of Madrid and Barcelona, with groups of up to 10 people free to meet.
The measures follow consistent drops in the number of daily recorded deaths.
On Sunday, Italy recorded the fewest daily deaths since it entered lockdown in March.
It said 145 people had died with the virus in the previous 24 hours. This marked a significant drop from its highest daily death toll, which was more than 900 on 27 March.
In Spain, the daily death toll fell below 100 for the first time since it imposed its lockdown restrictions.
But officials are warning that complacency over the virus could lead to a second wave of infections.
What’s happening on Monday?
Restaurants, bars, cafes, hairdressers and shops will be allowed to reopen in Italy providing social distancing is enforced.
Catholic churches are preparing for the resumption of Mass, but there will be strict social distancing and worshippers must wear face masks. Other faiths will also be allowed to hold religious services.
But health officials have warned of the continued dangers of large social gatherings.
In Spain, a majority of people will have emerged from lockdown by the end of the week.
Outdoor seating in bars and restaurants will be allowed from Monday, as well as family reunions and meetings between friends providing no more than 10 people gather.
In Madrid and Barcelona, along with parts of the north-west, the majority of restrictions will remain in place, but some small shops will be allowed to reopen.
The country is now “very close” to stopping the transmission of the virus, the head of the emergency health centre, Fernando Simon, said on Sunday.
But he warned that the risk of a second wave of cases was “still very big”.
Elsewhere in Europe, Belgium is to begin reopening primary and secondary schools under strict conditions on Monday.
Portugal, Greece, Denmark and Ireland are among a number of countries which are also set to relax their lockdown measures.
In other global developments:
- More than 4.6 million coronavirus cases have been reported globally, according to Johns Hopkins University, and the total death toll has risen to more than 312,000
- Brazil has overtaken Spain and Italy to become the country with the fourth-largest number of confirmed infections in the world
- The chairman of the US Federal Reserve has warned that the American economy may not recover from the pandemic until late 2021
- The UK has reported 170 new virus-related deaths – the lowest figure since the day after its lockdown began
- Meanwhile, India has extended its nationwide lockdown until 31 May, although it has been relaxed considerably
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