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Cyclists and runners took to the streets and seafronts of Spain today as the country continued to ease its coronavirus lockdown while other European nations begin to gently ease out of quarantine. 

The most-committed Spanish fitness junkies darted from their homes at 6am after 49 days of confinement to make the most of their four-hour window this morning. They will also be allowed out between 8pm and 10pm tonight.   

Yesterday, Austria 'abandoned' restrictions on movement altogether, after the Public Health Minister Rudolf Anschober announced a roadmap out of lockdown for May, earlier this week. 

Austria stepped out of full quarantine early, with small shops allowed to open in mid-April, which was extended to hairdressers and beauty salons today. 






Several people can be seen exercising in Barcelona, after Spain eased its lockdown measures this morning, allowing adults out between 8am and 10am 







People sit as others exercise on Barcelona's seafront promenade in this photo taken this morning in Barcelona, Spain







People walk and exercise in a seafront promenade during sunset in Barcelona, Spain today. Spaniards have filled the streets of the country to do exercise for the first time after seven weeks of confinement in their homes to fight the coronavirus pandemic















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People are seen running and cycling through Puerta de Alcala on the first day Spain eased its Covid-19 lockdown measures to allow exercise on May 2, 2020 in Madrid , Spain. Spain continues to ease the Covid-19 lockdown measures this weekend, with high temperatures forecast across the country. Permitted activities now include walking with the family, outdoor exercise such as running and going out with children







Several people do exercise or go for a walk along Paseo Maritimo promenade early morning in Barcelona, Spain, this morning. Spain begins a de-escalation phase amid the coronavirus outbreak, allowing adults to leave their homes' daily, but with restrictions







All Spaniards are again allowed to leave their homes since today to walk or play sports after 48 days of very strict confinement to curb the coronavirus pandemic. People can be seen exercising on the beach in Valencia today 


Meanwhile, by breakfast time this morning, thousands of cyclists had taken to a five-mile footpath in Barcelona known as the La Carretera de les Aigues - Road of the Waters in English - making it difficult to maintain social distancing guidelines. 

At a press conference this afternoon Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a £14billion reconstruction fund for the economic and social damage caused by the disease, and he also made face masks mandatory on all forms of public transport. 

The Madrid government, which had until now 'highly recommended' the use of masks, will distribute six million across the country from Monday and supply another seven million to local authorities to distribute on buses, trains and trams. 

In parts of Madrid sports enthusiasts, most without face masks, today got close to each other as they used the same pavements to exercise.

Today marked the start of the time-slot system announced by health minister Salvador Illa on Thursday.

Adults participating in individual sports like running and cycling have been told they must go out between 6am and 10am or 8pm to 11pm.

Those aged 70 or over who want to go for a stroll, must wait for their two-hour window between 10am and midday or between 7pm and 8pm.  






People exercise in Valencia today, during the hours permitted by the government to go out and exercise, for the first time since the beginning of a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease









People walk along the beach of Zorriola in San Sebastian this morning, during the hours in which individual exercise is allowed outdoors, for the first time since the lockdown was announced, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in San Sebastian, Spain today







People rush into a clothing store opening for the first time since the government imposed restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus this morning in Vienna, Austria







Hairdresser Romy dyes a customer's hair today in Innsbruck, Austria. Hair salons and barber shops reopen after Austria's seven-week lockdown due to the Coronavirus crisis. Customers and employees must wear masks and are required to keep as much distance as possible















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Beautician Martina Sekkal gives a facial treatment to her client during the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna, Austria, today







People exercise outdoors in Barcelona this morning. Spain continues to ease its Covid-19 lockdown measures this weekend, while high temperatures are forecast across the country







Adults under 70 wanting to stroll have also been told to stick to the same timetables as sports enthusiasts, but they must stay within a mile of their homes and walk for an hour maximum


Although Austrians are now free to wander through their cities and towns, at a safe distance, they still won't be able to eat in a restaurant until 15 May. 

The European nation has consistently reported under 100 cases of the coronavirus per day, with just 589 deaths since the start of the outbreak, according to the World Health Organization.  

Austrians flocked to newly reopened hairdressers, beauticians and electronics shops on Saturday, as they relished the loosening of a seven-week-old coronavirus lockdown, although the move could yet cause a rebound in infections.

The Alpine republic acted early to close restaurants, bars, theatres, schools, non-essential shops and other gathering places, which helped reduce the daily increase in infections to less than one per cent. Austria has reported about 15,500 cases and 589 deaths so far.

The conservative-led government has said those relatively low numbers justify a phased reopening. The second phase - shopping centres, larger shops and service providers including hairdressers - began on Friday, a public holiday, meaning almost all reopened on Saturday.

'After seven weeks in which no appointments were possible, I have the great fortune of having got the first appointment at my hairdresser,' Gertraud Schubert said proudly as she had her hair cut and coloured at Hair Concept, a Vienna salon which is fully booked for the next three weeks.

Of several European countries which have loosened their lockdowns, Switzerland and Denmark have already let hairdressers reopen, prompting relief among many who had grown scruffy and unkempt while working from home.

In Vienna, hairdressers and clients wore face masks, which are required in shops and on public transport.






The Madrid government, which had until now 'highly recommended' the use of masks, will distribute six million across the country from Monday







In parts of Madrid sports enthusiasts, most without face masks, today got close to each other as they used the same pavements to exercise







Spanish surfer Letizia Canales, ranked among the world's top-10 surfers, trains for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown was declared in Sopelana, Basque Country this morning







A pair of early-rising cyclists venture out this morning in Malaga, southern Spain, after the country eased their lockdown restrictions, allowing adults out in a shift pattern







People do exercise in the early morning in Madrid, Spain, today. Spain has begun a de-escalation phase amid the coronavirus outbreak, allowing adults to leave their homes on a daily basis, but only for specified hours 























People walk, run and ride bicycles near the seafront this morning in Barcelona, Spain, as the country eases its lockdown 


In Spain, children under 14 with a parent, who have been allowed out for an hour between 9am and 9pm since last Sunday, will continue to be able to do so but now from midday to 7pm.

Adults under 70 wanting to stroll have also been told to stick to the same timetables as sports enthusiasts, but they must stay within a mile of their homes and walk for an hour maximum.

Those doing sport can move within their municipality for as long as they want within their allocated time-slot.

Beaches in Tarifa were opened to water sports enthusiasts including windsurfers and kite-surfers, although swimming will remain off limits until 8 June when some areas hope to move towards the last phase of a national de-escalation plan.

In towns and cities, the odd rollerblader mixed with the many runners and cyclists.

Joggers in the Costa del Sol resort of Marbella were encouraged to use a series of routes recommended by a local athlete and promoted by the town hall on social media.






















People walk in the shopping street 'Getreidegasse' in the old town in Salzburg, Austria today. - Austrian citizens are allowed to leave the house for non-essential trips as it eases coronavirus lockdown measures, but said limits on gatherings and social distancing rules would remain in place







Customers maintain a safe distance from each other as they wait in line to enter an IKEA outlet in Vienna, Austria on May 2, 2020, after authorities eased down some of the measures that have been in place during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic crisis







People sit on benches in Vienna city centre today, as the government reopens larger shops as well as small businesses in a loosening of the lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Vienna, Austria today 







People walk in Vienna today, as the government announced the reopening of larger shops in an easing of its lockdown measures







Flight passengers queue at a check in desk of the low-cost airline Wizz Air yesterday at the Schwechat airport near Vienna, Austria. - Wizz Air is restarting flights from Vienna to 20 destinations over the coming weeks, with the first services running from yesterday









Barber shops and beauty salons have been reopened in Austria today as the country loosens its lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Pictured: A hairdresser works on a client in Vienna today







Although Austrians are now free to wander through their cities and towns, at a safe distance, they still won't be able to eat in a restaurant until 15 May


In Barcelona 70 parks have been re-opened and more than 40 streets closed to traffic to help the public maintain social distancing.

Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez plea for people to act 'responsibly' in an early morning tweet.   

But, the high number of deaths from Covid-19 still looms over the Mediterranean country, with the tally surpassing the 25,000-mark today.

Spanish health chiefs said 276 people with coronavirus had died in the past 24 hours, taking the number of Covid-19 deaths since the start of the crisis to 25,100. 






People walk in the shopping street 'Getreidegasse' in the old town in Salzburg, Austria today







A man runs through a Madrid park this morning as the country eases its lockdown restrictions, allowing adults out in a shift pattern







People can be seen cycling along a road in Madrid as Spain eases its lockdown restrictions, allowing adults to venture out daily in a shift pattern







Elderly people walk along the city streets wearing face masks today in Madrid, Spain, during their allotted time. Elderly people are released at a different time to the rest of the population, in the hopes of protecting them from catching the coronavirus







Elderly people walk along the city streets wearing face masks today in Madrid, Spain. Permitted activities now include walking with the family, outdoor exercise such as running and going out with children


He said: 'Today we take a new step with the measures easing confinement but we must do it with common sense and responsibility,

'The virus is still out there.'

British expat John Stephens, out for a morning walk in Marbella, said: 'I had intended heading to the seafront but when I got there it was pretty packed.






Elderly women wearing face masks rest on a bench while out walking during their permitted time slot today in Madrid, Spain 







Pepole exercise in Seville today, during the hours allowed by the government to go out and exercise, for the first time since the beginning of a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease







A young woman walks arm-in-arm with an elderly woman, helping her to walk along the streets of Madrid, Spain today 


'People were trying to keep as far apart from each other as possible but the problem was the sheer numbers. It was madness to be honest.

'I'm hoping it was just a case of people being desperate to get out and do sport after so long cooped up inside, and the novelty will wear off for many later in the week.'

Tour de France winner Pedro Delgado, criticising Health Minister Salvador Illa in a sarcastic tweet about the early-morning and late-night slots, said: 'Great stuff Minister Illa.

'With those timetables and the municipal boundary limits, it's impossible to do cycling.

'It's an invitation to everyone to go out at once and get close continually at times of the day when visibility is not great.

'Perhaps it's been designed to give more work to our already saturated hospitals?'

The lifting of the ban on outdoor sport is the second key easing of Spain's coronavirus lockdown, after the under 14s were allowed out with one of their parents or guardians from last Sunday.

Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez announced a four-phase Covid-19 de-escalation plan on Tuesday, which will kick off on some Canary Islands and Formentera in the Balearic Islands on Monday.

Hotels on the islands have been allowed to re-open, although hoteliers there and in other parts of Spain who expecting to be able to re-open on May 11 say they intend staying shut because there are no tourists.

Travel between provinces and islands in Spain has been banned until at least June 22.

The question of when air and land borders will be reopened, and foreign tourists allowed back into Spain, remains unanswered.

Spain's Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto confirmed on Thursday the Spanish government was preparing a plan to relaunch national tourism ahead of the peak summer season.

On the question of foreign tourism she said her intention was that they 'returned soon and with maximum safety guarantees, if the health and travel situation made it possible.' 

As Spain eases up its quarantine, UK Health Minister Matt Hancock today announced that the British death toll had risen by 739 to 27,510 deaths - just below that of Italy which was one of the first and worst-hit European states. 






Caption: A Spanish official has been criticised after using bleach to disinfect a popular tourist beach, Zahara de los Atunes Beach







Surfers catch waves at Zorriola beach after adults were allowed out to exercise for the first time in seven weeks, as the government began easing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in San Sebastian, Spain today







An elderly man sits beside a woman on a bench in Palma de Mallorca today, during the hours permitted by the government to go out and exercise, for the first time since the beginning of a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease


Deaths in Italy climbed by 269 on Friday, down from 285 the day before, the country's Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new infections stood at 1,965 against 1,872 on Thursday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on 21 February now stands at 28,236, the agency said, the second highest in the world after that of the United States. Even Italy, which has been hit so hard by the virus, will begin to ease restrictions on Monday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said last week. 

Italians will soon be able to visit their relatives, but only in small numbers, while parks, factories and building sites will also reopen. 

But, children will not be asked to attend classes until September, the PM said.

The French government announced this afternoon that it would be extending its national state of emergency, which was passed by parliament on 22 March, will be extended until 25 July. Officials said it would be 'premature' to end it before that date. 

The state of emergency is a piece of legislature implemented by the French government to give them special powers in combating the virus. It's not yet known whether the country's restrictions on movement will continue until the end of July. 

In an address marking international Labour Day on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that the exit from lockdown would not signal a return to 'normal life'.

'There will be a recovery that will need to be reorganised,' Macron said. 'There will be several phases and May 11 will be one of them.'

France announced a gradual loosening of lockdown measures, which will begin on 11 May. First, shops and primary schools will open, but older students will not be able to attend classes until at least June. 

Face masks will be made compulsory on public transport and working from home is encouraged. 

 Cafes, bars and restaurants will remain closed. 

Travellers to France, including French citizens returning home, will face a compulsory two-week quarantine and possible isolation when they arrive in the country to help slow the spread of coronavirus, the health minister also announced today. 

The European response to the virus has been varied, with countries choosing different ways to ease out of lockdown. 

Greece announced the reopening of registry offices and courts this week, while further easing of its quarantine is planned from Monday. Face masks will become mandatory on public transport and shops. 

The Czech Republic, which has recorded 7,740 and 241 deaths, is now permitting non-essential travel and has opened universities, fitness centres and shops of 2,500 square feet. 

Chances are rising that Slovakia will allow more shops to open next week, Prime Minister Igor Matovic said on Saturday as the number of new coronavirus infections remained low.

The country of 5.5 million people has reported 1,407 cases of the virus, although daily new infections have been less than 10 for the past week.

'The chance that all shops outside of shopping malls will be open from May 6 are dramatically rising,' Matovic said in a [tổng đài facebook việt nam] post on Saturday, after only four new infections were recorded for the previous day.

Slovakia has reported 24 deaths from COVID-19, giving it one of the lowest rates per capita in Europe. 






People stand at the top of the Areopagus hill, in front of the Acropolis hill in Athens, during lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus yesterday. Greek authorities say the use of face masks will be compulsory on public transport and shops from Monday, when the country starts to ease its lockdown restrictions







Deputies of the City Council of Bratislava attend an assembly, keeping two meters distance as a precautionary measure against the spread of a novel coronavirus during their lockdown on 30 April







A man speaks on the phone as he walks in the closed pedestrian gallery 'Passage Choiseul' in Paris, today, on the 47th day of a strict lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). France announced today that it would continue its state of emergency until 25 July 







A metro maintenance worker wearing a face mask cleans inside a metro wagon during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic today in Paris, France, as the country prepares to ease lockdown measures 


An emergency hospital operating at Ifema in Madrid, Europe's largest field hospital which at one point was treating nearly 1,300 Covid-19 patients, closed on Friday.

It began to operate on March 22 to help the Spanish's capital saturated hospitals. 

Developments show that Spain is pulling out of the crisis that has now claimed the lives of 24,824 people. The death toll rose by 281 overnight, according to the health ministry, a small rise from the previous day but still one of the lowest daily tolls in weeks.

But the economic cost was adding up. Economy Minister Nadia Calvino on Friday announced a forecast of a record fall in Spain's gross domestic product (GDP) of 9.2 per cent in 2020 - greater than during the country's Great Recession of 2008-2013.






Italy has been hesitant to ease lockdown measures after recording the highest number of deaths after the US. Pictured: A man is carried on a stretcher to an ambulance yesterday in Trieste







A family talk atop their apartment building terrace in central Rome, in the San Lorenzo district on the International Workers' Day on yesterday during the country's lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus







Musicians Arianna Consoli and Giufà Galati perform for the show Sotto lo Stesso Cielo tour (Under the same sky tour) in Torpignattara suburbs, on May 01, 2020 in Rome, Italy. Italy will remain on lockdown to stem the transmission of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), slowly easing restrictions







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Spain has been one the countries worst hit by the pandemic that spread across the globe from China since December.

However, the pandemic's decline in Spain has drastically reduced the number of people admitted to hospitals - 732 new patients, according to the latest data - and authorities on Friday closed down the temporary facility set up at Madrid's Ifema exhibition centre.

'I thank the whole centre, from the cleaning staff to the top, they have been loving, kind to us, a human warmth,' said 73-year-old Patrocinio Gonzalez Dorado, as she left the compound wearing a protective mask decorated with paper lips.

'We haven't had family here and they have served as family and support,' said Gonzalez, who had been there since April 7.

The hospital, with 1,350 beds, was Spain's largest during the outbreak and a symbol of the nation's struggle. It treated about 4,000 patients, and will remain equipped and ready to reopen in the event of a new outbreak.

Another patient leaving the centre in a wheelchair was applauded by health personnel while a singer sang the 'Nessun Dorma' aria from the opera 'Turandot'.

However, dozens of health workers staged a protest when Madrid regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso came to officially close the facility, demanding more tests and better protective equipment. Data shows that 41,239 health workers have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.






An image taken today shows police officers, firefighters and medical workers attending a ceremony to mark the Day of the Autonomous Community of Madrid at the iconic Puerta del Sol square in downtown Madrid, Spain







Pictured: Two cyclists ride next to the Guadalquivir river in Sevilla, Spain today 







People exercise in Valencia today, during the hours permitted by the government to go out and exercise, for the first time since the beginning of a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease


Unable to protest in the streets in the traditional Labour Day rallies were Spanish trade unions, prevented from gathering for the first time since the right to demonstrate was legalised in Spain in 1978.

Adapting to the restrictions, the unions called for virtual rallies on social media, demanding labour rights as potentially the worst economic crisis in Spanish history and a huge surge of unemployment loomed.

Economy Minister Calvino forecast a record fall in GDP of 9.2 per cent in 2020 but said a projected recovery in 2021 with a 6.8 per cent increase was expected. Unemployment for 2020 was forecast to rise to 19 per cent, easing to 17.2 per cent in 2021.

Beaches and hotels lie empty in a tourism sector that is one of the biggest contributors to the economy. Another driver, construction and real estate, is at a standstill after only just recovering from the 2008 financial crisis.



Read more:

France announces 'progressive and controlled' lockdown exit plan | World news | The Guardian

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