France, Spain and UK prepare to ease lockdowns starting Monday

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AP
France, Spain and UK prepare to ease lockdowns starting Monday
Copyright  Emilio Morenatti/ Associated Press

In Spain regions where hospitals can show they're able to handle a possible second wave of coronavirus infections will be allowed to loosen their lockdown starting Monday.

In some areas, mostly rural ones, bars and restaurants will be allowed to open up half of their outdoor seating. Churches, theatres and museums will also be reopened with limits on visitor numbers.

But Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez indicated the spread of the virus could ramp up again.

"The fight against the epidemic is continuing because it has not been extinguished, nor will it be extinguished until we find a vaccine or a definitive therapeutic remedy," Pedro Sánchez said.

In France, after 55 days, the lockdown will also be loosened on Monday.

People won't need to present a permit to travel within 100 kilometres of where they live and public transport will step up a gear.

But restaurants, cafés bars and museums will remain firmly shut, for now.

Hairdressers will also open, as will small shops but not big shopping malls.

In the UK, which has Europe's highest death toll, the measures to loosen the restrictions are much more limiting.

The government is expected to allow people to exercise outside for longer.

And £2bn will be spent on promoting walking and cycling, partly by widening pavements, establishing cycling tracks and making some streets only open to cyclists.