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European countries begin to ease COVID-19 lockdowns, take steps closer to normalcy Updated: 2020-06-04 09:07:54 KST

Germany and Belgium are among a number of European countries further easing their COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Calling the latest decision "a big step forward", Belgium's prime minister explained detailed plans to reopen the country.

"Starting June 8 it will be possible to travel for one or several days in Belgium. And starting June 15 Belgium will open its borders towards and from European Union countries, including the United Kingdom and the four additional countries from the Schengen area. But be careful as countries can decide unilaterally to open their borders, under their conditions."

Germany also lifted its blanket European travel warning, as new cases in western Europe are now in steady decline.
Its foreign minister said the travel restrictions will be lifted to the 26 EU countries as well as other European nations starting June 15th, while maintaining its travel warning for non-European destinations.
But he stressed the country needs to prevent a possible second wave.

"The pandemic is far from over, and we must together prevent a resumption of tourism leading to a second wave in Germany, but also elsewhere."

As European skies reopen, many Italians and EU citizens who were stranded in Italy since the beginning of the outbreak are flying out of the country.
This comes as Italy's daily tally of new COVID-19 cases was roughly stable at 321 and 318 on Wednesday and Tuesday, respectively.
Its death toll, however, climbed by 71, and were mostly concentrated in the northern Lombardy region, which is the country's epicenter of the virus.
Britain continues to struggle with its official government death toll nearing 40-thousand on Wednesday, with over 280-thousand confirmed cases.
Amid the continued easing of travel restrictions across Europe, the British government remained firm that it needs to impose a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine rule for all people arriving in the country to avoid a second wave of the virus.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
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