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How do you lift a coronavirus lockdown? Ask Austria

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New York – We are seeing glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel that is the COVID-19 crisis. China, where the pandemic first struck, had its first day with no new deaths to report. Europe’s worst-hit countries, Italy and Spain, are recording a slowing of their respective death tolls. And governments are now talking openly about lifting draconian lockdowns that have restricted movement for half of the world’s population, torpedoed economic activity and imposed a global recession. This is a big moment.

The tunnel is a long one, though. The coronavirus outbreak hasn’t spread uniformly, and, in Europe, country-by-country lockdowns have been applied in haphazard ways. For now, only a handful of states are outlining plans to lift restrictions within days.

The most confident public signals aren’t coming from countries with the most heavy-handed measures, such as Italy or Spain, or those taking a more lax stance, like Sweden (which is belatedly getting tougher). They’re coming from Austria and Denmark, which acted early relative to their coronavirus outbreaks and saw their infection rates come under control. Data........

© The Japan Times