Situation update: May will see lockdowns lifted around the world

Published 2020-04-29 15:02

France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the US… more and more countries are starting to lift or ease the lockdown. Here’s an update on how this is being done around the world.


The lockdown will be lifted very gradually beginning on the 11th of May in France. The Prime minister, Edouard Philippe announced a two-phase lift in parliament on the 28th of April. As from the 11th of May, if the number of infected cases continue to go down, the first phase of the lockdown will be lifted and therefore, residents will no longer need permission to be outside within 100 kilometres of their residence and they will be required to wear masks in public transports. Primary schools will also open from the 11th of May although only 15 students will be allowed in a classroom at a time. High schools will only re-open as of the 18th of May. All commercial entities except cafes and restaurants can open as from the 11th of May. Enterprises are also encouraged to promote remote working whenever possible.


Spain was one of the most affected countries and the residents have been subject to strict lockdown measures since the 14th of March. However, the number of infections are also decreasing in Spain and the country is slowly easing the lockdown measures. Since the 26th of April, children under the age of 14 years old are allowed in parks and playgrounds for an hour everyday and from the 1st of May on, adults will also be allowed to exercise outside. Depending on the infection rates following these measures, other gradual lockdown measures will be lifted beginning the second half of May. However, schools will not open before September.


Italy was the first European country to go into full lockdown on the 9th of March, being the most infected country in Europe. Lockdown restrictions will begin on the 4th of May in Italy with parks reopening and people being able to go outside if they are wearing the required protective wear and respect social distancing norms. Italy’s building sites as well as factories will also be able to operate as from the 4th of May and restaurants will operate take away services. Schools, however, will likely be closed all of summer.

United States

Several states are looking to ease lockdown measures in the United States although the infection rate is not exactly decreasing. South Caroline, Alaska, Oklahoma and Georgia are already allowing the reopening of businesses and other firms are set to follow their paths, although health experts are advising against a reopening at this stage. New York, on the other hand, will start to lift lockdown measures mid-May with manufacturing and construction business allowed to operate as from the 15th.

New Zealand

New Zealand has started to lift its lockdown measures since the 28th of April. The country has allowed businesses in priority sectors, healthcare and education to start their operations. While no date has been set for the opening of other businesses, such as restaurants or cafes, New Zealand’s Prime minister, Jacinda Ardern has stated that it might be a while before residents will be able to go back to their normal social lives.


Ghana has lifted its lockdown measures after three weeks. Indeed, the country had been under lockdown since the 30th of March. Beginning 20th of April, the businesses in the country have been allowed to operate while respecting the sanitary measures such as wearing masks and respecting social distancing. Over the month of May, further easing of the measures will be allowed but schools are to remain closed until further notice.

South Africa

As from the 1st of May, South Africa will also ease its lockdown measures. Beginning in May, one third of employees will have the choice to go back to work, public transport will operate, the sale of alcohol will be allowed and people will be allowed to exercise outdoors again.