Denmark has become the first European country to relax coronavirus restrictions in the education sector. It was the first European country to impose the lockdown on March 13 to curb the spread of the virus. Children in the capital Copenhagen were welcomed by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen as they went back to school on Wednesday.

All schools are expected to reopen by April 20. Nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools have reopened after they were completely closed down on March 17.

The classrooms have been completely reorganized with strict new sanitary guidelines. All schools are required to ensure at least six feet of safe distance between the desks as a precautionary measure. The trade union representing education workers, BUPL, told the BBC that maintaining good distance from each other and ensuring strict hygiene rules are going to be a very difficult task.

school bus
Representational image

How is Denmark relaxing the restrictions?

Statens Serum Institut, which is engaged in preventing and controlling infectious diseases, claims that Denmark has managed to reduce the number of people getting infected from one positive case to 0.6. The same number before the lockdown was 2.6 people. Some parents still prefer to keep their children at home, said Prime Minister Frederiksen while on a visit to a school in the Valby area. She announced relaxation of the restrictions on April 12. "It's important we don't keep Denmark closed for longer than we need to."

Other countries in Europe like Norway and Austria are also gradually easing restrictions. Many shops in Austria have been allowed to reopen starting Thursday. Hotels and restaurants will be allowed to resume from May. Spain and Italy, the worst affected countries in Europe, have also allowed some non-essential workers to go back to work starting April 12.

Denmark started seeing a gradual dip in the daily number of new cases from April 7 when it recorded the highest number of 390 new cases. It recorded 193 new cases on April 14 bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 6,681 so far. It recorded 14 new deaths on Tuesday taking the total number of deaths to 309 due to the coronavirus pandemic.