Nations begin to loosen restrictions amid coronavirus pandemic

New DelhiEdited By: Palki SharmaUpdated: May 27, 2020, 07:13 AM IST

A file photo of coronavirus in Italy. Photograph:(AFP)

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The ancient ruins of Pompeii is also open to visitors. New streets have been opened as have some never-seen-before houses but there is no crowd.

The coronavirus pandemic is far from over but for how long can people stay locked inside their houses?

As COVID-19 cases cross the 5.5 million mark, countries around the world are slowly easing lockdown restrictions.

Living with the virus is the new mantra. People are stepping out of their homes and paddling into the new normal. 

Pools have been re-opened in Italy along with staying afloat, the swimmers must ensure they maintain social distancing with only a limited number of people being allowed at a given time with markers outside the pool too in order to ensure swimmers and sunbathers maintain distance.

Italians are also free to sweat-out their lockdown weight. Gyms are welcoming back members 

"The dressing rooms and gym rooms, cardio, weights and fitness are all open," says Daniele Ninci, manager of forum sports center.

In London, tennis courts have re-opened. The rules of the game remain the same but social distancing levels have been upped, doubles are reserved for a family group of four only. Players have to sanitize their hands before entering the court changing ends can only be done from either side of the net. The club's bar area has stayed shut which means, players cannot cool down with a drink post-match.

However, this isn't the case in two of Spain's busiest cities - Madrid, bars have now re-opened terraces. They are allowed to host guests up to 50 per cent capacity. Restaurants have been reopened in neighbouring Barcelona too.

In Greece, most restauranteurs have made it mandatory for staff and waiters to wear masks. In downtown Athens, traditional restaurants were seen hosting a couple of local customers. Eleni Boukoutzu met her elderly parents for lunch after two long months. All this while, she had only spoken to them over the phone. 

"I'm having a great time today because Greece is a country of high spirits, of having fun. We are not used to not having our restaurants, our coffee shops, to not be able to go out and enjoy ourselves," Eleni Boukoutzu, restaurant customer. said.

The ancient ruins of Pompeii is also open to visitors. New streets have been opened as have some never-seen-before houses but there is no crowd.

Authorities say seeing Pompeii like this is almost a metaphysical experience. Some three thousand miles away, the biblical city of Bethlehem has flung open the gates of the nativity church. It is one of Christianity's most sacred shrines.

"All people can now enter the church and pray, as they want and just like before, not only the believers in Bethlehem but from all over the world," bishop Theophylactos, Greek orthodox cleric, said.

Also welcoming visitors once again is Jerusalem's church of holy sepulcher.