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Coronavirus: Executive says now is not time to begin exiting lockdown but what is happening around the world?

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Authorities have ended the lockdown of Wuhan, allowing people to move about and leave the city for the first time in 76 days (Sam McNeil/AP)

Authorities have ended the lockdown of Wuhan, allowing people to move about and leave the city for the first time in 76 days (Sam McNeil/AP)

AP/PA Images

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Authorities have ended the lockdown of Wuhan, allowing people to move about and leave the city for the first time in 76 days (Sam McNeil/AP)

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill has said now is not the time to discuss how Northern Ireland exits its coronavirus lockdown.

The Sinn Fein vice president said it was the responsibility of the Executive to plan a strategy before the next review of the lockdown measures on May 9 when the move could be discussed "more openly".

"The Executive clearly has a big job on its hands in terms of being able to chart our way through this the best we can given we have limited powers for example - so it is going to be challenging," she told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme.

"Today the message is clearly we need people to stay at home."

The MLA was asked if they had agreed a way out of the lockdown, and if Northern Ireland's approach would split from the rest of the UK.

"This is about saving people' lives," she said.

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Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

"So whatever is in the interests of people that is what we as an Executive will do. We are elected for the people here so we have to do what is right for the people.

"We have our own modelling which is very welcome and that allows us to take decisions based on what is in our best interests.

"And again we will be guided by the advice we get from our chief medical officer and our chief scientific officer and then we take political decisions."

Across the world countries have been preparing, or in some cases taking tentative steps to lift their own restrictions.

In China at Wuhan -where the outbreak started - blockades were lifted for the first time in 11 weeks. Last Tuesday, April 14 the country recorded no deaths for the first time since it began publishing figures, according to authorities.

Anyone who has a "green" code on a health app on their phone is now allowed to leave, for the first time since January 23.

Train, road and rail connections were re-established.

Elsewhere the Spanish government allowed 300,000 non-essential workers to return to work last Monday, April 13 including manufacturing, cleaning and construction staff. Shops, bars and public spaces remain closed for at least another week and office workers are to continue to work from home. Their lockdown could be extended until May 3.

In Italy - where over 20,000 have died - some shops selling stationery and children's clothes have started to reopen under strict hygiene rules but a general lockdown remains in place.

In some of the worst-hit regions have decided to hold off lifting any restrictions. The worst affected areas such as Lombardy are to maintain measures for longer. A full lockdown could end on May 4.

In the Republic of Ireland schools could be reopened one day a week before the end of term this summer. The government has ruled out mass gatherings for the foreseeable future, throwing into doubt the prospect of this year's All-Ireland championships and annual concerts and festivals. Health Minister Simon Harris also said he couldn't see a return to "packed pubs" "as long as this virus is with us".

Other plans include allowing people to exercise farther than 2km from their homes and letting the over-70s, who are currently 'cocooning' at home, go for a walk.

In Austria, small retailers, DIY shops and garden centres are open under the condition customers wear masks and remain one-metre apart. Shops and hairdressers are expected to open at the start of May, followed by restaurants in about a month from now. It was one of the first European countries to impose a lockdown alongside Italy.

The Austrian government has said it has "flattened the curve" of new infections.

Denmark has said it intends to ease its lockdown faster than originally planned. Schools for younger children opened last week.

Germany has permitted small retailers to open as well as car dealerships, cycle shops and book stores. The public has been advised to wear face masks while out while gyms restaurants and large shops are to remain shut.

Meanwhile in France, President Emmanuel Macron extended the lockdown until May 11.

He said that will signal a "new phase.... It will be progressive and the rules can be adapted according to our results."

He said schools would gradually reopen but restaurants would have to remain closed. He said the most vulnerable would have to remain in isolation after restrictions were lifted.

The European Commission has urged EU countries to co-ordinate with each other to relax measures gradually.

And in America, the Trump administration has published guidance on how each state could exit their lockdown. The Opening Up America Again document outlines three phases for states to ease restrictions.

Under phase one most travel restrictions would remain but restaurants, places of worship and sports venues "can operate under strict physical distancing protocols".

Should there be no re-emergence of the virus, non-essential travel could resume under phase two with schools and bars operating under reduced occupancy.

And if there continued to be a downward trend in new Covid-19 cases, public movement would be further lifted with social distancing. Visits to care homes and hospitals would be allowed to resume.

President Trump has suggested some states could reopen this month, however, some state governors have criticised the plans saying they still do not have the ability to test enough people.

Belfast Telegraph