Norway, which said it has Covid-19 under control, has started opening up pre-schools after a month-long closure.

Authorities have said the reopening was possible because children have been less affected by Covid-19, although some parents have expressed reservations over the decision.

"Going to pre-school is safe," Education Minister Guri Melby has repeated leading up to the reopening.

However, as in neighbouring Denmark, a Facebook group called "My child should not be a guinea pig for Covid-19" has been created and an online petition objecting to the reopening has garnered nearly 30,000 signatures.

According to a poll published by Norwegian broadcaster NRK over the weekend, 24% of parents did not want to send their children back to pre-school and 13% said they were unsure.

Pre-schools will have to ensure certain health protocols.

In particular, children under the age of three will have to be in groups of three under one adult's supervision. Those between three and six years old can stay in groups of six.

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Along with Austria, Denmark and Germany, Norway is among the first countries to start easing restrictions, which were announced on 12 March.

According to the Norwegian roadmap, physiotherapists and psychologists are also allowed to return to work on Monday, with hairdressers and dermatologists also opening this week.

Younger children in primary schools will start returning to classrooms on 27 April.

While many shops have been allowed to remain open, bars and most restaurants will continue to keep their doors closed.

Cultural and sporting events will remain banned until at least 15 June.

The Nordic country, home to some 5.4 million people, has registered 7,068 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 154 deaths.

Over the last few days the country has observed a drop in new admissions of coronavirus patients to hospitals, and in early April the government announced it considered the outbreak to be "under control".

In addition to the many restrictions and regulations that remain in place, Norwegian authorities are now relying on tracing via an app and widespread testing to contain the epidemic.

Hair salons, tattoo parlours reopen in Denmark
Small businesses such as hair salons, massage and tattoo parlours, dentists and driving schools have reopened in Denmark after a five-week closure, as the country gradually eases restrictions aimed at curbing the new coronavirus.

The owner of one salon in the capital, Anne-Sophie Skjodt Villumsen, said she was happy to be able to reopen her business, noting that she was following the detailed health and safety guidelines put in place.

Clients have to disinfect their hands at the entrance, and must be given a single-use poncho to wear during their appointment. Materials and surfaces have to be disinfected between clients as well.

Denmark began lifting its restrictions on 15 April, when it started reopening preschools and primary schools for children up to age 11.

Danes are, however, still urged to practice social distancing by keeping two metres apart, gatherings of more than ten people are banned, and cafes, restaurants, shopping centres and gyms will remain closed until 10 May,  as will middle and secondary schools.

At driving schools, instructors resumed work, though some expressed concerns about the "possible risk of infection" in cars, the head of the driving instructors' federation, Bent Grue, told AFP.

As of today, Denmark had 7,711 reported cases of the new coronavirus and 364 deaths.

Albania allows some businesses to resume amid virus clampdown

Albania will allow some businesses to reopen today to ease to the economic pain of a coronavirus clampdown that has wiped out tens of thousands of jobs in the Balkan state.

Firms in the agriculture, fishing, mineral, oil and textile sectors are among those permitted to reboot activity once they have received a certificate from the health ministry, according to a list published on the government's website.

Hotels that meet all required hygiene conditions will also be allowed to open their doors, though venues like bars, restaurants and beauty salons remain shut.

Under the new relaxed rules, businesses must also respect a curfew and "strictly" enforce social distancing measures for employees, who must wear protective gear, the government said.

Albania was quick to shut down public and economic life after its first cases of the virus emerged on 9 March and has so far recorded 600 known infections and 26 deaths.