Portugal's government has announced a plan for a gradual exit from coronavirus lockdown, starting on Monday with the opening of some shops and businesses.

Some small shops will be allowed to reopen as will hair dressers and car dealers and further restrictions will be lifted during May.

"We can start taking steps towards deconfinement," Prime Minister Antonio Costa said as he shed light on the "transition plan" his cabinet has drawn up.

Portugal, which declared its first coronavirus cases several weeks after neighbouring Spain, one of Europe's worst hit countries, declared a state of emergency on 19 March and has to date recorded 1,000 deaths and some 25,000 cases.

From Saturday, it will ramp that down a notch although residents will only be allowed to travel beyond their immediate home area over the May Day long weekend if their jobs are listed as essential.

May milestones along Portugal's road back to normality are the reopening of senior schools only on 18 May, after they are first disinfected.

Long-distance learning will remain the norm for primary and middle schools through to the end of the year.

Museums, bars, restaurants and art galleries will also open their doors once more from 18 May.

But those who can work from home will be expected to do so throughout May.

Football league action is slated to resume in the final weekend of the month.

Large shopping centres will only be allowed to reopen from 1 June, however, when creches will also reopen.