First European Country Officially Declares End of Coronavirus Epidemic

Slovenia has become the first European nation to declare an end to its coronavirus epidemic and announced that all indicators point to a slowdown in the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country's population.

Despite the announcement, many measures implemented to slow the virus from spreading will remain. Some of those restrictions will continue through the end of the month.

The nation also said it will open up certain land border crossings, allowing some European Union nationals to enter the from neighboring countries.

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People relax on the outdoor terrace bars at the city center as Slovenia eases its lockdown. Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty

Slovenia registered its first coronavirus case on March 4. It imposed emergency measures just over a week later, on March 12.

The National Institute for Public Health reported 35 cases of coronavirus had been recorded in the last 14 days. It also noted a reproductive rate below one.

The nation, with a population of around 2 million, suffered 1,465 coronavirus cases in total and 103 deaths linked to COVID-19 as of May 14, according to data from its National Institute for Public Health.

During its lockdown it closed schools, bars, restaurants and shops which were not those selling essential supplies.

Social distancing has been in place and the government said citizens following guidelines had been key in limiting the spread of the disease.

Nations across Europe have begun to tentatively lift stringent lockdown measures enacted in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The European Union has outlined guidance outlining measures to gradually lift travel restrictions between member states.

Guidance from the European Commission said: "As soon as the health situation allows, people should be able to catch up with friends and family, in their own EU country or across borders, with all the safety and precautionary measures needed in place."

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Employees of the Domzale Elderly Care Home stage a fifteen-minute protest demanding improved working conditions during the coronavirus outbreak on April 24, 2020 in Domzale, Slovenia. Jure Makovec/AFP via Getty Images

It has released an overall strategy for support nations within the bloc, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen having stressed her commitment to EU members working together.

At a plenary session in March, she said: "We must look out for each other, we must pull each other through this. Because if there is one thing that is more contagious than this virus, it is love and compassion. And in the face of adversity, the people of Europe are showing how strong that can be."

Amid restrictions lifting, there have been concerns of doing so leading to further spikes and fears of a potential second wave of the outbreak.

Worldwide there have been more than 4.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases. The United States has the highest number, followed by Russia second and the United Kingdom third.

More than 300,000 lives have been claimed nationwide by the epidemic, according to Johns Hopkins University data. More than 1.5 million people diagnosed with the virus have recovered.

The below graphic, from Statista, details the worst-hit countries across the globe.

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This chart shows the countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases. Statista