Countries around the globe, including those hardest hit in Europe and the United States, are increasingly looking at reopening their economies by loosening restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus.
Despite the global number of known cases surpassing three million with over 207 000 deaths, several regions including the global epicentre of New York believe that a continued flattening of the curve allows them a gradual restart in the weeks ahead.
With several states in the United States of America beginning a gradual reopening, all eyes are on the hardest-hit region of New York where deaths fell to their lowest level in almost a month this past weekend.
“The overall hospitalisation rate is down. The number of incubation is down. Even the number of new COVID cases is down. Still not good. Still 1 000 new covered cases yesterday. To put it in focus, that would normally be terrible news. It is only not terrible news compared to where we were. This is just terrible news. 367 deaths, which is horrific and there is no relative context to death. Death is death. 367 people passed. 367 families,” says Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Despite the continued tragedy of loss, mainly around New York City and its outlying suburbs, the state is considering a phased reopening that could begin as early as 15 May.
Phase One would allow for construction and manufacturing activities to resume, particularly in parts of the state less affected by the outbreak.
Phase Two would allow for a business by business analysis based on how essential the business is and the risk involved in health safety.
In Europe, the three hardest-hit countries of Italy, Spain and France are preparing to slowly loosen their restrictions further while the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on his first day back at work, after his recovery from COVID-19, indicated they will proceed with caution.
“The pause is statewide until May 15th right? Then you have the CDC (US Centres for Disease Control ) guidance that says total hospitalisations declining for 14 days. So, okay, we get to May 15th. What regions have seen a decline in the state for 14 days? We are assuming we would have seen a decline in the state for 14 days. But what states, what regions of the state have seen a decline for 14 days? That’s where you will start a conversation to get to phase one in the region,” says Johnson.
Schools in China’s most populous cities of Shanghai and Beijing reopened for the first time in three months, with temperature checks and social distancing being maintained for students and teachers alike, tempering parent concerns.
“Generally, I am happy, not worrying so much. I think the school prepared sufficiently. It had parents’ meetings in advance. Teachers had detailed plans in place two weeks ago. This is way beyond any parent’s expectation. So, I’m not so concerned about this part,” says parent Sha Li.
And as these phased re-openings begin to take hold a resurgence in any case numbers would quickly put the brakes back on and stifle any optimism of a return to at least a degree of normality in the short to medium term.
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