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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 11th May 2020

News Highlights

Governments around the world are opting to accept the risks of easing pandemic-fighting restrictions in order to restart economies that have ground to a near halt. A huge number of people have been left without income or a saftey net, especially in countries in South Asia, where daily wage earners form a significant chunk of the workforce.

However, some countries that eased lockdown restrictions have seen an almost immediate spike in cases. Germany eased lockdown restrictions just days ago, and coronavirus cases jumped, with the reproduction rate for the virus - the estimated number of people a confirmed patient infects - now stands above 1. In South Korea, officials are searching for thousands of people who may have been infected in a cluster of cases linked to nightclubs and bars in the densely populated capital city of Seoul. In China, fresh cases were reported in the cities of Shulan and Wuhan, the city where the virus began at the end of last year. And Pakistan, which has just begun easing restrictions, saw a jump of 1,637 cases and 24 fatalities.

Italy, the first European nation to enter lockdown, is opening up slowly, but things are far from normal. Social distancing regulations allow bars and restaurants to only offer takeaway. Cafes are experiencing far less demand than usual for pastries and coffee, because patrons have to consume their items on the street, and not at the counter as they are used to. This is the 'new normal' that businesses and customers around the world will have to get used to.

Lockdown Exit
Italy, the first country in Europe to enter lockdown, starts to emerge
Magda vergari, co-owner of the Bar La Lastra in the hills above Florence, used to sell 80 to 100 pastries a day. “Now, I’m ordering 20,” she says gloomily. Despite an easing of Italy’s strict covid-19 lockdown on May 4th, her sales of coffee are also running at a quarter of the normal level. The problem is that customers are not allowed to enjoy their breakfast cappuccino and brioche at the counter. The new rules preserve social distancing, and only allow bars and restaurants to offer takeaways. Ms Vergari’s regulars must consume their purchases in the street outside
South Australia takes first steps toward opening up
The resumption of local sport and travel within South Australia are two of the state's top priorities. "We've got one shot to get this right, so there will be a sensible, logical easing of restrictions," Premier Steven Marshall said. But as the state opens up, it could still close down further to outsiders, with Police Commissioner Grant Stevens looking at toughening border restrictions even further.
No, Sweden isn't a miracle coronavirus model
We do know that Sweden’s COVID-19 journey hasn’t been exceptional. Like other countries, it has experienced a surge in deaths in care homes, where about one in three virus deaths are estimated to have taken place. Visiting relatives and staff are expected to "self-regulate” but, according to reports, they don’t always do so. The Swedes have also had a lack of systematic testing and equipment shortages. Things might have been even worse without the Swedes’ demographic and cultural defenses. This is a population that does social distancing already in many ways. More than half of the country lives in single-person households, working from home is common and access to fast broadband is everywhere. But Swedes are becoming increasingly unconcerned about keeping their distance as time goes on, as images of packed restaurants indicate. Public health officials have warned about their behavior. In Stockholm they’ve threatened to shut bars and restaurants.
Pakistan lifts lockdown amid jump in virus cases
The latest development comes two days after the prime minister Imran Khan said he was ending the lockdown in phases because his government was unable to financially help those millions of people who rely on their daily earnings to survive and feed their families. Khan says he tried to financially help the country’s poor amid the pandemic, but he was unable to support all those who lost their jobs due to the lockdown. So far, Khan has bowed to pressure from the country’s powerful clerical establishment by allowing mosques to remain open, even as the number of new cases has recently increased.
China’s export rose and imports plunged amid lockdown restrictions to curb the coronavirus
Even though China is curbing the virus spread, demand seems to be a major concern for the country, according to economists. Though there has been some rise in the demand, the low-income group have been the worst hit by the lockdown restrictions on movement. Services expenditure will be lower compared to last year as people would be reluctant to go to malls, to dine or to move along with family.
World gambles with looser lockdowns, risks coronavirus resurgence
With the new coronavirus exacting an economic toll unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s - wiping out millions of jobs and raising the spectre of unrest and hunger - governments around the world are trying to chart a way out of prolonged lockdowns and beginning to phase out restrictions. But without a vaccine or widespread testing to identify and isolate cases, health experts warn some leaders are taking a "gamble" that could result in a new surge of infections and deaths. "We are in uncharted territory," said Dr Annelise Wilder-Smith, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "Governments are having to strike a balance between this virus and the negative impacts of lockdowns on societies, including economic downturns, societal strife and mental health concerns. It's a large experiment."
Despite COVID-19 lockdown wiping off US$420bn from China's retail market, rebounding sentiment will boost H2 spend, say analysts
China started to ease the lockdown from 18 March 2020 and completely lifted it on 8 April 2020 in Wuhan city, the epicenter of the outbreak. Shopping malls, restaurants and retail stores in the country rushed to reopen to recover from the losses during lockdown. According to the Ministry of China, approximately 80% of restaurants and over 90% of commercial facilities had resumed operations across the country by 3 April. However, despite easing the restrictions, many consumers remain confined to homes due to the fear of infection, affecting businesses that are fully operational again but now do not have the required traffic to trade profitably. Customer traffic at a Walmart store in Shanghai had registered less than half of usual levels on 28 March, 10 days post lockdown, while electronics retailer Suning.com also received half of the usual customer volume at some of its physical stores. H&M recorded a sales decline of 23% for the week commencing 26 March 2020 against the same week in 2019 despite 99% of its stores being open.
The Latest: Pakistan lifts lockdown amid jump in virus cases
Pakistan has begun lifting the weeks-long lockdown that was enforced to curb the spread of the coronavirus, as authorities reported another big jump of 1,637 cases which rose to 27,474 with 24 new fatalities. Army soldiers who manned roadside checkpoints along with police since late March when the lockdown was enforced, were seen leaving for their barracks in the capital, Islamabad and elsewhere in the country on Saturday. The latest development comes two days after the prime minister Imran Khan said he was ending the lockdown in phases because his government was unable to financially help those millions of people who rely on their daily earnings to survive and feed their families.
The two countries that show life beyond lockdown isn't what people think it will be
Life as we know it in much of the world has been turned upside down by the coronavirus. But two countries have been widely held up as examples of how to handle a pandemic: South Korea and Germany. Their approaches were markedly different -- but each is now in the enviable position of being able to ease restrictions imposed to quash the spread of coronavirus with some confidence that infections won't immediately spike again. So how are they preparing to return to "normal" life? In one word: Cautiously. And those watching enviously from other countries may notice that much remains far from normal.
New coronavirus cases in China and South Korea as world lockdowns ease
China and South Korea both reported more coronavirus infections Friday after reopening economies damaged by devastating outbreaks. Governments around the world are opting to accept the risks of easing pandemic-fighting restrictions, that left huge numbers of people without income or safety nets. In the US, some governors are disregarding or creatively interpreting White House guidelines in easing their states’ lockdowns and letting businesses reopen.
France to start 'very gradual' easing of lockdown from May 11
France would start to ease restrictions on movement from next Monday through "a very gradual process" which would stretch over several weeks at least to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe confirmed on Thursday. "Following the data of the past few days, the gradual lifting of the confinement can be started on May 11. This is a new step in the fight against the epidemic," Philippe announced. "We must be very vigilant because an eventual resurgence of the virus will be very difficult for our country. That's why we opted for a progressive process," he stressed.
Lifting lockdown: what Britain can learn from the rest of the world
As Boris Johnson considers easing the lockdown, he will look at neighbouring countries to help inform his decision. To limit the spread of coronavirus, governments have mostly followed the same script: as deaths increase, restrictions on people are strengthened. However, the speed of implementation has varied widely between countries. New data helps to visualise how Britain stopped short of taking the same steps as its European neighbours. Collated by the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, the data records how quickly different countries reacted to the pandemic. Each is rated according to a “stringency index” on which stronger measures and more decisive action earn higher scores.
Coronavirus: Australia sets out three-point plan to lift lockdown by July
The country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison says states and territories have agreed a roadmap to remove most of the curbs.Using an Australian word for a duvet, Mr Morrison said: "You can stay under the doona forever. You'll never face any danger. "But we've got to get out from under the doona at some time." He said the states will set their own pace in easing coronavirus restrictions. Each step will likely be separated by a four-week transition.
Covid 19 coronavirus: Why New Zealand had to go into lockdown
The story and document explanation of why New Zealand acted swiftly and moved the country into lockdown to combat the coronavirus
France vows to 'test massively' as it relaxes lockdown
Olivier Veran said France will be able carry out 700,000 PCR tests a week for the virus from Monday when it begins the fraught process of relaxing its almost eight-week lockdown. The minister said the authorities—which have been heavily criticised for the lack of mass testing—now have enough capacity to cover the needs of the whole population.
Coronavirus Italy: Beaches open as lockdown eased
Italy began relaxing its coronavirus lockdown this week, after 50 days under one of Europe's strictest regimes. 4million people returned to work as public spaces were reopened and markets allowed to start trading. Social distancing continued after PM said freedom is dependent on people keeping each-other safe. Further easing will come on May 18 when Masses will restart, as governors push for shops to open sooner
Spain's Reopening Is Stricter Than America's Coronavirus Lockdown
Here in Spain, even easing measures leaves them stricter than in most of the United States.
Germany eases lockdown, with 'emergency brake' on hand if needed
Declaring an end to the first phase of the pandemic in Germany, Merkel said there was still a long way to go in the battle against the virus, which has battered Europe’s largest economy. The government will decide on an economic stimulus package in June, Merkel said, adding this was a “very ambitious” time frame.
How Singapore's second wave is exposing economic inequalities
Pandemics have a way of exposing softness in any national underbelly. “Epidemic diseases are not random events which afflict societies capriciously,” as Yale’s Frank Snowden writes in Epidemics and Society (2019), a book on the history of such diseases. “Every society produces its own specific vulnerabilities.” In Singapore’s case it took a few months for Covid-19 to hone in on the country’s migrant workers. Now those daily WhatsApp messages pointedly break down infections into subcategories, to make it clear that only a small proportion of cases are actually Singapore citizens. The vast majority of the rest fall within a group described as “work permit holders (residing in dormitories)”.
Anger as Italy slowly emerges from long Covid-19 lockdown
Last week, after Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, outlined plans to slowly ease the country’s quarantine, millions of people were overcome with feelings of anger and disappointment as their hopes were dashed by what many described as a “false reopening”. Italians will now be able to travel within regions to visit relatives, provided they wear masks, but schools, hairdressers, gyms and many other commercial activities will stay closed; cafes and restaurants will offer takeaways only; and all travel between regions will be banned except for work, health or emergency situations. Restrictions on funerals have been relaxed, with a maximum of 15 mourners allowed to attend, but masses and weddings will have to wait.
With Coronavirus Lockdown Lifted, Chinese Splurge on Big Luxury Brands
Overall spending by Chinese shoppers was down for the quarter, Mr. Guiony said. That is because Chinese shoppers do most of their luxury spending on trips abroad to European capitals, big U.S. cities and elsewhere. With international travel locked down, it is unclear when Chinese will have the chance, or the desire, to splurge again overseas.
Exit Strategies
UK coronavirus app could be 'ditched for different model' after trials
The UK could either “adapt” its coronavirus contact-tracing app or ditch it and “move to a different model”, after piloting it in the Isle of Wight and learning lessons from other countries. About 40,000 people in the Isle of Wight have been trialling the app, designed by an arm of the NHS, which alerts users if they have been near to a suspected case of coronavirus. However, there has been intense speculation the UK could have to change its app to a “decentralised” model favoured by Apple and Google, which stores data about movements on a user’s phone rather than centrally in an anonymised form with the government. Amid reports of teething problems with the app, Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, suggested changes could be on the way.
Boris Johnson's lockdown release leaves UK divided
Boris Johnson urged the country to take its first tentative steps out of lockdown this week in an address to the nation that was immediately condemned as being divisive, confusing and vague. In a speech from Downing Street, Johnson said if the circumstances were right, schools in England and some shops might be able to open next month, and the government was “actively encouraging” people to return to work if they cannot do so from home. But he stressed that this was “not the time simply to end the lockdown” and that he intended to take a cautious approach guided by the science, otherwise a second deadly wave of the “devilish” virus would take hold.
Brits to be asked to 'wear masks to work' as part of PM's master plan to ease lockdown
Boris Johnson is likely to ask Brits to wear face masks at work, on public transport and while shopping when he reveals his blueprint for how the coronavirus lockdown will be eased on Sunday
Lockdown exit plan for May 17: Govt may ready a negative list of prohibited activities
India may draw up a negative list of activities that are prohibited in order to help ease the country out of the lockdown. The strategy is aimed at opening up a bigger share of the economy and preventing the kind of confusion that’s allowed district administrations to be more restrictive than intended. The government permitted the resumption of many activities in two stages, on April 20 and May 4, but lack of clarity over the guidelines has meant the impact of this relaxation has been much less on the ground than it should have been.
World reacts to Scott Morrison’s ambitious plan to reopen Australia
In the UK, The Independent wrote that: “While the country has been hailed for successfully containing the disease and preventing local hospitals being swamped by coronavirus patients, the lockdown measures have still taken a devastating toll on the economy.” India Today credited border closures, thought to have “drastically slowed” the number of new infections, but insisted Australia’s economy wouldn’t escape unscathed. “It has taken a devastating toll on the economy, which is on course for its first recession in 30 years,” wrote the media outlet.
Coronavirus lockdown: The world reacts to Britain’s ‘incomprehensible’ response, botched testing and care home crisis
No country has been spared the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, but some have handled it better than others, and there is almost universal agreement amongst the world’s media that Britain’s response has been abysmal. As Britain this week recorded the highest death rate in Europe – and the second in the world behind the US – an incredulous foreign press described the situation using colourful invective: it is “a shambles”, “a nightmare” reflecting “negligence”, “complacency” and “stupidity”.
Australia's biggest states hold off relaxing COVID-19 lockdowns
Australia’s most populous states held back from relaxing coronavirus restrictions on Saturday although other states began allowing small gatherings and were preparing to open restaurants and shops.
Japan eyes lifting restrictions as coronavirus cases decline
Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who also serves as Japan's minister in charge of the coronavirus response, said on Friday that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is dropping, but before restrictions are lifted the slowdown in the pace of new infections must continue for a certain duration. Nishimura attributed the decline in new infections to efforts made by the public to adhere to the government requests including to refrain from going outside without good reason, work from home, significantly reduce human-to-human contact, avoid crowds and wear masks outside, among others.
Coronavirus: Challenge of reshaping UK cities for after lockdown
The UK government is urging the public to walk and cycle to work instead of using public transport or driving. It comes as people across the UK have told BBC News they are finding it impossible to stay safe outside because our cities were not built for social distancing. How we will travel while maintaining social distancing is one of the biggest challenges the government faces as it seeks to start to lift the lockdown. It has led communities, UK transport groups and public health experts to call for radical changes - some already happening globally - such as wider pavements, traffic restrictions and cycle networks.
Paths out of lockdown: questions Boris Johnson must answer
Boris Johnson will address the nation on Sunday to set out a road map for how England might leave the Covid-19 lockdown. Any immediate changes have been billed as modest and incremental, but people are expecting more details on how life could differ over the next few weeks. Here are the questions the prime minister needs to answer:
How do the UK nations differ over easing lockdown?
The Government has spoken of a "four-nations approach" to tackling the coronavirus crisis - where each UK country would ideally follow the same path and timings back to post-lockdown normality. But there have been signs of tensions between Downing Street and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - with warnings over "mixed messages" to the public. It follows reports Prime Minister Boris Johnson could allow sunbathing and picnics to be permitted in England from as early as Monday. This could mean the four nations will find themselves moving at different speeds as they move towards ending the full lockdown which was imposed on March 23, politicians have said.
Coronavirus UK: Four nationals split in approach to lifting lockdown
All four leaders have spoken of the desire to follow the same path and timings back to normality. But there have been ‘mixed messages’ this week with Nicola Sturgeon saying she must extend the lockdown in Scotland to stop a resurgence of the virus and Boris Johnson considering the return of some outdoor activities. The prime minister is said to be planning on offering the public ‘unlimited exercise’ and outdoor picnics from Monday as a reward for staying inside since March 23. Some businesses could also reportedly be given the green light to reopen in order to kickstart the UK economy.
Coronavirus: 'Modest' lockdown changes announced in Wales
People will be able to exercise outside more than once a day in Wales and some garden centres set to reopen, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said. Announcing only "modest" changes to the coronavirus lockdown, Mr Drakeford warned it was "too soon" to go further. The rest of the stay-at-home restrictions will be extended for another three weeks until 28 May.
Government eyes flexible furlough extension to get Britain back to work
The UK government is looking at the return of some furloughed workers on a part-time basis beyond June as Boris Johnson prepares to announce a road map this weekend to get Britain back to work. The prime minister is under pressure to ease restrictions and start to unlock parts of the economy amid dire warnings that the UK faces its worst recession in three centuries. Ministers have signalled to business leaders that the furlough scheme could be phased out gradually over the summer rather than end abruptly in June as planned, while bringing in greater flexibility to allow some workers to return part-time initially.
Boris Johnson to keep Britain in lockdown until June
Boris Johnson will keep Britain in lockdown until next month at the earliest after he was warned that outbreaks in care homes and hospitals made significant easing any sooner too dangerous. He is being urged by cabinet ministers to give specific dates by which elements of the lockdown can be lifted to avert a collapse of consumer and business confidence. The prime minister told the cabinet that he would proceed with “maximum caution”, with only modest and incremental changes to the restrictions before the end of this month. “It is baby steps taken slowly and only when it’s clear they can be taken,” said an ally familiar with the plans, which will be finalised today and tomorrow and outlined at 7pm on Sunday.
I Left Norway’s Lockdown for the US. The Difference Is Shocking.
Compared to Norway’s strict, early measures and rigorous testing, the US response to the pandemic has been catastrophic.
Coronavirus: Australia sets out three-point plan to lift lockdown by July
The country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison says states and territories have agreed a roadmap to remove most of the curbs.
South Australia’s countdown to lockdown lift
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has urged locals not to become complacent about the threat posed by the coronavirus as the state looks to lift some restrictions on daily life. SA will lift a raft of measures from Monday, allowing alcohol-free outdoor dining at cafes and restaurants and the resumption of outdoor sports training. Universities and TAFE colleges will be allowed to resume face-to-face learning, public swimming pools, places of worship and libraries can reopen, and open house inspections and home auctions will be permitted
Spain’s Army Predicts TWO More Coronavirus Outbreaks Ahead of Big Lockdown Easing
Spain's army is predicting two more coronavirus outbreak waves in the country, as lockdown restrictions get ready for a major phase of easing. The report was published in the ABC newspaper and said that it would take between 12 and 18 months for Spain to return to “normality.” The timings would also depend on when a vaccine is developed and administered.
Factbox: From hairdressers to beaches - Spain's plan to phase out lockdown
Spain has a four-phase plan to lift a coronavirus lockdown and return to normal by the end of June. Following are the key points of the plan, which will vary from province to province. Advancing through the stages depends on factors such as how the rate of infection evolves, the number of intensive care beds available locally, and compliance with distancing rules.
Spain Reports New Jump in Coronavirus Cases as Lockdown Eases
The country may be facing a patchy return to what Sanchez has dubbed the “new normal,” as regions still must individually seek authorization for their provinces to move to the next phase in gradually easing confinement measures. While regions such as the Balearic and Canary Islands reported fewer than 10 new daily infections in recent days and are pushing to relax restrictions in time to start the summer tourist season, Madrid and Catalonia, the country’s economic heartland, are still grappling with hundreds of new cases a day. Spain has the second-most extensive outbreak in the world, behind the U.S. and ahead of Italy, the original epicenter of the virus in Europe.
French epidemiologist says massive Covid-19 testing needed to ease lockdown
As France prepares to start easing lockdown measures put in place to curb the coronavirus pandemic, French Health Minister Olivier Véran said the country is ready to test up to 700,000 people per week. But for Parisian epidemiologist Catherine Hill, “testing patients with symptoms is just not enough”, she told FRANCE 24, since most people were infected by patients who had not yet symptoms or are completely asymptomatic. “The solution would be: we have to test much more wildly”, she added.
Easing lockdown in France: What's the difference if you live in a red and green département?
France has published its final 'coronavirus map' showing which départements are coloured red and green for when lockdown is eased on May 11th. But what will the difference be for those living in red or green départements?
France's gvt to ease Covid-19 lockdown measures but 'not a lot is being relaxed'
French government unveiled details as it is to ease coronavirus lockdown measures, including public transportation, the wearing of masks and labour conditions. But “not a lot is being relaxed”,
Work after coronavirus: how will it change when the lockdown is over?
The economist Jim Stanford has been working from home for two months. It is, he says, driving him crazy. He says: “You know I’m very fortunate – I’ve a comfortable apartment, I have a desk that I can use as a kind of quasi office and I’m in a safe and loving family environment. And despite all that, to tell you the truth, it’s driving me crazy. “I miss the human interaction and I find it stressful to be working in close quarters with the people that I love and live with who are also going about their business in different ways.
The calculus of death shows the COVID lock-down is clearly worth the cost
With health economics consultant Daniel West, I have attempted to estimate the numbers involved in Australia. In order to provide a strong challenge to the status quo of lock-down the estimates we have used for increased deaths from a lockdown-induced recession are at the high end of the likely scale. The estimates we have used for deaths from COVID19 if the lockdown ends are at the low end. Our analysis suggests that continuing strict restrictions in order to eradicate COVID-19 is likely to lead to eight times fewer total deaths than an immediate return to life as normal.
France Eases Lockdown in Europe’s Bid to Stem Economic Pain
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the country was ready for a nationwide plan to relax curbs on public life, though strict controls will remain on public transport in Paris, where infection rates are too high. Looser restrictions on businesses and stores will start coming into effect on Monday in a gradual process designed to avoid a second wave of infections. “We are always looking for a balance between the indispensable return to normal life and the indispensable respect of all measures that will prevent the epidemic from restarting,” Philippe said on Thursday, adding that restrictions could be reimposed if infections rise. “The target of all the French people is that we can live with this virus” until a cure is found.
Coronavirus UK: What will exit from lockdown look like
Boris Johnson has promised to set out a roadmap for lifting lockdown by the end of next week, but for many Brits, it’s hard to imagine how things can return to normal. It has been almost seven weeks since the stay at home order was issued, and though the daily death rates have finally started to decrease, the fight against coronavirus is far from over.
Partisan Exits
This end to COVID-19 lockdowns could only have been made in America
“We’re gonna learn a lot. These are all experiments,” sayid Ashish Jha, the director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute. Jha was among four infectious disease experts I spoke with who agreed that the varied — and possibly reckless — way reopenings are being managed state to state would provide information on the spread of the virus. They also seemed to agree the usefulness of the information would be somewhat limited.
Dominic Raab confirms ‘no change’ in UK coronavirus lockdown as top scientist says crucial reproduction rate rising
There has been “no change” in the Government’s guidance on social distancing, Dominic Raab has confirmed, as one of its top scientific advisers said the coronavirus reproduction rate was rising. Speaking after the latest three-weekly review of lockdown measures, the Foreign Secretary said Boris Johnson would use his Sunday address to the nation to set out a “road map” for how the curbs on normal life might eventually be eased. But he pleaded with Brits not to change their behaviour over the bank holiday weekend following a string of press reports that Mr Johnson will ease some measures on outdoor activity when he makes his speech.
Continued Lockdown
The law extending the state of health emergency in France re-adopted by Parliament
With the partial re-opening of much of France scheduled for 11th May the government extended its health emergency powers to allow it to manage the situation after the re-opening and cope with any eventuality
What does the end of India’s Covid-19 lockdown mean for you?
The lockdown has not ‘killed’ the virus and was never going to. We will have to learn to live with Covid-19, possibly until 2022. What that means is that the easing of restrictions appears to be coming primarily because the country simply can’t afford to be shut for much longer. The effects on livelihoods and indeed lives would be too much, even if there is a clear explanation of what has changed now versus, say, three weeks ago. However, this lack of a clear approach leaves open the possibility that what are now cluster containment zones – areas with a high number of cases where full lockdowns remain in place – will continue to grow if case counts go up.
Explained: India enforced one of the strongest lockdowns, here’s how it stacks up against other countries
University of Oxford quantifies that. The Stringency Index has found that India indeed had one of the strongest lockdown measures in the world — at a 100 score since March 22. It was relaxed slightly on April 20 after the government eased norms for certain workplaces in regions outside the red zones. It is among the metrics being used by the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker. The Tracker involves a team of 100 Oxford community members who have continuously updated a database of 17 indicators of government response. These indicators examine containment policies such as school and workplace closings, public events, public transport, stay-at-home policies. The Stringency Index is a number from 0 to 100 that reflects these indicators. A higher index score indicates a higher level of stringency.
Scientific Viewpoint
Early Covid lockdown in China could have reduced cases: Study
Published in the science journal Nature, this week, the researchers said – in a rare argument based on a mathematical model -- that earlier implementation of “non-pharmaceutical interventions” (NPIs) could have also reduced the “geographical range of the outbreak”.
‘It's painful but it's worth it' - editor of The Lancet says lockdown shouldn't be lifted until June 1
The editor of the medical journal The Lancet has urged the government not to end lockdown too early, saying it should continue until June 1. Richard Horton, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, said while an extra few weeks of lockdown would be “painful” they would be worth it. Horton’s comments on the BBC’s Political Thinking with Nick Robinson, in which he was questioned about his stance on the handling of the virus in the UK, come just days before Boris Johnson is expected to set out a roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Global report: Madrid told not to ease lockdown as Italy warns rule-breakers
The Spanish government has refused the Madrid region permission to loosen its coronavirus confinement, as angry officials in Italy issued a warning that they would not hesitate to reimpose strict lockdown restrictions if distancing rules were flouted. The Spanish health ministry said the area in and around the capital was not yet ready to move to the next phase of de-escalation, 24 hours after the regional public health director resigned over the regional government’s bid to loosen the lockdown from Monday.
'Now it starts again': new coronavirus outbreaks spark unease in China
Cases rise in Shulan, near the Russian border, and in Wuhan, where stringent lockdown measures had been eased in recent weeks
Coronavirus: PM's plan to reopen primary schools by 1 June 'reckless', says teaching union
The prime minister's suggestion that some children could start returning to schools in England from 1 June has been described as "reckless" by the largest teaching union. In a pre-recorded address to the nation on Sunday, Boris Johnson said the start of next month was the earliest possible date to consider sending pupils back to class.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Germany: Coronavirus transmission rate rises above 1
Germany's coronavirus infection quota has jumped beyond one, just days after federal and regional authorities eased restraints. Keeping the patient 'reproduction rate' down is decisive, say epidemiologists.
South Korea braces for second wave of COVID-19 pandemic
South Korean president Moon Jae-in urged citizens not to lower their guard against the coronavirus in order to avert a second wave of infections. South Korea reported 34 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours, just days after easing restrictions.
Coronavirus: Germany infection rate rises as lockdown eases
Coronavirus infections are rising in Germany, official data shows, just days after the country eased its lockdown restrictions. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the reproduction rate - the estimated number of people a confirmed patient infects - is now above 1. This means the number of infections is now rising in the country. The report came as thousands of Germans gathered on Saturday calling for a total end to the lockdown.
German towns bring back lockdown after coronavirus spike
Local authorities postponed lifting lockdown measure after a spike in virus cases States will reimpose lockdown if new cases his 50 per 100,000 over seven days. Three different regions in Germany have seen new cases surpass that threshold. Towns have postponed reopening restaurants, tourist spots and fitness studios