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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 13th May 2020

News Highlights

Nations around the world continue to grapple with the debilitating effects and hard choices associated with three events; the coronavirus, the ensuing lockdown and now the long hard process of trying to restart economies which have been shuttered.

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has ordered a gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown measures, as factory and construction workers returned to work on Tuesday, despite more than 10,000 new cases being reported almost every day for the last week. New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Areden, announced an easing of lockdown measures, to start on Thursday, allowing schools and offices to reopen and restaurants and retail stories to restart trading. Italy is planning to allow bars, restaurants and hairdresser salons to reopen from May 18, while in Singapore, barbers, food manufacturers and laundrettes are being granted permission to open with strict health guideliness in place.

Several U.S. states are hesitant to fully ease lockdown measures, even though President Trump is urging them all to reopen their economies and 'get Americans back to work.' The CDC's top infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, told a Senate committee that prematurely reopening the American economy would cause 'needless suffering and death.'

In recently reopened Wuhan authorities announced plans to conduct coronavirus testing of the entire city's population of 11 million people, after new cases of Covid-19 reappeared for the first time in weeks.

Lockdown Exit
Italy Emerges From Lockdown. Slowly.
We spoke to journalist Greta Privitera back in mid-March, a few weeks after she and her family isolated themselves at home in northern Italy. Now, with Italy taking baby steps toward normalcy, Greta says she’s enjoying her walks outside, she still worries about another surge in COVID-19 cases. And by the look of things, she’s not alone.
As lockdown eases in Rome the banal, everyday things mean so much more
Italians, however, are not used to spending the majority of their time inside. Which is why I am equally proud and amazed at how well the Romans have been cooperating during this period. Instead of protesting and condemning the restrictions imposed upon them, they have shown their will to fight to preserve their country and its culture at all costs. Coming up with mantras like “Andrà tutto bene” (It’s all going to be okay), singing from balconies and rooftops, and building neighbourhood support networks for those in need, they have shown the world that the communal Italian spirit grows even stronger in the face of adversity.
Coronavirus: An Italian grandmother's first trip outside after lockdown
Italy is one of several European countries which has started easing its lockdown. People across the nation were confined to their homes for almost two months. BBC World Service joined one 77-year-old grandmother as she ventured out for the first time in many weeks.
People Return to Sidewalk Cafes in Northeastern Spain as Lockdown Restrictions Eased
Restaurants, cafes, and some nonessential shops have reopened in Spain as parts of the country moved into “phase 1” of the nation’s coronavirus reopening plan on May 11. El Pais reported the government announced that more than half of the country’s population will be able to visit loved ones, attend funerals, go shopping without a prior appointment, and have a drink at a street cafe. In some regions, according to the report, restaurants and cafes can open their terraces at 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 10 people per table. Video taken in Zaragoza, in northeastern Spain, on May 12 shows local residents sitting at outdoor cafes and restaurants, following the guidelines to socially distance from one another. Local news website heraldo.es reported that many terraces did not open from May 11 because some establishments won’t make enough money from the tables they would have provided.
‘Shop till you drop?’ Luxury stores back in business as France eases lockdown
Only half of the avenue’s shops were open Monday, Edouard Lefebvre said, reflecting the extensive preparations needed to safely receive customers and the hesitant steps many people took toward pre-pandemic routines. “Clients won’t come back on day one. It takes time to get used to coming back to the Champs-Elysees, to come back to Paris,” Lefebvre said in an interview with the Associated Press. Still, pictures of long lines standing outside luxury stores, posted on social media later in the day, suggested many shoppers were willing to take the plunge.
French primary pupils trickle back to class after eight-week lockdown
Across France, primary school pupils on Tuesday sat at least a metre apart in small classes and listened to teachers in masks on their first day back after two months of home-schooling during the coronavirus lockdown. The lessons, though, did not cover maths or grammar, but hygiene amid a public health emergency: wash your hands, don’t touch your face and keep away from each other. That was the new reality as some 1.5 million elementary and primary pupils - roughly one in every four - returned to class as France tentatively emerges from lockdown. But with less than two months of the academic year left, some parents, teachers and their unions have questioned the wisdom of reopening schools when the virus continues to circulate, especially in the greater Paris region.
French teachers anxious as schools gradually reopen after Covid-19 lockdown
Thousands of French schools started to reopen this week as the country emerged from an eight-week lockdown to contain Covid-19. Teachers prepared for pupils according to a strict protocol – with masks, hand sanitiser and markings on the ground for social distancing. But some worried that the measures might not be enough to keep staff and children safe.
Coronavirus: Hairdressers among businesses to reopen in France
France has begun to ease its lockdown, and thousands of businesses have started to reopen. Among the businesses reopening are hairdressers. One salon owner in Paris spoke to the BBC about the safety of her staff, and the economic challenges she is facing.
Paris bans drinking by the Seine after crowds celebrate lockdown-easing
Parisians have been banned from drinking alcohol on the banks of the Saint-Martin canal and the Seine river after police were forced to disperse crowds just hours after an eight-week coronavirus lockdown was eased. Many city dwellers stuck in flats without balconies, terraces or gardens for almost two months turned out on Monday evening to celebrate. Photos quickly circulated of unmasked revellers gathering by the water in the French capital. On the orders of the interior ministry, Paris’s police prefect issued a ban, saying it “deplored” having to do so in an indignant press release reminding everyone that the success of the déconfinement rested on “the principle of each citizen’s individual responsibility”.
Factory workers in Russia resume work after Putin eases coronavirus lockdown
Factory and construction workers in Russia were set to return to work on Tuesday after President Vladimir Putin ordered a gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown measures despite a sharp increase in new cases of the novel virus.
Can I drive somewhere else to exercise or walk my dog? Lockdown rules in UK explained
Across the UK, different approaches to lockdown are being adopted - so knowing exactly what you can and cannot do as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread can be confusing. Under government guidance, people are allowed to leave their homes for exercise - but does this include driving to a beauty spot or park to run or walk your dog? Here’s what you should know.
Welsh tourism hotspots 'inundated' with booking requests after lockdown easing in England
Owners of hotels and hostels across Wales say they've been inundated with people trying to book accommodation over the coming weeks after it was announced lockdown restrictions would be eased in England. It comes after Wales’ three National Park Authorities are calling on all UK residents to respect rules and measures in place in Wales to protect everyone.
Ardern thanks 'team of 5 million' as New Zealand reopens schools and offices
New Zealanders will begin easing back to normality this week as almost two months of strict lockdown comes to an end following the country’s successful battle against Covid-19. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that the country would downgrade from Level 3 to Level 2 restrictions on Thursday, allowing schools to reopen, workers to return to their offices, and restaurants and retail stores to resume trade. Recreational and competitive sport could also restart, and libraries, playgrounds and museums would open. Bars would reopen on 21 May, Ardern said, as they have been deemed “high-risk” by the director-general of health, and social gatherings would be limited to 10, including at weddings and funerals.
'A return of worry': relief mixes with anxiety as New Zealand eases lockdown
“The announcement of moving to Level 2 will bring a sense of relief for many. However, for a significant number the return to work and school may bring about a return of worry and anxiety,” Dr Dougal Sutherland, a clinical psychologist at Victoria University of Wellington said. “Despite the obvious downsides, Levels 3 and 4 did bring a sense of protection and security for some who suffer from anxiety. As we emerge from the shadows of strict lockdown old fears about becoming unwell may reappear. Triggers for anxiety that have lain dormant for weeks, such as the fear of social evaluation by others, may arise again.” With many having lost their jobs or been forced to take pay cuts, Level 2 may also drive home the stark reality of the social and economic consequences of the pandemic, Sutherland said.
Coronavirus: New Zealand deserves Covid-19 level 2, with all of its confusing weirdness
Kiwis have overwhelmingly backed the Government's moves thus far, but that patience is not eternal. As the days with almost no new cases continue to stack up the streets of our major cities already look more and more crowded. The next decision day will be in two weeks' time. With the economy mostly back to normal then, the lobbying to ease restrictions further will be a lot more muted. But if the Covid-19 case numbers are still looking as good as they have for the last week then, New Zealand will want to have a party. And we'll deserve it.
Coronavirus: Commuters pack London Tube platforms after PM's lockdown announcement
Commuters have packed some London Underground trains the morning after the prime minister revealed his plan for easing the lockdown in England. Footage showed platforms at Canning Town and Queensbury stations on the Jubilee Line filled with passengers early on Monday morning. A Tube driver, who asked to remain anonymous, said there was "no social distancing going on".
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus: NI Executive publishes plan for easing lockdown
A five-stage plan for easing the Covid-19 lockdown in Northern Ireland has been published by the executive. Unlike plans announced in England and the Republic of Ireland, NI's blueprint does not include a timetable - but the first minister said she hoped to reach the final stage by December. Progression will depend on key health criteria being met, Arlene Foster said.
Public advised to wear face coverings under UK government's lockdown easing plan
People should “wear a face covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops”, the government document says. Children under the age of two should not have their faces covered, and nor should any of primary age who do not have somebody with them who is supervising them. This is aimed at preventing people who have the virus but are not experiencing symptoms from passing it on to others.
Lockdown: subsidies announced for cyclists in Italy
Citizens of Italian cities of more than 50,000 inhabitants can get up to €500 in subsidies for buying a bicycle or an e-scooter, Italy’s Transport Minister Paola De Micheli announced on Monday. The measure is part of a €55 billion support package for the Italian economy and aims to keep people from using their cars and public transport as the country recovers from the crisis surrounding the new coronavirus (Covid-19).
Coronavirus: Italy allows bars and restaurants to reopen from next week
Italy’s bars, restaurants, hairdressers and salons will be able to re-open next week after the government announced new moves to relax lockdown measures during the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s regional authorities have been granted the power to lift restrictions on bars and other popular leisure businesses from 18 May.
Italy to give regions powers to roll back coronavirus lockdown
At a meeting between ministers and local government leaders on Monday, the coalition agreed, however, that Italy’s 20 regions could set their own pace, defusing a growing source of strife among political parties. “We have always said that if the contagion data were encouraging, we would have brought forward the reopening,” said Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio. “The regions will (shortly) receive guidelines to open bars, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty clinics from May 18,” he added on Twitter. Almost 31,000 Italians have died of COVID-19 since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21, the third-highest death toll in the world after that of the United States and the UK.
Italy speeds up reopening with cafes and restaurants allowed to open on May 18th
The government agreed to demands from regions for an acceleration of phase two of the lockdown at a meeting of regional leaders, Italian media reports. These businesses were not set to get the green light to open until at least June 1st under the previous plan. But now they'll be allowed to open on Monday, when Italy's other shops are set to reopen. “This is the start of the phase of regional responsibilty,” said Francesco Boccia. , the minister for autonomy and regional affairs. The governors of ten regions – Abruzzo, Calabria, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Liguria, Lombardy, Molise, Piedmont, Sardinia, Umbria and Veneto, as well as the president of Trentino province – had warned they would "act autonomously" if Rome failed to confirm that they can reopen shops, restaurants, salons and beaches as soon the current decree expires on May 17th.
Spain set to impose 14-day quarantine on visitors
The Sun said an official announcement from the EU is expected tomorrow about international travel, but it quotes Spain’s Official State Gazette (BOE) as saying: “Travellers who come to Spain from abroad must quarantine themselves for 14 days following their arrival.” Quarantine would require visitors to stay in their hotel or apartment, and abide by a strict code of conduct limiting leaving accommodation only to buy essential items or in exceptional circumstances. Mask wearing will be mandatory. Spain’s BEO says the measures are necessary due to the international spread of coronavirus and the need to act with caution to make sure visitors do not cause more outbreaks.
Europe's press calls UK lockdown roadmap 'confusing'
European media have widely described the British prime minister's "conditional plan" to reopen society as a "mixed message" driven by "extreme caution". Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote that "all clarity has been eliminated" after Boris Johnson presented his plan for easing the lockdown. "Prime Minister Johnson has presented a 'roadmap' for exiting the coronavirus crisis - and confused the British. Discontent is also growing in the cabinet and in parliament: the government has not discussed the plan in advance," the paper wrote. Newspapers elsewhere wondered whether the British public had understood the message at all. "What on earth does it mean to be alert?" wrote Spanish El Confidencial, pointing out that it was the most common question on social media.
Coronavirus: Putin eases Russian lockdown as cases rise
Russian President Vladimir Putin says that from Tuesday the nationwide coronavirus lockdown will be eased and businesses will go back to work. He said the country's "non-working period" imposed to curb the virus had lasted six weeks. The easing of restrictions will affect all sectors of the economy, Mr Putin said, but some regions may keep tighter controls if necessary. Russia now has the third-highest number of confirmed infections worldwide. In the last 24 hours it reported a record daily rise of 11,656 cases, bringing the official total to 221,344.
Russia's Coronavirus Cases Surge Past 230K as Putin Eases National Lockdown
Despite reporting more than 10,000 new cases a day for over a week, President Vladimir Putin on Monday announced that a "non-working" period in place for six weeks would be lifted from Tuesday. A lockdown in Moscow, the epicenter of the crisis in Russia, remains in place until the end of May, but even in the capital some restrictions were being lifted. Some 500,000 employees of companies involved in industry and construction were allowed to resume work, though authorities made it mandatory to wear masks and gloves in shops and on public transport.
Asia Today: Singapore partly reopens despite rise in cases
Singaporeans were able to get a haircut at the barber or pop in to their favorite bakery Tuesday as the government loosened restrictions three weeks before a partial lockdown ends. Despite an upsurge in cases due to an outbreak among foreign workers staying in crowded dormitories, the government says transmission in the local community has dropped and plans a phased reopening of the economy. Barbers and hairdressers, food manufacturers and outlets as well as laundry shops are among selected businesses that can open with strict health measures Tuesday after five weeks of shutdown. Barbers can operate by appointment only and notices outside shops call for face masks before entry. Officials reminded citizens not to rush out or loiter outside to keep the city safe.
As nations reopen, warning emerges about coronavirus tracing voids
Authorities have cautioned that the scourge could come back with a vengeance without widespread testing and tracing of infected people’s contacts with others. Fears of infection spikes in countries that have loosened up came true in recent days in Germany, where new clusters were linked to three slaughterhouses; in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the crisis started; and in South Korea, where a single nightclub customer was linked to 85 new cases. The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief, Dr. Michael Ryan, said that robust contact tracing measures adopted by Germany and South Korea provide hope that those countries can detect and stop virus clusters before they get out of control.
The Latest: Singapore loosens coronavirus restrictions
Singaporeans will be able to get a haircut at the barber or pop in to their favourite bakery Tuesday as the government loosens coronavirus restrictions three weeks before a partial lockdown ends. Despite an upsurge in cases due to an outbreak among foreign workers staying in crowded dormitories, the government says transmission in the local community has dropped and it plans a phased reopening of the economy. Barbers and hairdressers, food manufacturers and outlets, and laundry shops are among selected businesses that can open with strict health measures in place Tuesday after five weeks of shutdown. Barbers are open by appointment only and notices outside shops call for face masks before entry. Officials reminded citizens not to rush out or loiter outside.
Australian states to ease coronavirus lockdown
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said the transitions would happen gradually over the next three months. But the health authorities would continue to monitor the newly infected cases. The individual states will take the final decision on the exact changes. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday lifted few restrictions by allowing five visitors of family and friends and gathering of 10 outside as of Wednesday. On Sunday, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced a plan to allow cafes, bars, restaurants and pubs to reopen with a maximum of 20 people, with one every four square metres, effective May 18. In New South Wales, Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday confirmed several COVID-19 restrictions to be relaxed from Friday including the opening of cafes and restaurants for up to 10 patrons while in Queensland, families of up to five people have also been allowed to visit another home. Other states of Northern Territory, South Australia and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) also announced relaxing few restrictions including the limited number of indoors or outdoors gatherings within social distancing norm, non-contact outdoor sport, fishing, and open house inspections and auctions.
'It's an experiment': The rocky road predicted for Australia as restrictions are relaxed
A public health expert has described Australia’s move into relaxed restrictions as “an experiment” and warns the nation may be subjected to more stringent rules if the strategy backfires and coronavirus cases spike. Stephen Leeder, a Professor in Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Sydney, said while NSW’s first day of zero cases in over two months on Monday was good news, lifting restrictions is a matter of seeing what works and what doesn’t. NSW Health said Tuesday was the first time since February 29 there had been no new coronavirus cases in the state
Asia Today: Philippine lockdown to be eased, with caution
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said the massive lockdown that has restricted millions to their homes will be eased, but he warned that people who want to return to work must follow safeguards to avoid more deaths and a second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks. The Philippine economy contracted in the first quarter and the finance secretary reported that up to 1.5 million jobs have been lost during the lockdown on Luzon island, the country's most populous region and which includes the capital, Manila. Duterte made the announcement in videotaped remarks shown on nationwide TV on Tuesday. He said his spokesman will later disclose which regions will remain under lockdown and which areas would be released from it based on the scale and speed of infections. The two-month lockdown was supposed to last until May 15.
Global report: Fauci warns of 'needless death' as WHO urges vigilance in lifting lockdowns
The World Health Organization has called on countries to show “extreme vigilance” when loosening Covid-19 restrictions as the top US infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, warned that prematurely reopening the American economy would cause “needless suffering and death”. The WHO’s emergencies chief, Michael Ryan, has hailed the gradual lifting of coronavirus lockdowns in some countries whose death and infection rates were dropping, as a sign of “hope”, but he cautioned that “extreme vigilance is required”. He urged countries to boost their public health responses, ensuring they could identify fresh cases, and trace and isolate all contacts, which he said could help “avoid a major second wave”.
Russia to ease its coronavirus lockdown despite a record number of new infections (Podcast)
President Vladimir Putin's decision comes after Russia registered a record number of daily cases on Monday. Also: The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defends his plan to relax restrictions in England, and White House staff told to wear masks at work after high-profile infections.
Partisan Exits
Coronavirus: SAGE report fails to consider strategy for easing lockdown
"This is what transparency looks like," said Sir David King as he launched a critical report of the government's handling of the coronavirus epidemic. He's a former government chief scientist and the report was the first from a panel of experts assembled to rival the official Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). The 12-strong group live-streamed their two-hour meeting on YouTube last week and have just produced what they say is a constructive report which they've sent to the government and parliament. It's worth saying that the news briefing to launch the report wasn't open to the public. "We were told the membership (of SAGE) was secret. Why on Earth would you want to be secret?", said Sir David.
SDLP's Eastwood urges Executive to 'reconsider' timeline for exiting Covid-19 lockdown
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has urged the Northern Ireland Executive to "reconsider" its decision not to include a timescale as part of it's coronavirus lockdown exit plan. The Executive published its five step plan on Tuesday, but unlike plans from England and the Republic of Ireland it does not include potential dates for lifting restrictions.
PM Boris Johnson forced to clarify UK lockdown advice
In his first statement to Parliament on the coronavirus pandemic, months after the beginning of the outbreak in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday issued a lengthy clarification to his government's advice over the lifting of lockdown measures. He had addressed citizens on Sunday evening in a recorded televised address, but his statement was criticised for prompting more questions than it had answered.
UK lockdown: Matt Hancock refuses to accept public are confused over government coronavirus messaging
Health secretary Matt Hancock has denied that the government is confusing the public with its messaging over the coronavirus lockdown. England’s latest Covid-19 guidelines, announced by Boris Johnson on Sunday night, have been met with confusion and anger as people have questioned what they can and cannot do. Over the past 24 hours, the government has been forced to correct senior ministers over when people should return to work and whether they can meet relatives and friends in parks.
Boris Johnson grilled on 'vague' UK coronavirus lockdown advice
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined her government's strategy concerning the lockdown on Monday -- and it contrasts sharply with Boris Johnson's plan for the UK. She told a daily briefing it was "too risky" to change restrictions, and the message to people remains: "stay home". People are not being encouraged to go to work, she said. Johnson's "stay alert" instruction in his TV address on Sunday night applied to England and Wales, the first minister explained.
Unless the government changes tack, the UK's lockdown will have been for nothing
There are no silver bullets, clever models or easy answers for how to control the coronavirus. But neither is it rocket science. Governments have three choices in how they respond. The first and most difficult path is to contain the virus through a programme of mass testing, contact tracing and isolating. This requires a huge effort: building a large infrastructure to monitor cases of the virus and identify hotspots, ensuring this system runs efficiently, providing adequate PPE to everyone who needs it, and deploying border controls to vet who is entering the country.
Lockdown easing: have other leaders fared better than Boris Johnson?
Boris Johnson has been heavily criticised for failing to show Britain a clear route out of lockdown. Easing a nation out of two months of confinement is a complicated business, and some degree of confusion is almost inevitable. Here, Guardian correspondents look at how other European leaders have managed the process.
Boris Johnson's lockdown release condemned as 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. But his remarks drew criticism and concern from across the political spectrum – and his decision to drop the “stay at home” message in favour of advice to “stay alert” was met with a chorus of disapproval from the leaders of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Continued Lockdown
South Africa's coronavirus lockdown: Doubts creep in
We are now over six weeks into what remains one of the toughest lockdowns on earth, the government's health experts are predicting that the peak of the epidemic may still be two or three months away, infection numbers are surging in some regions, and the shocked silence and prompt conformity that greeted Mr Ramaphosa's early diktats has been replaced by an increasingly sceptical, angry, and politicised debate. A return to business as usual in this famously fractious nation? Perhaps. But South Africa is entering a long and difficult period in its fight against Covid-19.
Brazil's regional capitals bolster lockdown measures to curb COVID-19
Several of Brazil's regional capitals on Monday stepped up lockdown measures in a bid to fight the novel coronavirus, which has claimed more than 11,000 lives. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second-largest city and the one with the second-highest number of COVID-19 deaths after Sao Paulo, Mayor Marcelo Crivella announced a measure to restrict traffic in 10 districts starting Tuesday and banned the reopening of shops in the favelas. "We had an increase in cases at the start of May. Some people think that it was due to May 1 celebrations. It is very important to remember that we are only protected if everyone is using a face mask," Crivella said at a press conference.
Coronavirus lockdown has made jury trials backlog even worse in courts - people are suffering, says Bar Council chair
Since we were in that courtroom together, Pinto, an experienced corporate crime barrister who works as a judge part-time, has become chair of the Bar Council. She is a member of the working group of senior legal figures who have been meeting once a week to discuss how trials can resume. The latest announcement is “very encouraging”, she says. But there was already a backlog of 37,500 cases from last year for English and Welsh courts to deal with, because of “very, very grave reductions in the budget over a decade or so and a complete lack of investment in the system”, Pinto tells i. Scottish courts could soon have another 1,600, and the backlogs are growing longer, potentially worsening victims’ traumas and leaving people’s lives in limbo.
Scientific Viewpoint
UK coronavirus lockdown: Former top Government scientist Sir David King says it's 'foolhardy to go back to work now'
'I think we should be considerably more cautious about undoing the lockdown' the Government's former chief scientific officer said
Mass coronavirus testing plans unrealistic, warns Italian biotech boss
The mass testing that is central to lockdown exit plans in many countries is unrealistic because of high costs and lack of production capacity, according to the boss of an Italian biotech company that supplies tests around the world. Carlo Rosa, chief executive of DiaSorin, which sells Covid-19 diagnostic and antibody tests, said demand far exceeded supply and the percentage of people who had contracted the virus globally was too low to hope for mass immunity as another way out of restrictive lockdown measures.
WHO warns summer heatwaves pose greater risks for vulnerable in lockdown
A summer of heatwaves is expected to hit many European cities, according to the World Health Organization. Every year, high temperatures affect the health of many people, particularly older people, infants, people who work outdoors, and the chronically ill, the WHO said. With the coronavirus in play, the extreme heat can be even more dangerous as it can aggravate existing conditions. Experts have previously dismissed the idea that warmer weather can automatically stop or slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Coronavirus lockdowns could spark rise in HIV infections, experts warn
The CDC said it is expecting a drop in the number of STIs being diagnosed in the short term, “but an increase in the long term once restrictions lift and more people are screened and tested again.” It said that for HIV, “the decrease in the availability of testing and limited access to treatment and prevention services may result in more infections and poor health outcomes in the long run.” In San Francisco, Dr. Matthew Spinelli worries about the homeless, or those who lack the connectivity to take part in the videoconferences that have replaced in-person visits to health centers. “People are just scared of a hospital right now, so I’m pretty worried,” said Spinelli, who practices at the city’s largest hospital.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Coronavirus: Rush to contain second wave in South Korea as 101 cases linked to clubs
South Korean officials are scrambling to contain a new outbreak of coronavirus after a cluster of more than 100 cases was linked one man who visited several nightclubs in Seoul. Bars and discos across South Korea's capital have now been closed, after the sudden outbreak raised fears of a second wave of COVID-19 in a city that has been seen as a model for how to contain the disease.
New nightlife cluster causes spike in South Korea virus cases
South Korea announced its biggest spike in coronavirus infections in more than a month Monday, driven by a cluster at Seoul nightclubs and forcing authorities to delay this week's planned re-opening of schools. The country has been held up as a global model in how to curb the virus, but over the weekend its capital -- as well as neighbouring Gyeonggi province and the nearby city of Incheon -- ordered the closure of all clubs and bars after a burst of new cases sparked fears of a second wave.
Coronavirus: South Korea sees ‘superspreader’ event after lockdown relaxed
it took just one unwitting party animal to wreck it all. The virus behind the global pandemic is highly contagious. A dramatic “superspreader” event in Seoul has reminded us of that. And it’s a warning of what lies ahead as Australia begins to relax its lockdown. Just days after reopening its 2100 nightclubs and bars, the capital of South Korea has ordered them to close once again. Almost 6000 venues in the surrounding province also are shuttered. At the weekend, the country’s health system reported the sudden appearance of more than 40 new coronavirus cases. It was the first time in a month the figure had spiked so high. Contact tracers immediately went to work. What had caused this disturbing turnaround? Turns out, it was mostly due to just one 29-year-old man. He was desperate to let his hair down after long weeks confined to his home. He went on an epic pub crawl to make up for the lost time. In the process, he infected at least a dozen fellow partygoers. Some 30 infections are linked to the five nightclubs he visited. A further 7200 people may have been exposed.
WHO warns that coronavirus cases have jumped in countries that eased lockdowns
Several countries that have lifted coronavirus restrictions and reopened businesses have seen jumps in coronavirus cases, underscoring the “challenges that may lie ahead,” the World Health Organization warned Monday. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged caution as more countries seek to ease such restrictions and jump-start the economy. Before any country begins to lift restrictions, it should have necessary testing, tracing and isolating infrastructure in place, Tedros said.
China’s Wuhan sees first new virus cases since lockdown lifted
Wuhan, where the global coronavirus epidemic first started, reported its first new infections since the Chinese city ended its 76-day lockdown on April 8. The six locally transmitted cases, reported on May 10 and 11, were found in people already under quarantine who were asymptomatic before testing positive, according to the local government. All six cases emerged from a single residential compound. Although the new cases are few and appear under control, they serve as a reminder of the risks China faces as it tries to reopen an economy that has seen its worst contraction since 1992. “Seven provinces reported new infections over the past 14 days, and clustered cases were continuing to increase,” Mi Feng, spokesman for the National Health Commission, said on Monday. China reported only one confirmed case on Tuesday, with no new infections in Wuhan.
China's Wuhan to test entire population for coronavirus after new cases emerge
Wuhan plans to conduct coronavirus tests on the Chinese city's entire population after new cases emerged for the first time in weeks in the cradle of the global pandemic, state media reported today. Officials had been ordered to submit by noon on Tuesday plans to administer nucleic acid tests on all residents in the city of 11 million people, according to an official notice carried by news outlets. "Each district should make plans and arrangements to conduct nucleic acid tests on the entire population in its jurisdiction within a 10-day time limit," the notice said, although it was unclear when testing would begin.
China is playing lockdown whack-a-mole in its battle against a second wave of Covid-19 cases
Shulan, a small city in Jilin province, which neighbors North Korea and Russia, has been put under a partial lockdown since Saturday, with all non-essential transportation banned for its over 630,000 citizens. The city has reported 13 locally transmitted cases as of today, ending Jilin’s more than two-month streak of reporting no new cases, according to Shulan’s mayor (link in Chinese), who said the city is in “wartime” mode. The source of the infections are still under investigation, according to the Shulan government.
France and Germany see infection uptick as lockdown eased
Coronavirus infection rates are rising in Germany and France as lockdown rules are relaxed, new data revealed on Monday. Germany is being closely watched worldwide as the most successful large European country in curbing the spread of the virus, partly thanks to a massive programme of testing, which has prompted a partial reopening of the economy. Merkel has frequently said the reproduction rate of the new coronavirus must be held below one to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.
China's Wuhan reports first coronavirus cluster since lockdown lifted
Wuhan reported its first cluster of coronavirus infections since a lockdown on the city, the epicentre of the outbreak in China, was lifted a month ago, stoking concerns of a wider resurgence. The five new confirmed cases, all from the same residential compound, come amid efforts to ease restrictions across China as businesses restart and individuals get back to work. "We must resolutely contain the risk of a rebound," the health authority in Wuhan, a city with a population of about 11 million, said in a statement on Monday. New confirmed cases reported in China since April have been low compared with the thousands every day in February, thanks to a nationwide regime of screening, testing and quarantine
As countries consider lifting lockdowns, some in Asia are experiencing a resurgence in coronavirus cases
Public health experts — including those at the World Health Organization — have warned countries against lifting containment measures too early, which could cause a rebound in new coronavirus cases. In Asia, where the coronavirus first hit, several countries including China and South Korea have experienced an uptick in cases after restrictions were eased. In some instances, authorities have had to reimpose measures that restrict interactions between people to once again fight the virus spread. Meanwhile, investors and analysts said another round of lockdowns would exacerbate the damage already inflicted on the global economy.
New Lockdown
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says second lockdown would cost more than $4 billion a week
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the economy will expand by nearly $10 billion a month once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but he's warned Australians of the huge cost if a second lockdown is needed. Mr Frydenberg was originally scheduled to deliver his second budget tonight, but instead outlined the massive impact to the economy of the coronavirus pandemic. Calling it a "one in a hundred year event" that has put the Australian way of life on hold, the treasurer said COVID-19 was a health and economic shock, the likes of which the world has never seen.