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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 30th Apr 2020

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Lockdown Exit
Coronavirus Northern Territory: Restrictions to be lifted in NT
Outdoor weddings, funerals and even playgrounds will be back in business under a “new normal” strategy being prepared in every state and territory across Australia and one of the safest regions has predicted its plan will provide a template for the nation. “Because being the safest in the nation means being the first in the nation to get back on track. Back to business, back to work, back to enjoying the great Territory lifestyle.” Promising a “new normal” by early June, Mr Gunner said the Territory could offer a model for other parts of the nation.
NT Government eases coronavirus restrictions on weddings, bars, gyms and funerals
From noon Friday, people in the NT will be able to use public swimming pools, waterparks, go fishing with friends and play golf. From midday on May 15, Territorians can head back to the gym, borrow a book from a public library, get their nails done or dine at a restaurant or cafe. On Friday June 5, the Government will lift its two-hour time limit and ease its restrictions on indoor activities, which means people can get a tattoo, visit a nightclub, and play team sports such as basketball and soccer.
Germany faces having to bring BACK strict coronavirus lockdowns as cases surge just days after easing them
Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases, also urged caution. “Let's ensure we can continue to defend this success we have achieved together," he told a regular briefing. "We don't want the number of cases to rise again. Let's, insofar as is possible, stay at home, let's stick to the reduced contact."
Slovenia to ease coronavirus restrictions, gradually reopen schools
Slovenia will from Thursday lift a restriction imposed at the end of March that prohibited citizens from travelling outside their local municipalities. Education Minister Simona Kustec told national TV Slovenia later on Wednesday that schools and kindergartens, which have been closed since the middle of March, would gradually start reopening from May 18. The government said earlier that hairdressers and beauty parlours, as well as outdoor bars and restaurants and a number of shops, would be able to open from Monday. Libraries and museums are also expected to open on Monday. Large public events, including large sports gatherings, in Slovenia and the rest of Europe would “most probably” only be possible after a vaccination or medication for the coronavirus is discovered and widely used. He also called on citizens to remain disciplined in the coming weeks to prevent the spread of the virus.
Coronavirus: Health officials urge vigilance as countries ease lockdowns
As governments move forward with plans to ease coronavirus restrictions, health officials around the globe are calling on the public to remain vigilant so that hard-won victories in the battle against the pandemic are not lost.
Slovenia to Ease Coronavirus Restrictions, Gradually Reopen Schools
Slovenia will from Thursday lift a restriction imposed at the end of March that prohibited citizens from travelling outside their local municipalities, Prime Minister Janez Jansa said on Wednesday. Education Minister Simona Kustec told national TV Slovenia later on Wednesday that schools and kindergartens, which have been closed since the middle of March, would gradually start reopening from May 18. She did not give details.
Cyprus unveils road map to easing coronavirus restrictions
Cyprus’ president unveiled a road-map Wednesday for gradually lifting a strict, stay-at-home order over the next month that has until now helped to contain the spread of the coronavirus. But Nicos Anastasiades said that the “danger hasn’t passed,” as health experts note that the virus won’t completely go away any time soon. He warned that “deviations from or acts of ill-discipline” to authorities’ guidelines would lead to a return to lockdown conditions “that nobody wishes.”
Reopening puts Germany's much-praised coronavirus response at risk
But Merkel, like many of the country’s scientists, has pushed back, saying additional weeks of tight restrictions are needed to drive COVID-19 cases lower. “It is the right thing to do to lift some restrictions,” she emphasized. “But the way some states are going forward is rather brisk,” she said. “I would say too brisk.”
Coronavirus restrictions will be eased in Queensland on Friday to allow some recreational activities
Queensland will be the first Australian state to ease strict lockdown conditions as the country's effort to flatten the coronavirus curve begins to get results. State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that Queenslanders will finally be freed to go for a drive, sit at the beach, have a picnic, visit a national park and shop for non-essential items from midnight on Friday after weeks of restrictions. 'Because we have done such a terrific job of flattening the curve, after discussions with the Chief Health Officer, from next Friday we will be able to lift some of the stay-at-home restrictions,' she said on Sunday morning. Just hours later Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced his state would follow, allowing gatherings of up to ten people for non-work activities. Mr McGowan said it was a 'cautious relaxation' of restrictions, acknowledging it had been difficult for everyone, but especially the elderly, to not see family and friends during the pandemic.
The big changes coming to your everyday life after Australia's coronavirus restrictions are relaxed
Australian National University microbiologist Peter Collignon last week told Daily Mail Australia pubs and hotels may not return to normal until September - although they could re-open under strict conditions in July. Sign-in and sign-out procedures to maintain contact tracing and a 50 per cent capacity limit at venues are among those measures being discussed by hospitality industry leaders. The implementation of a staggered return to work could also reduce the risk of transmission on buses - accompanied by a ban on standing and preventing passengers from sitting next to each other.
Coronavirus: Cemeteries in NI to reopen
The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to reopen cemeteries during the coronavirus pandemic. First Minister Arlene Foster said it was about "balancing public health concerns with the basic human need to visit a loved one's grave". It falls to councils to reopen cemeteries and implement measures that will ensure social distancing. Some councils have announced their plans for reopening this weekend:
Coronavirus: NI lockdown could lift at different pace, suggests Arlene Foster
Northern Ireland may emerge from coronavirus restrictions at a different pace than other parts of the UK, First Minister Arlene Foster has said. She said measures will be eased when scientific and public health criteria are met, not timetables or dates. That criteria "will be set down and agreed" by the NI executive as well as UK colleagues, she told Cool FM. This could mean "different parts of the UK move in different time" to other areas.
Scott Morrison announces the first coronavirus restrictions to be relaxed
Several types of elective surgery, dental procedures and IVF will resume next week as Australia begins the road out from coronavirus restrictions. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the decision to allow 25 per cent of operations to restart marked a step towards normal life. But, in a sign that normality is still far away, beachgoers in Sydney's east were yelled at by lifeguards to 'keep swimming' because they are only allowed to use the beach for exercise and can face $1,000 fines if police catch them milling around.
Coronavirus: Queues at shops as Germany begins to ease coronavirus lockdown
Germany has taken the first steps to lifting its lockdown, by allowing some smaller non-essential shops to reopen. Shops no larger than 800 square metres were allowed to resume business on Monday morning, along with bookshops, car showrooms and bike stores. It follows an agreement reached last week between local and central governments over the coronavirus restrictions. Despite the lifting of some COVID-19 measures, Germany's government has stressed the move is an early step in the process.
Coronavirus: Trump unveils plan to reopen states in phases
Trump issued guidelines for reopening states after lockdown called 'Opening up America Again' based on three phases to gradually ease lockdowns. Phase One avoiding non-essential travel, not gathering in groups, but large venues such as restaurants, places of worship and sports venues can open under strict physical distancing protocols. Phase Two would permit resumption of non-essential travel. schools and bars to open with diminished standing room occupancy. Phase 3 permits public interactions with physical distancing and unrestricted staffing of worksites. Vists to care homes and hsopitals can esume and bars can increase standing room capacity - the science would drive the decisions at governor and state level
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus: Islands could be used to ‘pilot’ UK lockdown exit plan
Britain’s lockdown exit plan could be “trialled” on island communities, Michael Gove has said. The Cabinet Office minister told MPs this afternoon that a relaxation of restrictions could be “piloted” on the UK’s outlying islands before being rolled out on the mainland. Mr Gove’s comments came just hours after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon refused to comment on such an idea.
N.J. coronavirus reopening strategy: What about schools, parks, restaurants, retail?
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled six key points that will guide his decision to start reopening the state after a month of near-lockdown restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but for many residents, the announcement likely left more questions than answers. The strategy offered no timeline and Murphy said the stay-at-home order, nonessential business closures and strict social distancing would remain in place until further notice. When pressed for specifics, Murphy said that he expected the restrictions to linger for weeks, not months.
Why small groups will be first 'social bubbles' allowed out of coronavirus lockdown
The government said that the idea was “very alive to the issue of social isolation and the need for mental wellbeing”. Under the social bubble proposal, people would be allowed to combine their household with one or two others, up to a maximum of 10 people. A cautious version of the plan would probably mean that the vulnerable such as the over-70s and those with underlying health conditions would be advised to keep isolating and not merge with other households.
The coronavirus restrictions first in line to be relaxed
In Australia, going shopping with friends and team sport could be allowed again when the National Cabinet reviews coronavirus restrictions on May 11. Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy revealed those activities are 'in the mix' to be permitted once more. He suggested the national guidance that prevents gatherings of more than two people in public could be relaxed to allow friends and families to come together. But Professor Murphy said larger gatherings such concerts and festivals - as well as international travel - were out of the question.
Coronavirus: Why Denmark is taking steps to open up again
Denmark is among the first European countries aiming to put the lockdown into gradual reverse, just as it was one of the first to impose restrictions. "It's important we don't keep Denmark closed for longer than we need to," said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, as she announced the move. The spread of coronavirus appears to be under control and the government wants to get the economy going again. But Denmark's moves will be slow and cautious. Ms Frederiksen likened them to walking a tightrope.
Coronavirus: Work has begun on plan to ease lockdown restrictions, No 10 says
Planning is underway on how to ease the coronavirus lockdown, Downing Street has announced. The prime minister's spokesman confirmed preparatory work is already happening on how the social distancing measures introduced at the end of March can eventually be eased. Labour has supported an extension of the three-week emergency "stay at home" rules but called on the government to be "transparent" and publish its strategy for returning life as close to normal as possible.
Bill Gates explains how the United States can safely ease coronavirus restrictions
The ability for parts of the United States to safely and effectively begin to lift coronavirus restrictions will depend on the country's capacity to aggressively test for and trace new cases of the virus, Bill Gates told CNN's Fareed Zakaria Sunday. His comments come as several US states prepare to ease social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions this week, despite warnings from health researchers that no state should reopen before May 1. Meanwhile, the total number of reported coronavirus cases in the United States is nearing 1 million, and more than 54,000 Americans have died.
What New York's coronavirus pandemic reopening may look like
With the coronavirus pandemic appearing to have passed its peak in New York, the gradual reopening of the epicenter of the national health crisis is starting to take shape. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday outlined his most detailed plan for that reopening, starting with what he called lower risk businesses upstate getting back to work as early as mid May. "We have to be smart about this," Cuomo said Tuesday, adding that testing and infection rates and the availability of hospital beds must be at adequate levels. "Again, I know ... people are feeling emotional. Emotions can't drive our reopening process."
California reopening amid coronavirus: No firm timing for plan
California has the beginnings of a framework for slowly reopening, but it’s not exactly a timeline. Gov. Gavin Newsom released a four-part plan that he said could have some businesses running in weeks and some schools reopened by the summer. But the outline, officials acknowledge, still has many uncertainties. It is contingent on improvement in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak and on increased testing to assess how the illness is spreading
How close is the UK to easing coronavirus lockdown?
The UK has not yet met the five tests set out for easing the coronavirus lockdown, according to experts in health and economics, suggesting ministers will have to take a cautious approach to any relaxation in the coming weeks. Across Europe, many other countries have started to gradually ease restrictions, although there has been little in the way of co-ordination. Boris Johnson urged the public to have patience this week as the prime minister insisted he could only start easing the lockdown once the government’s tests were met to ensure a return to normal life persists.
Coronavirus: PM to update UK on 'steps to defeat' coronavirus
Boris Johnson is due to lead the daily coronavirus briefing for the first time since his return to work, after chairing a cabinet meeting. Ahead of the press conference, Mr Johnson urged UK businesses to "keep going" with lockdown measures. No 10 said he will update the UK on the government's "steps to defeat" the disease from 17:00 BST. Meanwhile, Downing Street faces the deadline for its target of 100,000 daily virus tests. Downing Street has said social distancing measures will not be relaxed if this would allow the virus to spread "in an exponential way".
Cyprus unveils road map to easing coronavirus restrictions
Cyprus’ president unveiled a road-map Wednesday for gradually lifting a strict, stay-at-home order over the next month that has until now helped to contain the spread of the coronavirus. But Nicos Anastasiades said that the “danger hasn’t passed,” as health experts note that the virus won’t completely go away any time soon. He warned that “deviations from or acts of ill-discipline” to authorities’ guidelines would lead to a return to lockdown conditions “that nobody wishes.”
Government prepares blueprint for UK’s ‘safe’ return to work
Boris Johnson’s government is set to issue detailed “workplace by workplace” guidance on how Britain can safely go back to work, as the prime minister prepares to announce that coronavirus is being contained. Alok Sharma, business secretary, is aiming to produce by the weekend about 10 papers setting out in “granular detail” how the economy can start to reopen once Mr Johnson orders the easing of the lockdown. He will set out how safe working can take place in environments from factories and construction sites to offices and call centres, answering demands from business for more clarity on an exit strategy.
Lifting the coronavirus lockdown: the route to reopening shops, schools and social bubbles
Among the most critical industries to get going again quickly are manufacturing and construction, which together make up more than 16 per cent of the economy but whose output has fallen by 55 per cent and 70 per cent respectively, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility. “Desk-based” businesses will be told to enforce the two-metre rule in desk spacing and told to keep communal spaces closed unless people can socially distance. They must also ensure that there is a reliable supply of hand-washing facilities and sanitising gel. Home working will still be encouraged — but the emphasis from ministers will change. The message will be that if companies can change working practices to enforce social distancing by reducing the workforce on site and staggering working hours they should do so.
With rising coronavirus deaths, L.A. reopening will be slow
The differing situations across the state are causing some local officials to chafe under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s blanket stay-at-home order, while others are pushing to prolong it. Officials in parts of the Central Coast, Central Valley and far Northern California, where the coronavirus appears more under control, want to reopen their economy and have asked Newsom to work with them to phase out their shelter-at-home order. Some have proposed a slow reopening of such places as restaurants and churches, with a continued focus on social distancing and the use of face coverings. The stark differences in the how the coronavirus has affected various parts of California has become a vexing issue as talk turns to easing the restrictions.
Coronavirus: 'Phased' school reopening when lockdown lifts
Schools have been closed for five weeks, apart from for key workers' children and vulnerable pupils. Ms Williams said she did not expect schools to "suddenly open" for all. She said there would be "a phased approach in allowing more pupils to return to school", based on five principles. Ms Williams, who has previously said schools may not open until September, said school provision would "gradually adapt and extend further during the next phase in line with changes to the current restrictions outlined by the first minister last week".
The current coronavirus restrictions in place around the world and how they are being eased
How have countries around the world started to reduce their lockdown restrictions? This is what is happening in Spain, Italy, and more
Gov. Gavin Newsom says California will crack down on coronavirus restrictions
California will reinforce statewide COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Gov. Gavin Newsom made the announcement after crowds flocked to beaches in Orange and Ventura Counties over the weekend. 'This virus doesn't take the weekends off,' he said in a briefing Monday. Photos showed crowds flouting social distancing guidelines. Newsom warned that COVID-19 spread in California will continue if stay-at-home orders aren't followed. A handful of states, including Minnesota and Mississippi, have started reopening their economies. Public health experts fear this will spark a second wave of infections
Coronavirus: Belgium unveils plans to lift lockdown
Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès has announced a detailed plan to gradually lift the country's coronavirus restrictions. Under new rules, all shops will be allowed to open their doors again from 11 May, with schools reopening the following week - albeit with a cap on pupil numbers in each class. But Ms Wilmès cautioned that "nothing is set in stone"
Coronavirus: 'Traffic light' system to lift lockdown in Wales
The framework includes questions to consider before decisions are made around relaxing restrictions. They are: Would easing a restriction have a negative effect on containing the virus? Does a particular measure pose a low risk of further infection? How can it be monitored and enforced? Can it be reversed quickly if it creates unintended consequences? Does it have a positive economic benefit? Does it have a positive impact on people's wellbeing? Does it have a positive impact on equality?
Coronavirus: NI lockdown could lift at different pace, suggests Arlene Foster
Northern Ireland may emerge from coronavirus restrictions at a different pace than other parts of the UK, First Minister Arlene Foster has said. She said measures will be eased when scientific and public health criteria are met, not timetables or dates. That criteria "will be set down and agreed" by the NI executive as well as UK colleagues, she told Cool FM. This could mean "different parts of the UK move in different time" to other areas.
Italy to relax lockdown restrictions from early May
Prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced today that Italy’s lockdown rules will be partially lifted in two weeks.“I wish I could say: let’s reopen everything. Immediately. We start tomorrow morning … But such a decision would be irresponsible,” Conte wrote in a Facebook post. “It would make the contagion curve go up in an uncontrolled way and would nullify all the efforts we have made so far. “We must act on the basis of a national (reopening) plan, which however takes into account the territorial peculiarities.”
Partisan Exits
Florida will begin lifting coronavirus stay-at-home orders from MONDAY, governor announces
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a plan Wednesday to lift stay-at-home orders from Monday. Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties will remain under restrictions as they have reported the most coronavirus cases in the state. It comes after the state reported its biggest spike in daily deaths on Tuesday. It joins 16 other states - mostly in the South and Midwest - which have lifted or announced dates to lift coronavirus restrictions following weeks of mandatory lockdowns Alabama, Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Iowa will slowly start opening their economies this week. Minnesota, Mississippi, Michigan, Tennessee, Colorado, Alaska, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas have already partially reopened. Public health authorities have warned that increasing human interactions and economic activity may spark a new surge of infections
Coronavirus: This is what reopening in US looks like
Barber shops, tattoo parlours, beaches and restaurants reopen in Georgia as the governor lifts coronavirus restrictions. BBC Newsnight's David Grossman travelled across the state to see what life looks like as the state emerges from economic hibernation.
US states reopening: Maine is first Northeastern state to ease COVID-19 restrictions
Maine will allow some businesses - including drive-in theaters, barber shops and hair salons, dog groomers and car dealerships - to reopen from Friday. Current restrictions, including no gatherings of more than 10 people and 14 day quarantine for out of state visitors, still apply. Maine joins 15 other states - mostly in the South and Midwest - which have lifted or announced dates to lift coronavirus restrictions following weeks of mandatory lockdowns. Alabama, Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Iowa will slowly start opening their economies this week. Minnesota, Mississippi, Michigan, Tennessee, Colorado, Alaska, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas have already partially reopened. Public health authorities have warned that increasing human interactions and economic activity may spark a new surge of infections.
Why Georgia Is Reopening Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic
Georgia governor Kemp’s move to reopen was condemned by scientists, high-ranking Republicans from his own state, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; it even drew a public rebuke from President Donald Trump, who had reportedly approved the measures before distancing himself from the governor amid the backlash.
Alabama and Ohio are latest to lift coronavirus restrictions
14 states that are home to more than 95 million people have started reopening their economies or announced their reopening plans. Alabama will reopen from Thursday and will be followed by Ohio on Friday. All Missouri businesses and social events will be allowed to reopen from May 4 and Iowa will open restaurants, malls, fitness centers, libraries and retail stores at 50% capacity from May 1. Stay-at-home orders issued by governors across the US and subsequent decisions to slowly reopen state economies have turned into highly charged political issues Minnesota, Mississippi, Colorado, Montana, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska and South Carolina will, or have already, restarted their economies following weeks of mandatory lockdowns. Texas partially reopened last week but the governor announced on Monday that state's stay-at-home order would expire April 30.
Global coronavirus restrictions loosening, allowing for some return to normalcy
Germany, which has lost more than 6,000 people to the contagion, took its first steps to ease restrictions last week — and by Tuesday locals were pictured visiting the Berlin Zoo and snapping selfies in front of elephants as the zoo partially reopened. Smaller businesses were also permitted to reopen in the country, but strict social distancing measures remain in place, and there are still bans on large gatherings of people.
Several U.S. states prepare to ease coronavirus restrictions despite experts' worries
By and large the states forging ahead with re-openings this week are concentrated in the South, the Midwest and mountain West, where outbreaks have been far less severe than in the Northeast. Most are led by Republican governors. Tennessee said it will allow restaurants to reopen on Monday. Mississippi’s stay-at-home order expires the same day. Montana, which reported three new cases on Sunday, is allowing businesses to reopen Monday if they limit capacity and practice social distancing, while Minnesota is clearing the way for 80,000 to 100,000 workers in industrial and office jobs to return to work on Monday. In Colorado, Democratic Governor Jared Polis has given the green light for retail curbside pickup to begin on Monday. Hair salons, barbershop and tattoo parlors can open on Friday, with retail stores, restaurants and movie theaters to follow.
More states are easing coronavirus restrictions this week, unnerving experts and some local officials
Several states are reopening from coronavirus shutdowns this week despite the recommendations of health researchers. Colorado, Minnesota and Montana plan to ease social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions. Iowa will allow elective surgeries to resume and farmers markets to reopen starting Monday.
Gov. Dunleavy says Alaska will ease some coronavirus restrictions starting later this week
Gov. Mike Dunleavy accelerated his timeline to open up segments of the economy, announcing Tuesday night that under certain restrictions, barbershops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and tanning salons can open starting Friday, allowing one customer in at a time. “We’re going to give these businesses an opportunity to be open, and really it’s one provider, one client, no waiting room," Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum said. Restaurants can open up for dine-in service, but with reservations. They can have up to 25% capacity. Retail stores will be allowed to open for limited shopping, operating at 25% capacity with hand sanitizer at the entrance. Bars, bingo parlors and bowling alleys cannot open yet, state officials said. The changes are not yet posted on state websites or in public documents, though state officials said more information will be released this week.
Continued Lockdown
Coronavirus: Irish restrictions extended until 5 May
The Republic of Ireland is to extend its Covid-19 restrictions for a further three weeks until 5 May. Taoiseach (Irish PM) Leo Varadkar made the announcement on Friday afternoon following a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency team. Gardaí (Irish police) have set up more than 1,000 checkpoints in recent days to stop people breaking restrictions. There have been 288 Covid-19 related deaths in the country, while the death toll in Northern Ireland is 92.
UK coronavirus restrictions to roll into 'next year'
Restrictions on everyday life in the UK to slow the spread of COVID-19 are likely to be needed for the “next calendar year”, the country’s top medic said on Wednesday. Britain is in the fifth week of a lockdown that only allows people to leave home for essential work, food shopping, exercise and limited other reasons. Normal life will only return once an effective vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 is available, Chris Whitty said at the government’s daily news conference.
Gov. Baker Defends Decision to Keep Mass. Closed for 2 More Weeks
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday defended his decision to extend the state's stay-at-home advisory and non-essential business closures for an additional two weeks. The governor announced Tuesday that he was extending the shutdown from May 4 until May 18 and established an advisory board to come up with recommendations on how a phased reopening can take place. The decision upset some in the business community who are struggling to survive due to coronavirus restrictions.
What coronavirus restrictions are in place around the world?
Some countries are now easing strict lockdown conditions as the world continues to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The global death toll stands at more than 200,000, with close to three million people having been infected worldwide. As countries weigh up the risk of a fresh wave of virus cases against the need to kick-start their economies, here is the lockdown status in several nations
Some UK coronavirus lockdown restrictions could last until next year, No10 suggests
Boris Johnson's spokesman did not deny claims we could have to continue social distancing until 2021 - raising the bleak prospect of pubs shuttered beyond Christmas
Scientific Viewpoint
When Can We Lift the Coronavirus Pandemic Restrictions? Not Before Taking These Steps
With much of the country grinding to a halt in a desperate attempt to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, many people are wondering when the U.S. will be able to “reopen.” The American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think tank, recently released a report co-written by former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb that offers a four-phase “road map to reopening.” Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health—and an expert on pandemic preparedness—provided input for the report and helped to review it.
When coronavirus restrictions will be lifted if Australia tries to eliminate coronavirus
Coronavirus measures could be eased as early as next month, or Australians can wait until June for restrictions to be fully lifted to benefit from economic growth, according to new research. Researchers from eight leading Australian universities prepared Health Minister Greg Hunt with the 'Roadmap to Recovery' report this week, which outlines when life in Australia could return to normal. The government has been presented with two options; 'controlled adaptation' which would mean restrictions are eased sooner, or wait for elimination of the virus and keep measures in place until June and experience greater economic activity. 'Any choice between these two options entails a delicate trade-off between protecting health, supporting the economy and societal well-being,' the report read
Italy Was Once The Epicentre Of The Coronavirus. But A Report Says It’s Far Too Early To Lift Lockdown Restrictions.
Lifting all coronavirus restrictions to pre-lockdown levels would overwhelm Italy's intensive care unit capacity within a month, according to modelling by the group of experts that advises the Italian government. The technical scientific committee (CTS) estimates there would be a peak of more than 150,000 people requiring admission to ICUs by June if daily life returned to how it was pre-crisis, with the total figure surpassing 430,000 by the end of the year. The CTS report, which was published by major Italian media outlets this week, lays out three baseline and 46 detailed scenarios assessing the rate of transmission of the virus in different areas of the economy, places of social contact, and age groups, as well as the impact of factors such as social distancing and the use of face masks.
Covid-19 is ‘just as deadly as Ebola’ for those who end up in hospital – UK expert
Covid-19 is just as deadly as Ebola for people admitted to hospital in the UK, a leading expert has said as his team published a major British study of almost 17,000 patients. The research found almost half of people admitted to hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales with coronavirus have no underlying health conditions, while obese people are almost 40% more likely to die than those who are not.

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 6th May 2020

News Highlights

Countries around Europe continued to gingerly nudge their way out of months of restrictive lockdowns. Italy, France and Spain, three of the hardest hit nations, have all partially eased lockdown restrictions to travel, exercise, shopping, dining and funerals.German museums and shops opened and barbershops seemed to be in demand in Austria too.

Along with the easing of restrictions, there is a cautious optimism and a sense that although there is still a long way to go, the 'new normal' will include a new way of living and working.

While shutting down entire swathes of the economic system was not easy, restarting has many challenges too. Case in point: Italy, where 4.4 million people were given permission to get back to work but only half could be absorbed by employers on that first day.

Lockdown Exit
Coronavirus: Italian workers swap lockdown for lockout | News
Italy’s efforts to breathe life into its crippled economy have been dealt a blow with the discovery that less than half the workers allowed to return to work on Monday actually got there. Of the 4.4 million people permitted to resume their jobs this week as the country’s coronavirus contagion slows, fewer than two million were taken back by employers, Rocco Palombella, the head of Italian union UILM, said. “People didn’t go back because companies cannot start full production when the market has collapsed,” he said.
Coronavirus: Several provinces begin to slowly loosen lockdown restrictions
Some provinces began easing their COVID-19 lockdowns on Monday, but top health officials cautioned many of the changes Canadians have made to their daily lives to slow the spread of the illness are here for the long haul. “It’s not over,” said federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu. “It is a cautious reopening in certain provinces and certain sectors, but … the new normal will have to include new ways of living, new ways of working that will protect us in this unique and difficult time.”
Sweden still hasn't locked down. But normal life is a luxury for only a few
I think there will be more restrictions in the near future, but I have a hard time imagining a complete lockdown. Swedes, who are too accustomed to their freedom, would protest. I don’t believe in a full lockdown; I think social distancing works to slow things down and flatten the curve. But it’s important to keep the economy rolling without risking more lives, and I know it can seem impossible to do both. “There are a few critical times in life when you must make sacrifices, not just for your own sake, but also for those around you, for your fellow human beings, and for our country,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, in a national address on March 22.
German museums and shops open as lockdown eased
Cabinet minister Peter Altmaier told us in a Newsnight interview there had been "a decline in infections, for now, at least four weeks in a row". Noting that there is no German word for "serendipity", Professor Robert Kaufman of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology said: "We apparently did not have hotspots, it spread slowly and we were lucky." Applying its large-scale testing capability and tracing of thousands of early cases, Germany contained its infection at a relatively low level. So now restrictions are being relaxed. Religious services resumed on Sunday, many shops were able to reopen on Monday, some museums will follow on Wednesday - as well as cabinet decisions about further easing of the rules.
Milan emerges from lockdown a different city
Italians are very wary and business is slow as some coronavirus-related restrictions are relaxed in Italy
Austria coronavirus under control despite lockdown easing
Austria's health minister said Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic in the country was under control, three weeks after it began to ease a strict lockdown. "The situation is very constant, very stable," Rudolf Anschober said, adding the daily increase in new infections had shrunk to 0.2 percent, down from up to 50 percent in mid-March. Small shops and hardware and gardening stores reopened in mid-April after a month-long lockdown though wearing masks in shops and public transport, and practising social distancing became mandatory. Bigger shops followed suit this weekend, and restrictions that largely forbid people from leaving their homes were lifted. Classes in schools are resuming this month, and restaurants are expected to reopen by mid-May. Anschober said the first phase of lockdown lifting had succeeded "excellently", but reminded people to remain vigilant despite more easing measures.
Spain's path out of Covid lockdown complicated by polarised politics
On Wednesday, Pedro Sánchez will once again ask Spanish MPs to approve an extension of the state of emergency that underpins one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns in Europe. If recent days and parliamentary sessions are anything to go by, the prime minister will not be in for an easy ride. At a time when opposition parties elsewhere in Europe are rallying around the flag, the adversaries of Sánchez’s socialist-led coalition are using the virus as a cudgel.
Europe’s reopening road map: How 11 countries are beginning to lift lockdowns
Europe is gingerly trying to get back to business, with restrictions loosening across the continent as the spread of the coronavirus slows. The German Spy Museum in Berlin opened its doors for the first time in weeks, bars in central Rome began offering takeaway services, and shaggy-haired Austrians flocked to barbers’ shops in Vienna. With Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Germany all relaxing some of their restrictions on Monday, Europe is settling down to a new normal as it returns to public life. It’s slower and less dynamic than before, and some restrictions will remain in place for weeks or even months, with face masks—ranging from clinical coverings to brightly colored homemade varieties—a ubiquitous reminder of the changes.
Sweden state epidemiologist 'not convinced' no lockdown was right call
The strategy architect isn't sure it was the right call not to introduce a lockdown. The state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet he was "not convinced at all" and his team was constantly examining how it was going and what else should be done. He also said it was important to "be humble all the time because you may have to change," according to The Independent. Sweden has introduced only a handful of rules and has left places like parks and restaurants open, but its death toll is much higher than neighboring countries'.
How Germany's states are pushing to relax coronavirus lockdown measures
Germany is this week further easing restrictions put in place to stem the spread of coronavirus. Hairdressers and barbers are now allowed to open their doors after weeks of forced closure, and lots of school pupils are getting back to the classroom. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders agreed to allow church services again, and to reopen playgrounds. Museums and zoos can also reopen. There have to be strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place for the reopening of all facilities.
Italy coronavirus lockdown restrictions relaxed as millions return to work
More than four million Italians were allowed back to work on Monday, while cafes also reopened in Europe's coronavirus epicentre. It marked the end of the the continent's first and longest, keeping people from their jobs and loved ones. Fabrizia Maselli was allowed to make the short 15-minute walk from home to visit her mother for the first time since the start of March, for an emotional reunion.
‘The biggest shock was fresh air’: Italy begins cautious exit from virus lockdown
“I literally haven’t been out of the house,” said Rina Sondhi, who lives in the Umbrian town of Orvieto. “The biggest shock for me was the fresh air. Today I feel liberated, but with caution – that’s the important thing, we can have the freedom but we must be really careful.” An estimated 4 million people returned to work on Monday as part of what the Italian government called the second phase of the country’s coronavirus emergency, with the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, appealing to the public in a Facebook post on Sunday night to “act responsibly”.
Italy Starts Easing Lockdown, Rebooting Its Stricken Economy
Move to reopen will test whether one of Europe’s largest economies can restart without igniting a new surge in infections
Coronavirus lockdown: Nigerians cautious as restrictions eased in Lagos and Abuja
In Nigeria, some businesses have reopened on the first working day after the easing of a lockdown imposed on key urban areas in a bid to restart Africa's largest economy. But the main doctors' association described the move as "very premature". In the commercial hub, Lagos, traffic jams were absent, indicating that many were remaining indoors. Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari said the measures had imposed "a very heavy economic cost". The lockdown began five weeks ago to contain the spread of coronavirus. As many in the big cities live a hand-to-mouth existence, the restrictions led to fears that it could leave people hungry as it cut off their means to earn money.
Europe is in a new phase of reopening, but it's hardly a return to normal
The Italian government said that to fully reopen stores, bars and restaurants it must slow the reproduction rate of the coronavirus to 0.5, meaning that each infected Italian is infecting less than one other person (an "R0 value" of 1, for instance, means that every infected person is infecting one other person). To reopen theaters, conventions and stadiums, Italy wants the number to be as close as possible to 0. Currently the figure is around 0.6-0.7 nationally. Restaurant, bar and store owners around Italy were last week "handing over their keys" to local mayors in protest over the slow reopening, and Conte apologized on Friday for a delay to financial aid payments to businesses impacted by the pandemic. A joint letter from 13 of the 20 Italian regions last Wednesday asked the government "to guarantee the possibility of reopening activities to all those who respect the measures already provided" by the lockdown decree. "It's clear that health is the first essential objective, but it can't be the only one," the letter added.
Erdogan says Turkey to start easing coronavirus restrictions as of Monday
Turkey will start easing coronavirus containment measures as of Monday, President Tayyip Erdogan said, lifting intercity travel restriction in seven provinces and easing a curfew imposed for senior and youth citizens at the weekend after weeks. Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan said senior and youth citizens will be allowed outside for 4 hours for one day a week starting this weekend and that travel restrictions would be lifted for seven cities, excluding Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. He said shopping malls, barber shops and some stores will be allowed to open on May 11 as long as they abide by normalisation rules, adding that universities would return to their academic calendar as of June 15. But, Erdogan warned that the government would impose much harsher measures if the normalisation plan is not followed.
Italy's St. Mark's Square Already Packed Again as Lockdown's Lifted
One of Italy's biggest hot spots -- for tourism, not coronavirus -- is packed again as the country's citizens rush out of nearly 10 weeks of lockdown. St. Mark's Square in Venice was filled Monday as Italy enters its phase 2 ... which allows visiting relatives within the region, taking part in funerals and exercising outside while maintaining social distancing. There's little social distancing going on in the Square ... but, on the other hand, almost everyone is wearing a face mask.
‘My soul is dancing’: Spain comes out to play after Europe's strictest lockdown
On Saturday, Spaniards took to streets and beaches as they were finally allowed out to exercise, after quarantine. On the Costa del Sol, Lola Culsán joined them
Coronavirus: Spain's capital Madrid adjusts to new normal
"I'm so glad to be finally able to walk outside for a bit," she says. "The people I work for are nice and treat me well but 48 days inside is a long time. "I'm grateful I could carry on working as many have lost their jobs."
Italy, France, Spain ease lockdowns after low coronavirus deaths
Italy, France and Spain are all beginning to loosen their stringent, weekslong coronavirus lockdowns. It comes as all three countries on Sunday reported their lowest coronavirus death and new infection rates in weeks. These countries are among the hardest-hit in Europe, with Italy being the world's coronavirus epicenter for much of March. All three countries have imposed strict lockdown measures since mid-March. Now, many aspects of normal life are being eased back in. Restrictions to travel, exercise, shopping, dining, funerals, and working patterns are all being reconsidered or partially lifted.
Spaniards soak up sun after lockdown eased, as daily death toll lowest in 6 weeks
Spain is gradually beginning its de-escalation from the strictest lockdown rules in Europe, with adults allowed outside for solo exercise near their homes for the first time since the confinement began on March 15. Four islands in the Canaries and the Balearics will be the first to transition to so-called "Phase One" on Monday, which will see a further opening up of small businesses and lifting of restrictions on movement.
France, Italy and Spain prepare to ease coronavirus lockdowns
The Guardian (late April) takes a closer look at European opening plans
Exit Strategies
The Guardian view on a lockdown exit strategy: get plans in place
The task, as Mr Speranza says, is to work out a way “to live with the virus” until a vaccine is discovered. Mr Sánchez has indicated that a ban on all non-essential work will be lifted after Easter. Other European countries, including France and Austria, where some shops will reopen next week, have also begun to game-plan the second phase of the crisis. The modus vivendi will, if it is to work, involve continued physical distancing, much greater testing and contact tracing in the community, and a functioning antibody test to establish who has had and recovered from the disease.
Germany set to pass lockdown decisions back to states
Germany could soon see all shops reopen and all students return to school in stages. The mooted changes would curtail Germany's largely nationwide approach to restrictions, restoring an even freer hand to the states.
Hope and Worry Mingle as Countries Relax Coronavirus Lockdowns
At least a dozen countries pulled back on restrictions put in place to combat the virus. But leaders warned that an uptick in infections could shut life down again.
Coronavirus: Bavarian beer gardens to reopen as lockdown measures eased in Germany
Restaurants and hotels are also set to reopen this month in the southeastern state of Bavaria.. In a more immediate lifting of coronavirus lockdown measures, families in Bavaria will be able to visit elderly relatives in care homes again from Wednesday. Mr Soeder is among the first state governors to announce concrete plans to further reopen the economy. Bavaria - which is Germany's second-most populous state and contains the city of Munich - had the highest per capita coronavirus infection rate in the country.
Coronavirus and college: UC Berkeley chancellor expects hybrid plan, no tuition break for fall
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ expects the school to adopt a “hybrid plan” for the fall semester, with some classes in person and others online. Christ, speaking Tuesday during an online panel discussion with other campus leaders, made her most extensive public comments about Cal’s plans for the fall. She said the school will make a final decision by mid-June and intends to have “a semester in the cloud for students who cannot come to campus.”
Coronavirus: 'Segment and shield' way to lift UK lockdown now
Strengthening protection for people shielding, while easing restrictions for everyone else, is the only immediate way to safely lift the UK's coronavirus lockdown, researchers say. They say people could be sorted into three groups by risk - the most vulnerable, those caring for or living with them and everyone else. It is not pain-free or perfect, they say, but could lift curbs for many yet still protect the NHS and save lives. Their unpublished work uses modelling.
Coronavirus: Possible post-lockdown workplace rules revealed
Reduced hot-desking and alternatives to social distancing where it is not possible are among measures being considered to let workplaces reopen. One of seven draft plans to ease anti-coronavirus restrictions, seen by the BBC, also urges employers to minimise numbers using equipment, stagger shift times and maximise home-working. PM Boris Johnson is to reveal a "roadmap" out of lockdown on Sunday. But the UK must not lift restrictions too soon, he said in a video message.
Plan to lift Wales' coronavirus lockdown revealed - with a warning that 'even more' will be asked of us
Health minister Vaughan Gething said the Welsh Government hoped the 'highly ambitious' plan would be ready at the end of the month.
French Law Firms Prepare for a 'Soft Opening' After COVID-19 Lockdown
Managing partners say that while their offices will be ready to welcome lawyers and staff May 11, most will probably choose to stay home for now.
Europe’s reopening road map: How 11 countries are beginning to lift lockdowns
Europe is gingerly trying to get back to business, with restrictions loosening across the continent as the spread of the coronavirus slows. The German Spy Museum in Berlin opened its doors for the first time in weeks, bars in central Rome began offering takeaway services, and shaggy-haired Austrians flocked to barbers’ shops in Vienna. With Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Germany all relaxing some of their restrictions on Monday, Europe is settling down to a new normal as it returns to public life. It’s slower and less dynamic than before, and some restrictions will remain in place for weeks or even months, with face masks—ranging from clinical coverings to brightly colored homemade varieties—a ubiquitous reminder of the changes.
Portugal starts to emerge from coronavirus lockdown
Portugal will begin to ease its coronavirus lockdown on Monday, with small shops, hair salons and car dealers resuming operations as a state of emergency was lifted after more than six weeks. The wearing of face masks or visors in stores and on public transport is compulsory under the government's plan unveiled last week for the gradual reopening of the country.
Coronavirus UK: Boris Johnson to ease lockdown restrictions in workplaces | Health
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said on Sunday that Britons would need to live with “some degree of constraint” until a vaccination became available. “Ultimately, unless and until we have a vaccine then I suspect that we are going to have to live with some degree of constraint because of the nature of the virus,” he said. “But we obviously want to, wherever possible, and consistent with the measures on public health, restore people’s lives to as close to normal as possible.” Here is a looks at what the nation’s workplaces might look like once restrictions are lifted.
Coronavirus France: Cameras to monitor masks and social distancing
Video surveillance cameras in France will monitor how many people are wearing masks and their compliance with social distancing when the coronavirus lockdown is eased next week. The resort city of Cannes on the Côte d'Azur has trialled the monitoring software, installed at outdoor markets and on buses. It is not clear how many other cities will adopt this digital surveillance. French firm Datakalab says its software does not violate EU data privacy law.
France toll tops 25,000, PM defends post-lockdown plan
Spain began a four-phase plan to reopen the country by the end of June, while the 24-hour death tally from coronavirus stayed under 200 for the second day in a row. Red Cross workers handed out protective masks at Madrid's metro stations today as mask usage in public transport is mandatory. Small businesses like beauty salons and bookstores can start limited services and customers can pick up take-away orders from restaurants. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday that six million masks were due to be distributed in Spain, one of the worst-hit nations by the global pandemic.
Coronavirus: France gets ‘green, yellow and red zones’ to help guide lockdown easing
France has been split into red, orange and green zones to show how the lockdown may be relaxed across the country. The health minister has revealed a map showing the worst-affected areas by coronavirus by measuring the circulation of Covid-19 and the burden on intensive care units in different regions. It will serve as a reference when the country eases confinement measures after 11 May. The government has said "green zones" will be able to lift some restrictions more rapidly than "red zones", which currently includes the whole of the Paris region and northeast France.
Australians told how coronavirus restrictions will be eased ahead of Friday's announcement
Australians have been told how coronavirus restrictions will slowly be lifted. Scott Morrison said easing of rules conditional on uptake of COVID-19 app. Chief medical officer said a slow, staggered move out of lockdown was likely. Community sports could restart first along with partial university reopenings. Each stage of restriction easing would need to be reviewed over multiple weeks. Comes as psychology expert said return to society could be a shock for some. 'You’ve been on your own so much - it might be a little odd,' the expert said
Coronavirus restrictions could become 'new normal' until vaccine found
Some social distancing measures will remain in place until a coronavirus vaccine is developed but ministers will seek to restore people's lives to "as close to normal as possible", a Cabinet minister today told the daily news conference. Michael Gove warned people would have to live with "some degree of constraint" until they can be immunised against the deadly disease - suggesting Britons would have to accept a "new normal".
Coronavirus restrictions on 1.8m 'shielded' people to be reviewed
Blanket restrictions on nearly two million people told to shield due to the coronavirus will be reviewed in a bid to create “more stratified” guidance, according to England’s deputy chief medical officer. At the start of the lockdown, 1.8 million people in England were asked to stay indoors for 12 weeks as they were considered most at risk from Covid-19. Speaking at the Downing Street daily briefing, Dr Jenny Harries said officials were “trying to review” the restrictive rules “because we do recognise that asking somebody to stay shielded … for a very long period of time … is quite a difficult thing for them to do.”
Australia edges closer to lifting coronavirus restrictions as app downloads surpass 4million
ABF has given the go-ahead for NZ Warriors to travel to Australia on Sunday. Downloads for the coronavirus tracing app have surpassed four million. Scott Morrison said pubs could reopen sooner if more people download the app. Officials are expecting millions more to download the app by Friday next week. The national cabinet has brought forward the decision to ease restrictions
France and Spain reveal plans to relax lockdown
Shops and schools across France will reopen and free movement will be restored within 60 miles of homes when the lockdown is eased on May 11, the government announced last night.Alongside measures
Coronavirus: French PM to set out road to normality, restrictions ease in Australia
Western Australia and Queensland cautiously loosen social distancing rules, while Beijing bans ‘uncivilised’ behaviour
Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon rejects claims of lockdown lift in May
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has denied claims that lockdown restrictions could be lifted next month. Several Sunday papers have reported that lockdown measures could be relaxed from 11 May, including the re-opening of schools and some retailers. Ms Sturgeon said it was still not possible to say when schools in Scotland would reopen. She said that all decisions must be "solidly based and not premature". Three days ago, Ms Sturgeon announced that Scotland's coronavirus lockdown would continue for "at least another three weeks".
Partisan Exits
Live updates: Vice President Pence says coronavirus task force could be disbanded within a month
Vice President Pence told reporters today that the coronavirus task force created to manage the federal government’s response to the pandemic could be disbanded within a month because “of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country.” The number of people who have died in the U.S. from covid-19 passed 70,000 on Tuesday, with nearly 1.2 million confirmed cases, according to state health departments and tracking by The Washington Post.
America's coronavirus reopening debate comes down to how much a human life is worth, New York governor says
Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said debates on how soon states should ease social distancing restrictions come down to the value of human life -- and that policymakers are avoiding saying so explicitly. Cuomo, whose state by far has the most recorded coronavirus cases, reacted Tuesday to projections that the country's coronavirus death rate will soar because many states are easing restrictions now. "The fundamental question, which we're not articulating, is how much is a human life worth?" Cuomo said at a news conference.
U.S. daily coronavirus death rate will more than double by June 1, draft government report projects
Covid-19 deaths in the United States will rise to more than 3,000 a day by June 1, with new confirmed cases surging to about 200,000 daily, a draft government report projects. The predictions belie the projections made Sunday evening by President Trump, who said the U.S. could eventually suffer as many as 100,000 deaths. At 3,000 deaths per day and rising, the national total would quickly outstrip that number if the new report is correct.
Coronavirus Reopening: Cuomo Outlines May 15 Regional Reopening Criteria
On the topic of reopening, he said it would be “more complicated then the close down,” which he called “a blunt operation.” Reopening is “more nuanced, you have to be more careful,” the governor said. The reopening will be phased and work hand-in-hand with measuring certain metrics. “It’s not going to happen state-wide,” Cuomo said. “And rather than wait for the whole state to be ready, reopen on a regional basis. If upstate has to wait for downstate to be ready, they’re going to be waiting a long time. So, analyze the situation on a regional basis.”
The price of reopening the economy: tens of thousands of American lives
In an interview published in Tuesday's edition of the New York Post, Trump said Americans were ready come out of isolation and get back to normal life. "I think they're starting to feel good now. The country's opening again. We saved millions of lives, I think," Trump said. "You have to be careful, but you have to get back to work," he said. "People want the country open... I guess we have 38 states that are either opening or are very close." A Washington Post and University of Maryland national poll released Tuesday finds Americans widely oppose reopening most businesses. While 56% said they are comfortable going to the grocery store now, 67% said they would be uncomfortable visiting a retail store and 78% said they'd be uncomfortable going to a sit-down restaurant, according to the poll.
Coronavirus model projects 134,000 deaths in US, nearly double its last estimate
Ali Mokdad, a professor of Health Metrics Sciences at IHME, told CNN's John King that there are "several reasons" for the increased projections. "One of them is increased mobility before the relaxation, premature relaxation, of social distancing," he said. "We're adding more presumptive deaths as well, and we're seeing a lot of outbreaks in the Midwest, for example." He said multiple variables impact infections -- like heat, testing capacity and population density -- but "the most important one is mobility." Right now, he said, "we're seeing an increase in mobility that's leading to an increase in mortality, unfortunately, in the United States."
The reopening gamble: Set your timer for three weeks
Set a timer for three weeks. By late May, we should know whether certain US states collected on a major gamble or committed a hideous error by reopening their economies. If a tide of sickness and death overwhelms the early openers, lockdowns may return, making Americans' trudge back toward normal economic life even slower and more painful. But if infections can be kept at manageable levels, these pioneers may begin to piece together a vision of the "new normal" that everyone keeps talking about. The good news is that some of the states beginning to open up — like South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin were never as savagely hit as states like New York, California and Michigan. The bad news is that their turn may be next. Science warns the virus is still out there, waiting for an opening.
Warmer weather and debate over restrictions drive Americans outside while coronavirus cases rise
From California to New York, more Americans are headed outside -- some for recreation and others in protest. But as some states loosen or let go of their stay-at-home orders, researchers predict a higher death toll from coronavirus this summer than previously expected. As of Sunday, more than 1.1 million people in the US have been infected with coronavirus, and more than 67,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. States such as California have stood firm on their stay-at-home orders -- and have been met with protests.
Northern Ireland church leaders urge politicians to consider easing coronavirus restrictions
The leaders of Northern Ireland's main Churches have urged politicians to consider easing restrictions on private prayer in church buildings "sooner rather than later". In a joint statement, the leaders of the Church of Ireland, Methodist Church in Ireland, Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church and the Irish Council of Churches, said they accept that now is not the time for "a full return" to collective worship in our Churches. However, they asked for the issue to be reviewed regularly.
Reopening of America: More than half of states will lift coronavirus restrictions by the end of the week
In Nevada, a chanting crowd of protesters marched up to the door of the governor’s residence on Saturday, drawing police who stood with automatic weapons. And a group demanding to “Fully Open California” organized to cause traffic gridlock in Laguna Beach. With confirmed US. deaths topping 65,000, efforts to reopen the country also are sparking outcries about public safety. But officials have battled crowds and some public resistance to mask-wearing and social distancing measures.
States are easing coronavirus restrictions and 'it's going to cost lives,' researcher says
"You're making a big mistake. It's going to cost lives," Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and disaster preparedness specialist at Columbia University Medical Center, told CNN on Friday. Redlener and Joseph Fair, a senior fellow in pandemic policy at Texas A&M University, sent a report to all governors on Friday, warning them that no state or city should reduce restrictions until coronavirus infections have been steadily decreasing for 10 days to two weeks, and not until enough tests are available to assess just how many people really are infected. Redlener's warning comes as more than 30 states are easing social distancing restrictions this weekend. The changes ranged from opening state parks to allowing some businesses to restart.
As Coronavirus Restrictions Ease, Many Still Wary
As states around the country begin lifting stay-at-home orders, individuals face their own choice over whether it feels safe to resume activities we all used to take for granted. We asked NPR listeners to tell us how they are making these decisions and nearly 250 people responded. In general, it's clear that even as local officials lift restrictions, many people plan to wait longer before resuming their old routines. "As long as there are new cases, I think it's not really safe," says Naomi Silas, a freelance graphic designer and graduate student in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Coronavirus: Lockdown should ease to help economy, says Philip Hammond
Former chancellor Philip Hammond has urged the government to set out its plan to restart the economy. Ministers have been reluctant to discuss a lockdown exit strategy, arguing that it might undermine the message for people to stay at home. Mr Hammond said the country cannot afford to wait until a vaccine is developed and called on the government to start easing lockdown measures.
Continued Lockdown
Coronavirus: Robin Swann says lockdown debate getting ahead of itself
The debate about easing Northern Ireland's pandemic lockdown restrictions is "getting ahead of itself", the health minister has said. A further 17 Covid-19 related deaths in NI were reported by Robin Swann's department, bringing its total to 404. The executive is holding talks about whether to relax any measures to curb the spread of the virus. "Call it my May Day alert," said Mr Swann, as he urged people to stay at home this bank holiday weekend.
Coronavirus: Cobourg, Port Hope staying the course on closures, restrictions for now
Northumberland County has not seen a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in quite some time now. As of May 5, the area has seen 13 confirmed cases — all of which have been resolved, according to numbers provided by the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. But that doesn’t mean the Town of Cobourg and the Municipality of Port Hope are jumping at the idea of lifting restrictions and reopening facilities and amenities just yet.
Gov. Tom Wolf talks about coronavirus and reopening more of Pennsylvania
Wolf didn’t offer a timetable for opening another series of counties, including the southcentral part of the state. “There is no schedule,” Wolf said. Last week, Wolf had said some southcentral counties could be among the candidates for reopening, but he didn’t identify those counties. He didn’t offer any new hints in Tuesday’s media call. Wolf said the state hasn’t made a decision to remove the number of cases in nursing homes and prisons when examining counties for reopening. He did say those cases would be considered in making decisions. “The goal is to keep people safe,” Wolf said.
Defying French lockdown lift, Guadeloupe says won't open schools now
Mayors in Guadeloupe, a French overseas department in the Caribbean, have voted against reopening schools next week as stipulated in plans drawn up in Paris for easing the coronavirus lockdown. The region, like France’s other overseas territories scattered around the world, is subject to French laws, but mayors have authority over schools. On Monday, they gathered in an extraordinary “territorial conference” with the archipelago’s departmental and regional presidents to discuss the reopening of schools. Of the 32 mayors, 29 voted against restarting classes when the lockdown starts to be eased in France from May 11, saying students should go back only in September.
Scientific Viewpoint
Countries lifting coronavirus lockdown too early will increase deaths and cause economic meltdown, a top scientist warns
Yaneer Bar-Yam, from EndCoronavirus.org, a group made up of scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said America was not ready to open up because it was slow off the mark with its lockdown. Tweeting a graphic comparing countries that crushed the infection curve, he said: "Overwhelming data says opening prematurely will increase cases, escalate loss of life and economic harm. "Countries that acted late to impose social distancing and testing are suffering. "Countries that acted early soon will safely restart economies. "Don’t play with fire."
Workers should work 'four days on, 10 days off' to ease coronavirus lockdown
The government should tell businesses to enact a “four days on, 10 days off” policy for workers once the coronavirus lockdown is eased, according to one of the UK’s leading chemical biologists. Chair of chemical biology at Imperial College London Professor Keith Willison, writing for the neoliberal think tank Adam Smith Institute, said this cyclical plan would help avoid a second peak while getting the economy moving again.
Coronavirus lockdown should continue for elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, academics say
“Segmentation and shielding recognises that, although social distancing impacts on the whole of society, the public health burden of Covid-19 is concentrated in a subset of vulnerable people,” said Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. “By targeting protection to those that need it most, the strategy helps to ensure that the health system is not overwhelmed by severe cases, while giving policy makers greater leeway to partially relax social distancing measures for the majority of the population,” he said. The academics have modelled a range of scenarios to illustrate how different restrictions could be applied to different groups. They have sent their findings to the UK and Scottish Governments.
New report models Italy's potential exit strategy from COVID-19 lockdown | Imperial News
It finds that if the country returns to just 20% of mobility levels before the lockdown – mobility being a measure of people going to work, shops, visiting friends and family etc. – then deaths could rise again within just three weeks. The authors warn that some social distancing measures will need to remain in place, along with testing, contact-tracing and isolation of people infected with Covid-19, to keep transmission in check and prevent a resurgence of the outbreak.
Coronavirus: Italy 'could be heading for deadlier second peak' after easing lockdown, scientists warn
Italy could be set for a “second peak” of deaths after easing its lockown measures, researchers tracking the coronavirus outbreak have predicted. According to analysis carried out by Imperial College London, the country could be set for a large increase in deaths within three weeks of partially lifting its social-distancing restrictions. Currently, Italy has the second highest-death rate in Europe, with 29,315 deaths, behind 29,502 in the UK. But researchers from Imperial have forecast a second spike will take place if the country returns to just 20 percent of its pre-lockdown mobility levels – a measure of how much people leave the home.

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 7th May 2020

News Highlights

Countries around the world are opening up slowly but worries still abound. Greece's economy is heavily dependent on tourism, which looks unlikely to pick up in the near future. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is leaving it to individual states to decide on how they plan to reopen their economies. At the same time, German officials are assuring citizens that they can still consider holidaying abroad over the summer, though details may still need to be finalised. Bundesliga football could soon resume, but with some restrictions, and up to two households will be able to meet and eat together.

The UK is considering lifting the lockdown from Monday, with details set to be outlined over the weekend, but the Prime Minister cautioned against any haste, lest there be a second wave of coronavirus cases.

Interestingly, Australian businesses are rethinking ways of working, dispensing with ideas like the shared office cookie jars and hot desking, and looking to cubicles and partitions from the past, symbolically some might say, as the entire world moves towards 'Post-Covid19' workspaces.

Lockdown Exit
Tracking the lockdown: what is opening up around the world
National and local authorities around the world are beginning to wind down restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, gradually lifting the lockdowns that have stunted economies,
Jersey expected to ease lockdown restrictions even further next week
Jersey’s Chief Minister has said the island will likely move into Level three of lockdown next week. Level three has previously been described as a ‘soft lockdown’ with the stay at home order being lifted. Whilst there will be no limit to time spent out of the house, people will be asked to stay and work from home wherever possible. Currently Jersey remains at Level four, where islanders are limited to four hours outside and can meet with two people that do not live in your household so long as you socially distance.
'This Is Freedom?': Post-Lockdown Italy Not How We Imagined
As lockdown begins to ease, there should be feelings of relief and hope, but the start of Phase 2 in Italy has been tainted by uncertainty and fear. The vague wording of the government’s rules and the continued need for a self-certification form justifying the motive for leaving the house means many Italians are still feeling anxiety about going outside. Those who have been permitted to restart work and reopen businesses have been overwhelmed by stringent safety measures that must be adhered to. Some bookshops, that had been allowed to reopen on April 14, chose to keep the shutters down as sanitizing books and maintaining distancing seemed unfeasible as well as expensive.
How has Italy reacted to a cautious easing of lockdown?
In the economically disadvantaged south of the country, remaining closed for another month will result in the failure of many commercial activities and will aggravate the economic and social emergency that is brewing. Over the next few weeks, the government will have to find solutions that will keep at bay a second, possibly deadlier wave of coronavirus cases as well as avoiding economic collapse.
How are Spanish pubs and bars trading during coronavirus lockdown?
While the coronavirus pandemic has caused significant headaches for countless businesses across the world, in some ways it has brought sectors closer together. With everyone facing the same challenges, now is the time to learn the challenges other operators in other countries have encountered and how they have overcome those hurdles.
What to Expect When Lockdown Lifts, According to People in Norway, Germany and Italy
Now that the UK had passed the peak of the pandemic, speculation as to how the government will ease the lockdown has begun. Boris Johnson was originally set to review lockdown guidelines this Thursday, but the review has now been postponed until Sunday – a likely sign that the government is in no rush to get everything back to normal. Indeed, a report released this week from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) outlines the many considerations for easing a lockdown, including the potential economic, psychological and social costs and benefits.
Greeks' relief as coronavirus lockdown eased but fears over impact on vital tourism industry loom
Greece's fate lies instead in the hands of the millions of tourists from the US, UK and other European countries; tourism accounts for 20% of the Greek economy and one in four jobs, according to the country’s national statisticians. Greeks desperately want tourists to return, but at the same time they are worried that they will bring the virus with them. The two most important countries for Greek tourism, Germany and the UK, are both facing severe Covid-19 challenges. Germany saw a rise in cases after it begun lifting restrictions; the UK is now the worst-hit country in Europe. Such is the seriousness of the situation that Dr Tsiodras has mentioned the UK specifically almost every evening during the last few daily briefings. “It’s a paradox when it comes to pandemics and it is related to the [issue of] timely adoption of measures,” the Harvard educated professor told Greeks while trying to explain why fatalities in the UK have surpassed those of tragically-hit Italy.
Coronavirus: Germany opens up again as Merkel hands over to states
Germany will radically loosen its lockdown measures as chancellor Angela Merkel yields to pressure from the leaders of the country’s 16 states to make their own plans for opening up. The draft agreement for the meeting on Wednesday between the chancellor and the state premiers says that schools and shops can all reopen, but under strict new hygiene guidelines, including the 1.5-meter social distancing rules. States can also decide for themselves when they open restaurants, pubs, clubs and gyms, but big events like festivals are banned until 31 August. Already last week, churches, zoos, museums, and playgrounds were given the green light.
Germany clamping down on golf clubs failing to follow safety rules
As golf courses start to reopen across Europe, the consequences of failing to follow strict guidelines aimed at delivering "safe golf" during the ongoing coronavirus have been highlighted in Germany.
Coronavirus: Germany reopens shops as lockdown is relaxed
Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany's goal of slowing the spread of coronavirus has been achieved, so all shops can be reopened as lockdown restrictions are eased. Bundesliga football has been given the green light to resume and schools will gradually reopen in the summer term. Germany's 16 federal states, under an agreement with the government, will take control of timing the reopening. They will operate an "emergency brake" if there is a new surge in infections. General contact rules involving will continue for another month. A limited resumption has already begun, but this easing of restrictions is far broader. Two households will be able to meet and eat together, and elderly people in nursing homes and facilities for the disabled will be able to have visits from one specific person.
Coronavirus: Germany reopens museums, galleries and gardens to the public
Germany has begun relaxing the lockdown measures put in place to control the spread of coronavirus, as officials say the infection rate has been declining for “at least four weeks in a row”. Museums, galleries and gardens, as well as many shops, were allowed to reopen this week. Individual states will decide about gradually opening universities, bars, trade fairs, theatres, cinemas, and more under certain hygiene and distancing rules. A draft document prepared by federal chancellery chief Helge Braun, seen by Reuters, also said amateur open-air sports could restart and schools should gradually reopen from 11 May.
Coronavirus: Summer holidays abroad possible, German official says
Germans may be able to have summer holidays abroad, the country's tourism chief said, as European nations look at how to handle the summer break. Federal tourism commissioner Thomas Bareiss told Der Tagesspiegel newspaper that if the outbreak stayed under control, people might be able to take vacations abroad soon. Germany was in talks with other nations about summer holidays, he said. European governments are mulling how to handle the upcoming vacation period. More than 100,000 people are confirmed to have died amid the coronavirus pandemic in Europe.
France’s Covid-19 epidemic continues to decline as end of lockdown approaches
The numbers of patients in hospital and in intensive care continued to decline. Patients in hospital have declined for three weeks, for a total of 24,775, down from a peak at 32,292 on 14 April. The number of patients in intensive care has dropped below half of what it was at the peak of the epidemic, now standing at 3,430, down from 7,148 on 8 April. Confinement measures imposed as of 17 March were to begin easing on 11 May, with officials warning lockdown has to be lifted gradually in order to ward off a second wave of the epidemic.
Coronavirus lockdown plunges French services into record slump - PMI
IHS Markit’s overall PMI index, which includes services and already published data from the manufacturing sector, fell to 11.1 from 28.9 in March, marginally worse than the 11.2 originally reported. The lockdown, in place since mid-March, is due to be lifted from next Monday, but some restrictions will remain in place, leaving little prospect for a quick recovery for most firms. “Any return to long-term growth rates might be gradual, with consumers taking time to overcome hesitancy surrounding public health before they resume their previous spending habits,” IHS Markit economist Eliot Kerr said.
How Slovakia Flattened the Coronavirus Curve With a Model Lockdown
Why isn’t Slovakia overrun by the coronavirus? Experts that I spoke to credit three main factors. The most important was the government’s quick decision to institute a national lockdown effective March 16, 10 days after the country confirmed its first coronavirus case. The lockdown included the closure of all schools, restaurants, bars, and shops except for grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks—as well as a ban on all public events and gatherings. The lockdown measures have only worked because of the second factor: an immediate and universal compliance by the Slovak population.
Britain’s Johnson Says Lockdown Announcement to Come Sunday
Boris Johnson assured members of the House of Commons they would be fully informed and would be given opportunity to question him or members of the government about any decisions. He said it would be “an economic disaster” for Britain if restrictions were lifted in such a way as to trigger “a second spike” in COVID-19 infections. Johnson said the government would work with the government in Scotland, the opposition, unions and business "to make sure we get the un-lockdown plan completely right."
Coronavirus latest: Germany can be bold easing restrictions, Merkel says
Poland will postpone Sunday's presidential election, the country's governing parties announced on Wednesday. A new date for the election will be announced "as soon as possible," ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski and coalition partner leader Jaroslaw Gowin said in a statement. "Having in mind Poles' safety, due to the epidemic, the elections will be held by postal vote," they said.
Covid 19 coronavirus: How Australia's businesses are preparing to leave their lockdown
No more shared cookie jars, fewer meetings, staggered start times and temperature checks before you leave the house – Aussies may be heading back to work, but the office will never be the same. On the plus side, hot-desking will likely be a thing of the past as the world makes the transition to "post-Covid workplaces", where hygiene, safety, social distancing and regular cleaning will take the driver's seat after decades of cost-cutting measures. And millennials who entered the workforce in the "open plan" era may soon be getting their first taste of the cubicle.
U.S. States Roll Back Restrictions as Lockdowns Ease Across Asia
Swathes of the country remained under lockdown, and tensions escalated in some places over the restrictive policies that are designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Public-health officials have cautioned that lifting restrictions too hastily could lead to a surge in new cases. Before states reopen, they say, the number of new cases should fall under a certain threshold and state leaders should have a robust testing capacity in place and develop contact-tracing teams. Guidelines from the Trump administration recommend governors take steps toward reopening after they see a decline in documented cases or positive tests over a two-week period.
Exit Strategies
Contact tracing: An army of 18,000 sleuths and call-handlers could help Britain emerge from coronavirus lockdown
“Where were you on the evening of Friday May 1st?” It is the sort of question one might expect to hear from a hard-boiled detective or a prosecutor in a courtroom drama. It is also the kind of question that Britons will have to get used to answering if daily life is to return to anything resembling normal. Much of the focus of the government’s “test, track and trace” strategy to reopen Britain and prevent a second lockdown has been on testing and on an app being developed by NHSX, the digital-innovation arm of the health service.
The current UK lockdown rules for over-70s explained amid talk they may be kept inside for longer
How people over the age of 70 will have to live once lockdown is lifted has been a big topic of conversation during the coronavirus crisis. Under current Government rules, over-70s have to abide by the same social distancing measures as the rest of the UK population. The majority of people in this age bracket can still go out for exercise, do essential shopping and pick up medicine. However, they have to be more careful than everyone else. Campaigners fear that when lockdown is relaxed, older people might be kept under the rules for longer than younger people for their own safety. That proposal - which has been rumoured but is not in any way confirmed by the Government - has sparked a backlash among doctors' leaders and campaigners, the Mirror reports. Here are the current rules explained, and what might or might not happen in the future.
Coronavirus: Australia is in the feared third quarter of lockdown
Experts say that in this time we’ve been subject to three psychological phases. The first was one of panic and confusion, when we were crying out for a sense of control and easily embraced restrictions. Then came the honeymoon phase when lockdown was almost a novelty. There was no more battling morning traffic, you could stay in your pyjamas all day, some started baking sourdough and others reconnected with nature. Now we’re in the eerie ‘Third Quarter,’ which has been identified in those stuck in space or submarines. Typically, isolated individuals become more irritable, you might feel sad or lonely, start drinking more alcohol and struggle to get to sleep. “There’s a sense of being trapped, there’s not a lot of new stimulation going on,” Clinical Psychologist Kimberley Norris told Sunrise.
UK to begin lifting lockdown from Monday
Lockdown measures in the UK could start to be lifted from Monday, with details set to be outlined at the weekend. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced a new target of 200,000 coronavirus tests a day - a target he hopes will be met by the end of May.
Australia's biggest states retain lockdown measures on Mother's Day
Australia’s two most populous states on Thursday refused to allow a one-day reprieve from strict limits on personal movement for Mother’s Day this weekend, even as the country’s rate of new coronavirus cases remains low.
UK draws up three-stage plan for easing coronavirus lockdown
The first phase of relaxation will involve outdoor workplaces and small shops reopening, the second will involve large shopping centres reopening and more people being encouraged to return to work, the report said. Pubs, restaurants, hotels and leisure centres will be among the last businesses to reopen, the Times said. The UK lockdown was announced by Johnson in a televised speech on 23 March with tough restrictions on movement introduced the next day. Three weeks later on 16 April, Dominic Raab – standing in for the coronavirus-stricken Prime Minister – said lockdown would persist for at least another three weeks as the UK was not past the peak of the disease.
When will the UK lockdown end? The four potential exit strategies
During a Downing Street press conference on 16 April, Dominic Raab, deputising for Boris Johnson, said that the lockdown measures will remain in place for at least three more weeks, or up until May 7th. He also set out five tests that must be met before the government would consider lifting measures.
Rural parts of UK could come out of lockdown before cities
Rural parts of the UK which have seen far fewer cases of coronavirus could come out of lockdown ahead of the rest of the UK, England’s chief scientific adviser has said. Places like Devon, Cornwall and Somerset as well as other rural locations could see restrictions eased ahead of places such as London and Birmingham. Each nation in the UK will make its own decisions about easing lockdown rules. Sir Patrick Vallance said that while the R number – the number of other people infected by each person with coronavirus – is below one across the country, prevalence of infection will be different depending on region.
End of lockdown: When is it, how will it happen and is the pandemic over?
The Prime Minister has said we are now past the peak of the pandemic, and hinted that lockdown measures could be lifted soon. He said the "dates and times" of each measure being lifted would come when the Government had more data, but the UK is heading towards "phase two" of its coronavirus response, which will involve partially lifting lockdown. Here, we analyse when the lockdown could end and what the "new normal" might look like.
Coronavirus: How might lockdown end and what will be the 'new normal'?
High Street fashion chains and others closed during lockdown are waiting to hear how they might reopen. Changing rooms could be closed and customers encouraged to shop alone, the British Retail Consortium suggests. Next says it will prioritise reopening larger, out-of-town outlets, where social distancing is easier. Some DIY stores, meanwhile, have already reopened - but they are accepting card payments only and have shorter trading hours. And B&Q has banned under-16s. But several retailers will be missing from the High Street altogether, the chairman of key-cutting company Timpson has warned.
Boris Johnson says lockdown easing due to start on Monday
The prime minister said on Wednesday he would set out his strategy for the “second phase” of the UK’s fight against coronavirus in a televised address on Sunday, adding the government would “get going” with some measures to revise the shutdown on Monday. The initial relaxation of the lockdown is expected to be limited, such as allowing unlimited exercise and sunbathing in parks, while allowing some businesses to ramp up operations where social distancing can be observed, such as on construction sites. The first wave of tweaks will cover the toughening up of other measures, such as the wearing of face masks on public transport and tougher checks at border.
Coronavirus: How social 'bubbles' could work when UK lockdown is eased
Britons could be allowed to reunite with loved ones using "bubble" arrangements under proposals to ease the lockdown. Ministers are looking at ways of letting people meet up with friends and family when lockdown restrictions are eventually eased. Under the arrangements, people will be able choose a small number of friends and family to mix with, outdoors for the time being, and will be under strict orders not to mix with anybody else. People could also be allowed to leave their homes more often and for longer periods of time. The proposals are being considered by the government to introduce a "new normal" to the way Britain operates socially.
When will gyms open in the UK? If fitness centres could be among the first to reopen when lockdown is eased
n Italy, the country has entered into phase two of its exit out of lockdown. Italians will now be able to travel within regions in order to visit relatives, provided that they wear masks. However, schools, hairdressers, gyms and a variety of other commercial activities will stay closed. Cafes and restaurants will offer takeaways only. In the Czech Republic, gyms and fitness centres will be open to the public next week, but the showers and dressing rooms will be off limits.
Spain to avert political crisis, extend virus lockdown
To compensate losing the backing of the conservative Popular Party and angering Catalonia’s separatists, Sánchez’s Socialists struck last-minute deals with the center-right Citizens party and Basque regionalists to guarantee the parliamentary endorsement. That gave the government 178 votes in favor to 75 votes against, with 97 abstentions. The state of emergency was set to expire on Saturday. The extension will take it through May 24. The government argued the extension is critical to apply its complex rollback plan for the lockdown, which will vary by province as they prepare for a possible second wave.
Spain’s holiday islands Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca waiting to move into lockdown de-escalation phase one
The regional minister said it is “essential” to have well-defined controls at ports and airports to allow all the Balearic Islands to move forward through the different stages of the de-escalation. She stressed the island government wants to see checks at travellers’ place of departure and destination, and said Formentera’s experience this week, with checks on arriving ferry passengers’ temperatures, health questionnaires and antibody tests, will make it possible “to see exactly what the situation is.” Gomez expressed confidence her department has planned resources well “to be able to deal with the situation,” both in terms of hospitals and medicalised hotels on all the islands except Formentera. “We can practically duplicate the capacity we have in criteria and hospital beds in approximately a day,” she maintained.
Scotland lockdown exit plan: what Nicola Sturgeon has said about easing restrictions and when it could happen
The First Minister has said that lockdown measures will be lifted "when we judge it is safe to make them, which I am afraid is not right now"
France's Macron throws lockdown lifeline to culture sector
French president Emmanuel Macron promised guaranteed stipends for out-of-work actors and money for filmmakers whose productions have been cancelled, as part of a bailout for an arts industry shut down by the coronavirus.
France’s Covid-19 epidemic continues to decline as end of lockdown approaches
The number of patients in intensive care has dropped below half of what it was at the peak of the epidemic, now standing at 3,430, down from 7,148 on 8 April. Confinement measures imposed as of 17 March were to begin easing on 11 May, with officials warning lockdown has to be lifted gradually in order to ward off a second wave of the epidemic.
When will tennis courts reopen after lockdown, and is it safe to play?
It seems plausible that the prime minister’s upcoming speech on Sunday night could herald a relaxation of restrictions. France is permitting outdoor recreational tennis from next Monday while most other European countries have already moved to this position. Ireland is working towards the reopening of outdoor tennis clubs and public parks from May 18.
Paris Metro Prepares for Lockdown Easing With Police and Cleaners
The Paris public transport system will deploy as many as 2,000 police officers to enforce rules on social distancing and the wearing of masks when France starts to ease lockdown measures on May 11. The operator of metros, buses and commuter trains in the French capital, known as the RATP, has also increased its cleaning budget by at least 70% and is testing methods like anti-viral sprays in buses, according to Chief Executive Officer Catherine Guillouard.
France prepares plan to re-impose lockdown if coronavirus cases spike
France is less than a week away from beginning to lift its strict, nationwide lockdown on May 11th. The government has stressed repeatedly that this easing of restrictions will depend on the development of the epidemic curve, and has not excluded postponing the whole process to a later date if necessary. “If, as we approach May 11th, the number of daily new cases is not what we predicted, we will pay the consequences," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said as he presented the government's plan to lift the lockdown last week.
Here’s How Boris Johnson Is Planning to Lift the U.K.’s Lockdown
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the key to keeping the infection rate down lies in tracking the spread of the virus and isolating people who have it as well as those who have been in contact with them. The U.K. has stepped up testing and wants to recruit 18,000 contact tracers. The mobile phone app that will keep a record of people the owner has been in contact with won’t be ready until mid-May.
Can Australia's coronavirus contact tracing app COVIDSafe lift the country out of lockdown?
To speed up the process of contacting people who may have been exposed to coronavirus, the Federal Government is asking Australians to download its new COVIDSafe app. The more people use the app, the message goes, the faster we can slow the spread of the virus and the sooner we can lift restrictions and return to the pub. "The first job of the COVIDSafe app is to keep you safe," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a press conference on Tuesday.
Coronavirus Australia: Fears of infection as lockdown begins to lift
Two out of five Australians believe it’s likely they will be infected with COVID-19 over the next six months, as the nation struggles with the virus pandemic. In a landmark study, the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods collected data from 3,155 Australians in January and February and again in April. Two-thirds of Australians reported they felt anxious or worried for the safety of themselves, their family members or friends to the the coronavirus.
Tony Blair think tank outlines 'roadmap' out of coronavirus lockdown for the government | Latest Brexit news and top stories
In its latest coronavirus case study, the Tony Blair Institute outlined recommendations for pulling the country out of hibernation. They include setting out the levels of easing they will use and what they will mean for people and business, and building on the current five tests with “triggers, hard metrics and thresholds” to move between levels. They also urge explaining how expanded containment measures can reduce the risk at each level and tailoring communications to enlist the support of individuals and businesses. The report also suggested the government follow steps taken by New Zealand and Australia where leaders have been able to sketch out a detailed guide to leaving a lockdown. They argued that clear messaging would assist companies to prepare for a new operation environment.
When will UK lockdown end? Date restrictions will be reviewed as UK passes peak of infections
On Sunday (10 May), the Prime Minister will address the nation to outline a “road map” of how current restrictions will be gradually lifted as part of the ‘second phase’ of the coronavirus response.
Partisan Exits
UK could start easing virus lockdown next week - Johnson
A Reuters investigation found policies designed to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed pushed a greater burden onto care homes which struggled to get access to tests and protective equipment. Asked by a member of the public during a question session on Sky News whether the government had sacrificed the elderly in residential homes to ensure the health service was not overrun, Mr Hancock said: "No we didn't do this ... we have, from the start, worked very hard to protect people in care homes."
Boris Johnson Hints UK Could Begin Easing Lockdown As Soon As Monday
Boris Johnson has said the government could begin to ease the UK’s coronavirus lockdown from Monday. Speaking during prime minister’s questions in the Commons, the PM said he planned to give a statement on Sunday setting out plans for the next day. He did not specify which measures might be dropped or amended first as ministers were “continuously” receiving data from health and science experts. "We will want, if we possibly can, to get going with some of those measures on Monday,” he said, in a reply to Labour leader Keir Starmer. “I think it would be a good thing [...] if people had an idea of what’s coming the following day. That’s why I think Sunday, the weekend, is the best time to do it.”
Coronavirus: Robin Swann says lockdown debate getting ahead of itself
The debate about easing Northern Ireland's pandemic lockdown restrictions is "getting ahead of itself", the health minister has said. A further 17 Covid-19 related deaths in NI were reported by Robin Swann's department, bringing its total to 404. The executive is holding talks about whether to relax any measures to curb the spread of the virus. "Call it my May Day alert," said Mr Swann, as he urged people to stay at home this bank holiday weekend. Northern Ireland's Executive must review whether to amend the coronavirus regulations by Saturday, but some ministers have already said any changes need to be gradual. Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill wants the Executive to publish its plans for emerging from restrictions on Thursday.
Birx warns against gatherings as US reopens from lockdowns
Dr Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House coronavirus taskforce, has warned against US citizens gathering in public spaces again as the number of COVID-19 infections topped 1.1 million in the country and the death toll rose to more than 67,000 on Sunday. Birx said massing on beaches was not safe unless people kept at least two metres (six feet) apart, and weighed in against allowing such businesses as beauty salons and spas to reopen in the first phase.
Continued Lockdown
Lockdown continues: Australia's biggest state will NOT relax rules
New South Wales will not relax any coronavirus restrictions until next week but Queensland will allow five household members to visit another family in a home from Sunday. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said no restrictions will be relaxed in his state - and told reporters that he will not be visiting his own mother on Mothers' Day. On Friday the national cabinet will set out a three-step framework to ease the rules - but state and territory leaders will be able to choose when they implement the changes. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said rules in Australia's biggest state by population will not be changing until after the weekend.
Coronavirus lockdown batters German services in April - PMI
Phil Smith, principal economist at IHS Markit, said the plunge in services business activity accelerated in April and that the rate of contraction was much worse than seen during the depths of the global financial crisis more than a decade ago. "However, though manufacturing also suffered a record drop in output in April, the PMI surveys confirm that the decline in Germany's economy has been less severe than in France, Italy and Spain, where lockdowns have been more strict," Smith added. Germany took a further step on the long road back to post-coronavirus normality on Monday, with museums and hairdressers reopening under strict conditions, churches opening their doors for worshippers and more car factories resuming work. But more than a month after all but essential social and commercial life was suspended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the country's politicians are at odds over how far and how fast to move. Despite first steps to ease restrictions, there is still a lot of uncertainty among businesses about the timing of further relaxation of measures and the health of demand going forward, Smith noted.
Coronavirus lockdown: India jobless numbers cross 120 million in April
Scenes of desperate migrant workers, particularly daily-wage earners, fleeing cities on foot to return to their villages, filled TV screens and newspapers for most of April. Their informal jobs, which employ 90% of the population, were the first to be hit as construction stopped, and cities suspended public transport. But protracted curfews and the continued closure of businesses - and the uncertainty of when the lockdown will end - hasn’t spared formal, permanent jobs either. Large companies across various sectors - media, aviation, retail, hospitality, automobiles - have announced massive layoffs in recent weeks. And experts predict that many small and medium businesses are likely to shut shop altogether.
The head of Sweden's no-lockdown coronavirus plan said the country's heavy death toll 'came as a surprise'
The head of Sweden's coronavirus response said in a new interview that the country's high death toll had "come as a surprise" and was "really something we worry a lot about." The state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told "The Daily Show" that the Swedish strategy had still been successful in many ways. But he said the no-lockdown strategy was not a conscious decision in favor of more deaths — instead he said the outsize toll was not part of the plan. About half of Sweden's deaths have been in nursing homes, which prohibit visitors. Tegnell said health officials had thought it would be easier to keep the disease away from them.
As Coronavirus Lockdown Eases, Cypriots Still in Limbo
Birinci is one of thousands of Cypriots caught in limbo since the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government and the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north both imposed stringent lockdowns but without consulting each other. "I think what has been lacking since the beginning is cooperation between the two sides," said Hakan Karahasan, another Turkish Cypriot badly affected by the lockdown.
Australia's coronavirus lockdown to cost $4bn a week in reduced economic activity – treasurer
The treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the current restrictions Australian governments have adopted to stop the spread of coronavirus – restrictions likely to taper down from this Friday – are resulting in a reduction in economic activity worth $4bn per week. Frydenberg will use a speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday to warn the economic shock associated with Covid-19 will be both profound and prolonged, with Treasury estimating a 10 to 12% fall in gross domestic product during the June quarter alone.
Scientific Viewpoint
WHO warns of new lockdowns if transition not managed carefully
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus listed a series of steps needed before countries lift measures designed to control the spread of the Covid-19 respiratory disease
6 criteria for relaxing #COVID19 measures recommended by @WHO
6 criteria for relaxing #COVID19 measures recommended by @WHO 1. Strong surveillance system 2. Health system has necessary capacities 3. Minimized outbreak risks 4. Preventive measures in place 5. Importation risks are manageable 6. Communities are educated, engaged & empowered
Doctor Who Treated First COVID-19 Patient in U.S. Worries About Second Wave As Lockdown Is Lifted
The doctor who treated the first COVID-19 patient in the United States has expressed his concern that a second wave of the disease could emerge as lockdown measures are gradually eased. George Díaz, infectious diseases chief at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington, told journalists on Monday in a video briefing: "What worries me is that when the economy starts to reopen, we are going to see a second outbreak that is perhaps as big as the first, and the first one was very difficult for us and for the whole world. "And more than anything, I am concerned that I don't know if we are going to have the resources to handle a second outbreak," he said, AFP reported.
Structural Basis for Potent Neutralization of Betacoronaviruses by Single-Domain Camelid Antibodies
VHHs isolated from a llama immunized with prefusion-stabilized coronavirus spikes. Structural characterization of VHHs reveals conserved mechanism of neutralization. SARS-CoV-1 S-directed VHH cross-reacts with SARS-CoV-2 S. Bivalent VHH neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses.
New Lockdown
`If this thing boomerangs': Second wave of infections feared
As Europe and the U.S. loosen their lockdowns against the coronavirus, health experts are expressing growing dread over what they say is an all-but-certain second wave of deaths and infections that could force governments to clamp back down. “We’re risking a backslide that will be intolerable,” said Dr. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity. Elsewhere around the world, German authorities began drawing up plans in case of a resurgence of the virus. Experts in Italy urged intensified efforts to identify new victims and trace their contacts. And France, which hasn’t yet eased its lockdown, has already worked up a “reconfinement plan” in the event of a new wave.

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 8th May 2020

News Highlights

Countries around the world are grapling with a dilemma: either ease lockdown restrictions to restart the economy or continue with lockdowns to control the coronavirus infection rate.

India, which has imposed a strict lockdown for over 40 days, relaxed its rules, and infection rates and morbidities jumped almost immediately. Russia, which had relatively few cases, saw a spike of more than 10,000 cases in a single day, just as it said it was considering relaxing lockdown rules next week. France, the UK, Spain and Germany are all making plans to ease restrictions and resume economic and social activity based on revised rules. However, Spain's two hardest hit cities, Barcelona and Madrid, may keep restrictions in place.

Unfortunately, amid the lockdown in South Africa, more and more people are making calls to support groups for help with issues related to anxiety, panic and stress. Depression and anxiety are terrible companions to have at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic.

Lockdown Exit
COVID-19: how Asia-Pacific is emerging from lockdown
Countries all over the world are announcing their plans to emerge from COVID-19-inflicted lockdown, and the Asia-Pacific region is no different. Even countries like Thailand and Viet Nam, that have not suffered a heavy infection rate or death toll, must now reckon with the economic damage caused by the pandemic, and are eager to cautiously reopen their schools and get people back to work. Here is a roundup of measures announced from countries and economies in the Asia-Pacific area:
What Canada can learn from Hong Kong’s Covid-19 successes
Professor Samuel Yeung-shan Wong says Canada should follow Hong Kong by supporting public mask wearing and testing all arrivals at airports for coronavirus A study by Wong, published in Canada, says Hong Kong’s aggressive contact tracing and quarantine measures also helped restrict the spread of the disease
How to stay safe on public transport under Italy's lockdown phase two
Italy's health ministry has issued new guidance on reducing the risk of infection when using public transport. The Italian government has also stated that masks must be worn when using on all forms of public transport. In addition to this, the Italian health ministry on Wednesday published official advice on staying safe when using public transport – assessed by workplace injury insurance agency INAIL.as being a “medium-high risk" environment for coronavirus infection, the Ansa news agency reports. The risk rises to “high” during peak times in urban areas, the insurers said.
France to test controversial Covid-19 tracking app during lockdown exit
As France awakens from lockdown on 11 May, the government will start testing “under real conditions” a prototype for its much-criticised StopCovid contact tracking phone app, ahead of the product’s intended full roll-out on 2 June. The app works by using Bluetooth to interact with nearby phones and detect when users come into contact with potential coronavirus carriers. It generates an anonymous numerical ID that’s exchanged with other smartphones also running the app. The ID of anyone who tests positive is red-flagged, and a warning is then sent to those who have crossed paths with the infected person. The app does not, however, reveal details about where and when the encounter took place – unlike similar technology in China, geolocation data is not recorded. The use of StopCovid – developed in France by researchers and companies under the supervision of the government – will be purely voluntary, but it needs to be widespread if it’s to play any meaningful role slowing the epidemic.
Coronavirus: Private renters facing ‘tsunami of evictions’ once lockdown ends, charity warns
Shelter says that those relying on benefits must find an estimated £13m a week in total to keep up with their rent payments. The government has suspended evictions for the duration of the crisis, but thousands could be forced out of their homes when the lockdown ends. Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, has warned of a “tsunami of evictions” amid the “serious financial difficulty” that people across the country are now facing. “As renters lose their jobs and see their incomes hit, many will have to rely on the welfare safety net for the first time,” she said. “Our services are already hearing from families in homes they could comfortably afford under normal circumstances, who are now in serious financial difficulty. “We’re facing an onslaught of people suddenly unable to afford their rent, at a time when people need to stay put and cannot safely move to a cheaper home.
Hugs, rugby on agenda as New Zealand continues to ease lockdown
Super Rugby in New Zealand is poised to resume when the country relaxes its COVID-19 lockdown, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Thursday, with bars, retailers and schools also set to open. Ardern is due to announce next Monday whether New Zealand will move to 'Alert Level 2', which allows significantly more freedom than Kiwis have experienced since lockdown began in late March. While she stressed no decision had yet been made, Ardern acknowledged New Zealand's success in containing the virus had put it in a good position to cautiously relax the rules. "Think of ourselves as halfway down Everest," she said. "It's clear that no one wants to hike back up that peak and the descent is known to be even more dangerous."
Coronavirus: Lockdown bites poor as France eases grip
The government will set out on Thursday how it plans to lift restrictions on movement on Monday. But for many the damage from one of Europe's strictest lockdowns has been done. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe gave details of the changes on Thursday. The plan is to divide the country into red and green zones, with different rules for different places. "From Monday we will progressively unwind the lockdown that started on 17 March... but the country is cut in two, with the virus circulating more quickly in some regions, notably in the Paris region, which is very densely populated," the prime minister said.
Exiled Parisians face bittersweet homecoming as France eases Covid-19 lockdown
Two months ago, some 1.2 million people fled the Paris region in a reverse rural flight that prompted howls of protests from countryfolk fearful of the spreading coronavirus. Now, residents of the French capital and its suburbs have been told they can head back the other way as the country prepares to end its lockdown on May 11. Already, the logistics of their return from exile is a headache for the SNCF, France’s national train operator, which is running a limited service and can only fill 50% of seats to comply with social distancing rules. But the government has pledged to let all Parisians return home, provided they carry a justification form required of all travellers who plan to cover a distance of more than 100 kilometres once the lockdown is lifted.
Parts of Asia that relaxed restrictions without a resurgence in coronavirus cases did these three things
South Korea and Hong Kong successfully relaxed pandemic restrictions without having another rise in cases by data sharing, using targeted testing and contact tracing. The varying results of efforts across Asia to contain the virus and reopen society present policy options and perhaps lessons for countries behind on the outbreak’s timeline. Public health specialists who spoke with CNBC said they’re not confident U.S. officials are taking note of what’s working and not working in Asia.
Pew-pew woo-hoo! Hong Kong reopens video arcades shut by coronavirus lockdown
Hong Kong will reopen video game arcades as the city begins to ease its pandemic precautions and attempts to kick its economy into a higher gear. The new guidelines, announced yesterday, will allow bars, gyms, beauty salons, cinemas and "amusement game centres" to resume business on Friday with some restrictions. In arcades, operators will either need barriers between machines, or to leave every second console inoperable. The number of people allowed to gather in groups will be raised from four to eight and schools will resume in three phases starting 27 May. The reopening has been ordered because: "In light of the more stabilised situation in Hong Kong in terms of the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the recent weeks... a window of opportunity exists for us to lift some of the social distancing measures at the moment," a spokesperson for the Food and Health Bureau said.
Less is more: Chinese consumers look for meaning after lockdown
After almost two months of lockdown and being out of work, Chinese consumers are not shopping as much as they used to.
Exit Strategies
Pubs, transport and shops – how the UK’s lockdown measures could be eased
According to some reports, unlimited outdoor exercise will be allowed from Monday, however gyms and playgrounds are expected to remain closed. Public Health England has signalled the “stay home” message could be abandoned and reports suggest people using benches, having picnics or sunbathing will no longer be asked to move on, provided they keep two metres apart. Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested on Wednesday that outdoor “pavement cafes” could be put in place over the summer.
How will lockdown be eased? Boris Johnson expected to relax some UK coronavirus rules - but it's not yet clear which ones
It is widely reported that the Government is going to scrap its key "stay at home" message from next week, and replace it with a new slogan. The main focus for easing the restrictions is likely to be about restarting the economy and allowing some people to return to work without risking their health. According to the Daily Mirror, employees at workplaces that stayed open during the lockdown will be encouraged to return. Some outlets have reported that the Government will advise Britons to wear face masks on public transport and in shops and offices where it is harder to stick to social distancing rules. Despite some reports about shops opening as long as social distancing can take place, The Daily Telegraph says non-essential retailers, including garden centres, will have to hold on a little longer before fully reopening.
Five-part plan to get UK out of lockdown over six months
Britain’s plan for returning to normal will be implemented in five stages over the next six months, it is understood. Boris Johnson is set to lay out his ‘roadmap’ for exiting lockdown on Sunday, with some changes hoped to take effect the next day. While that is sooner than expected, a 50-page blueprint being drafted by officials indicates some restrictions won’t be lifted until at least October, according to The Daily Mirror. The five-stage plan reportedly proposes reopening some garden centres and open-air markets as early as Monday, but keeping bigger indoor venues like pubs, bars and restaurants closed until August.
Don't expect a snapback for the UK economy after lockdown is lifted
One of the lessons of the last recession was that austerity measures were imposed too quickly and recovery was choked off, and the stakes are much higher this time. Whether or not there is a second wave of infections there is certainly the risk of a second wave of acute economic distress starting in the autumn. The psychological impact of Covid-19 on consumer behaviour meant it was never realistic for the UK to have a V-shaped recession. The aim now is to avoid a great depression.
Coronavirus: NI Executive discusses plan for easing lockdown
Executive ministers met for more than three hours on Thursday, ahead of a call between the PM and leaders of the devolved institutions. They agreed to recommend that people in Northern Ireland should now wear face coverings when they were in enclosed spaces for short periods of time, where social distancing is not possible. The decision was taken in line with scientific advice, Mrs Foster told the Executive's daily press conference. Health Minister Robin Swann later said that while evidence on the overall protection provided by face coverings "is not conclusive, on balance it is sufficient to recommend that members of the public consider using them in particular circumstances". "In practice, these circumstances will largely relate to public transport and retail environments," he added. "Their use will not be mandatory. Crucially, face coverings must not lead to any false sense of security about the level of protection provided."
UK due to extend lockdown ahead of deconfinement measures
Johnson suggested on Wednesday that some restrictions could be relaxed as of 11 May, while repeating that he wanted to avoid a second wave of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic at all costs. “The reality is we’re still at a high point of the virus. We believe we are past the peak, but we have to make sure we do not create a situation we can have a strong second peak very quickly,” echoed Brandon Lewis, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, on BBC Radio 4. “We’re going to make sure we go forward in a way that actually puts people’s health first,” he added. British media reported that citizens will soon be able to exercise unlimitedly outdoors, have picnics or even sunbathe in parks, as long as they keep a safe distance of two metres between people. People are currently only allowed to go out for groceries, medical treatment or exercise.
Britain heading for a limited easing of lockdown next week
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce a very limited easing of Britain’s coronavirus lockdown next week, adopting a cautious approach to try to ensure there is no second peak of infections that could further hurt the economy. “If people don’t follow the rules or if we see that the R-level (the reproductive rate of the virus) goes back up, we will tighten the restrictions again.” The government has been criticised for moving too slowly to tackle the outbreak which has led to more than 30,000 deaths in Britain - the worst official death toll in Europe. But with an increasing number of anecdotal reports that more people are flouting the lockdown in anticipation of Sunday’s announcement and a public holiday on Friday, ministers are under pressure to make any new rules as clear as possible after being criticised for mixed messaging.
When will the UK lockdown rules be reviewed, and what happens in phase two?
The Prime Minister has said we are now past the peak of the pandemic, and hinted that lockdown measures could be lifted soon. He will address the nation on Sunday 10 May at 7pm to outline the Government's plan to lift the lockdown. He said the "dates and times" of each measure being lifted would come when the Government had more data, but the UK is heading towards "phase two" of its coronavirus response, which will involve partially lifting lockdown. Here, we analyse when the lockdown could end and what the "new normal" might look like....
Coronavirus in Germany: Summer holidays on the horizon as Angela Merkel agrees to ease lockdown restrictions
Germans are already planning their summer holidays abroad with the lifting of lockdown restrictions across the nation. Thomas Bareiss, the federal tourism commissioner, told German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel that, if the coronavirus outbreak remained under control in the country, then people may be able to holiday abroad soon.
Spain virus death toll declines as lockdown easing moves ahead
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez argues that his administration needs enhanced powers to coordinate the health service, which is normally under the remit of the 17 regional governments, and to implement economic policies designed to mitigate the impact of the lockdown. Even though Sanchez won the vote, it could be a prelude to another political crisis. The main opposition party, the conservative PP, abstained and threatened to vote against Sanchez if he seeks another extension. The PP had backed Sanchez's previous requests for a longer state of emergency and a negative vote could compromise the political legitimacy of the measure. The government is pursuing a cautious easing of confinement rules to avoid a resurgence in infections. 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.
Coronavirus: Germany moves to carefully lift lockdown as infection rates fall
Pressure to relax the rules had been growing as the lockdown achieved the country's goal in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Angela Merkel has laid out a plan for Germany exiting the lockdown as the rate of daily coronavirus infections in the country continues to drop. The German chancellor announced a loosening of the measures after meeting with the country's 16 state governors. She said restaurants and other businesses will be allowed to reopen in the coming weeks.
When could hairdressers re-open in the UK after lockdown?
With several more European countries, including Germany, Spain and Portugal, now easing their social distancing measures enough to allow hairdressers to re-open, how are stylists operating amid a new way of work and what can we expect from salons when they finally open their doors again in the UK? Here's what we know about salons that have reopened in other countries while social distancing.
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 will depend on factors such as how the rate of infection evolves, the number of intensive care beds available locally and compliance with distancing rules
French PM to unveil final strategy to exit Covid-19 lockdown
On Thursday, people in France will find out what awaits them on Monday 11 May if the 2-month lockdown is lifted. Edouard Philippe, who has promised there will be no easy return to normal, is due to present the first phase of the government's exit plan at 16:00 local time. Many questions hang in the balance, including whether the exit will go ahead as planned on Monday. Philippe had said previously that if the indicators were bad the lockdown would be extended. The indicators guiding his choice include the evolution of the pandemic, the ability of hospitals to deliver critical care and testing capacity.
Prime Minister's five-step plan to ease lockdown - and it could start as early as Monday
Millions of Britons could take the first steps out of lockdown as early as Monday under the Government's plan to return the nation to some kind of normality. The proposals will be set out in a "roadmap" by the Prime Minister on Sunday - and the first could be enacted within hours of his address. The Mirror reports that unlimited exercise will be allowed from Monday, May 11 and staff encouraged to return to work at businesses which have stayed open during the lockdown. But the full plan is likely to take several months to work through and steps could be delayed or changed by a second spike of coronavirus later in the year.
Live: France unveils final plan on easing Covid-19 lockdown
“Next Monday will mark the start of a very gradual process stretching over several weeks at least, which will allow the country to emerge slowly but steadily from the lockdown," Philippe told a news conference, hours after the government put the final touches to its highly-anticipated roadmap. Philippe said the government was looking to “strike the right balance between the indispensable resumption of economic (...) life and the indispensable need” to ensure the safety of the public. He said the exit from lockdown would be “differentiated”, with restrictions to be lifted gradually and varying between regions. "The country is cut in two, with the virus circulating more quickly in some regions," he explained.
France Set to Ease Lockdown to Relieve Coronavirus 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.
French PM to present end of lockdown roadmap today
In that previous speech he urged people to be disciplined in the run-up to May 11, so as to ensure there was not a resurgence of Covid-19 and that deconfinement could begin on schedule. If all went as hoped, he said a first deconfinement stage could then begin, lasting until June 2, when it was expected that there would be further changes. Rules for the first stage will to some extent vary depending on whether people live in a geographical department that has been labelled green (good), orange (intermediate) or red (bad), for the number of new cases, the capacity of hospitals to cope, and whether or not the area is well equipped for testing and contact tracing (alerting people who may be at risk due to having had close contact with an infected person).
Lockdown Level 3: These are the 12 biggest changes that will take place
Level 3 will include more significant changes than the ones we saw in the transition to Level 4. Here's how the government see the next phase working.
Barcelona and Madrid may be left in lockdown as Spain lifts curbs
Spain's two hardest-hit cities may keep restrictions in place as the rest of the country emerges from lockdown. Sanchez's plan to lift lockdown restrictions has four stages, in which restrictions are progressively eased, with each region applying to enter the next phase if it meets certain conditions, such as hospital capacity requirements. The first phase would allow for groups of up to 10 people to meet in homes or outdoors, and street cafes to reopen. Religious celebrations can also be observed, as long as places of worship practise social distancing and limit themselves to 30 percent of their previous capacities. Catalonia's regional government on Wednesday said Barcelona and Girona would not be included in the first phase, which starts on Monday, saying there was a moderate to high risk of a new wave of infections. But Madrid - the city which is at the centre of Spain's outbreak, and which is still registering high numbers of new cases - has applied to the national health ministry to begin opening its doors on Monday.
Pakistan to Ease Coronavirus Lockdown Saturday
Pakistan has announced it will gradually ease a nationwide coronavirus-related “partial" lockdown starting Saturday, saying the number of COVID-19 infections remain relatively low and under control. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Pakistan Cabinet approves easing lockdown after May 9
The Pakistan cabinet has approved easing the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the country gradually after May 9th, provided that strict implementation of the coronavirus-related preventative measures suggested by the government ensured. Prime Minister Imran Khan, however, warned that threat from the viral disease was not over and could strike again if the government's stadard operating procedures were not followed
Study to explore the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on children
The country’s largest longitudinal study is about to launch a new research project to discover how the Covid-19 lockdown has affected children in Aotearoa New Zealand. Growing Up in New Zealand is following the lives of more than 6,000 New Zealand children and their families from before birth until adulthood. The University of Auckland study plans to carry out a digital survey with cohort children later this week to gather information about their experiences of “lockdown” at Covid-19 Alert Levels 4 and 3. Study director, Professor Susan Morton, of the University’s School for Population Health in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, says hearing the voices of children is crucial to provide insights into how young people may have been impacted by the pandemic.
As India Loosens Its Strict Lockdown, Coronavirus Deaths Jump Sharply
Part of India’s success in blunting the spread of the coronavirus had been a fierce lockdown that was zealously obeyed. But in the last few days, the government has loosened up the rules, drawing people into the streets. And now the dangerous contagion appears to be spreading more aggressively.
The great Indian lockdown survey: The good, bad and the ugly
Economic Times Online conducted a readers' poll to gauge the mood of the public in a country that has been under a crippling lockdown for over 40 days. Now that the wheels have begun clacking again in factories and plants, we present here the insights gleaned from almost 13,000 of India's best-informed readers of business news.
Germany Paves Way for Broad Economic Restart With Virus Tamed
Merkel and state leaders have agreed on a framework to ease the lockdown in Germany. These moves are to be phased in regionally with an emergency stop built in should there be a repeat of a coronavirus spike in any one region
Germany eases lockdown, with 'emergency brake' on hand if needed
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced steps on Wednesday to ease the coronavirus lockdown in Germany but at the same time launched an "emergency brake" mechanism allowing for renewed restrictions in case infections pick up again. 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. Germany went into lockdown in March to contain coronavirus contagion. Its reproduction rate has been falling for several days, and Merkel said it was now consistently below 1 - meaning a person with the virus infects fewer than one other on average. "We are at a point where our goal of slowing the spread of the virus has been achieved and we have been able to protect our health system..., so it has been possible to discuss and agree on further easing measures," Merkel told reporters.
UK has drawn up three-stage plan for easing coronavirus lockdown: The Times
The United Kingdom has drawn up a three-stage plan to ease the coronavirus lockdown that was first imposed at the end of March, The Times newspaper said. The government must review the lockdown by May 7 but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made clear that he is worried about triggering a second deadly spike in cases. Johnson is expected to set out a plan for exiting the lockdown on Sunday. The first phase will involve small shops reopening alongside outdoor workplaces and the second will involve large shopping centres reopening, with more people encouraged to go into work, The Times said. Pubs, restaurants, hotels and leisure centres will be among the last to open, the newspaper said.
Welcoming Britain back: tourism businesses set out post-lockdown plans
However, behind the scenes tourism officials and hospitality bosses are busy working out how destinations will start to welcome back visitors this summer. Without knowing exactly what changes will be announced when Boris Johnson produces his roadmap on Sunday, tourist boards across the UK are setting out plans for a phased reopening of attractions and businesses as they endeavour to salvage some of the 2020 season. “We can’t afford to wait until lockdown’s over and find we’ve not got the plans in place,” said Gill Haigh, chief executive of Cumbria Tourism. “The question is how we reset.”
Life after lockdown: France unveils grand culture bailout as Germany re-opens museums 'with poles'
France announced grand plans to save Gallic culture on Wednesday, including a pledge of massive public commissions for creative projects and an extension of its uniquely generous unemployment system for arts and entertainment workers to avoid collapse under coronavirus. Theatres and museums could slowly start preparing to re-open from next week while respecting safety guidelines to avoid a resurgence of infections, said President Emmanuel Macron. The moves came as countries around Europe are grappling with how to support the arts and re-open cultural venues and are coming up with creative ways to respect social distancing, including using ribbons and poles.
Russia sees record spike in coronavirus cases with more than 10,000 in one day
Despite a rise in coronavirus cases of 10,000+ in a single day, Russia has indicated it could gradually lift confinement measures from next week.
Australia to ease COVID-19 curbs in three stages, targets July for full removal
Australia will ease social distancing restrictions implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus in a three-step process, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, with the aim of removing all curbs by July. Australia imposed strict social distancing restrictions in March, which, coupled with the closure of its borders, is credited with drastically slowing the number of new infections of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Morrison said Australia’s states and territories will decide when to begin implementing each stage.
Partisan Exits
UK newspapers accused of giving 'mixed messages' on lockdown
Downing Street was keen to pour cold water on reports that the lockdown could be lifted from Monday, after newspaper headlines such as Lockdown Freedom Beckons and Happy Monday. Senior government figures privately expressed concern about what one referred to as “over-egged” reports about both the “tone and the pace” of a potential easing. The same source also played down one report that people could be able to sit two metres away from friends outside as soon as Monday. “It will be much more cautious than what is being reported,” they said.
Keir Starmer: UK needs to leave lockdown together
The leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, has said that easing of lockdown restrictions needs to take place across the UK as a whole, as he urged "caution" to avoid another spike in cases of coronavirus.
Coronavirus: PM 'must show respect' to UK nations over lockdown
The SNP's Mr Ian Blackford said: "We are still facing an enormous death toll and everything we do should be based on the scientific and medical advice. "What we should be focusing on are the health considerations for the public and the absolute desire to drive down the impact of this virus. "If we allow an earlier removal of restrictions, all we are going to do is run the risk of that second spike and the impact on the health of individuals and the economy will actually be greater. "There has to be discipline and an appreciation from the population of what we are doing and why." Also appearing on the Good Morning Scotland programme, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was "worried" about Scotland potentially taking a different approach to restrictions to the rest of the UK. He said: "Across the United Kingdom, we went into lockdown together and I think it would be far better if any easing or relaxation was done together. "There are real problems if different regions and different nations do it at different times.
Strain emerges between UK government and Scotland over easing lockdown
Nicola Sturgeon’s spokesman confirmed the first minister plans to renew all Scotland’s lockdown regulations on Thursday without amending them. They were not aware of any scientific or expert advice which supported Johnson’s proposals, he said. “I think the first minister has said in recent days she’s been very clear that she’s not anticipating any imminent changes to the current measures that are recently in place.” The UK’s nations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have collaborated closely on policies and strategies during the pandemic, with Johnson announcing the lockdown plans on 20 and 23 March on behalf of all four governments.
Scotland appeals for "four nation" approach to lockdown as UK plans early exit
Scotland's Health Secretary has appealed for a "four nation" approach to easing the Coronavirus lockdown in the UK amid reports that Boris Johnson will lift some restrictions south of the border this weekend.
Coronavirus: Lockdown tensions between UK and Welsh ministers grow
The results of a review into Wales' coronavirus lockdown will be announced by the Welsh Government on Friday. First Minister Mark Drakeford is expected to outline how and when minor adjustments could be made. It comes after Downing Street conceded Wales and the other UK nations may move differently on easing the restrictions. The Welsh Government said more details will be announced in Friday's press conference. Mr Drakeford's approach is expected to be cautious, with a focus on ensuring the R rate of transmission is not allowed to rise.
Germany's Maas condemns anti-lockdown protesters' attack on journalists
For the second time in a week, journalists in Berlin were attacked by members of the public. Illegal anti-lockdown protesters turned on a camera team, in a move decried by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Leaving Lockdown, Entering Recession: Strike in Spain Shows Workers’ Fears
Labor unions in Europe have recently voiced concerns about the safety of employees who have been returning to work. But the strike at Nissan highlights what may be the next major concern of organized labor: protecting jobs in a post-pandemic economy. The coronavirus has brought about a recession that is expected to be the worst ever in the European Union, one that will most likely push companies to close down struggling factories.Automakers in particular are believed to have excess capacity, as demand for new cars has slipped in recent years. About a fifth of carmaking capacity worldwide is not being used.
Spanish PM secures support for lockdown plans
The fragile left-wing coalition government is set to rescue its lockdown plans from “chaos” in a parliamentary vote today after securing the support of a centre-right party. The Socialist-led government of Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister, was in danger of losing a vote for a two-week extension of the state of emergency after one of its allies, a Catalan separatist party, decided to vote against it. The Catalan Republican Left party withdrew its support, saying powers should now be returned to the regions. However, the government won the backing of Ciudadanos, a centre-right party, and maintained the support of a Basque regional party to stave off what the Socialists called “chaos”.
Anger grows in French coastal areas over continued Covid-19 beach ban
Local Mayors and MPs have struggled to explain the decision and numerous campaigns including #RendezNousLaMer have sprung up on social media to get the decision overturned. Gwendal Richard, a keen surfer, told French newspaper Ouest-France that the beach ban was “completely unjust”. “All those who love the sea” are welcome to join him on nearby beach in Erquy to express their anger “peacefully” on 11 May, he says. He’s calling on them to line up on the beach while respecting social distancing regulations and wearing facemasks and he plans to stream the event live on Facebook.
Continued Lockdown
Why lockdown rules aren't always the same around Italy
As Italy adjusts to phase two, the staggered reopening has been complicated by the highly decentralised government system which allows the country's 20 regions to layer on their own rules. Veneto and Calabria have thus been serving food and drink at bars and restaurants with outdoor seating since last week. The area around Genoa is thinking of reopening its beaches. Neighbouring Emilia-Romagna is keeping them closed - even to those who live by the sea. And fines for breaking the rules range from a maximum of 3,000 euros in most places to 5,000 in Lombardy. Such regional differences in the rules have been cause for confusion throughout the lockdown.
Breaking A Sweat: Gyms Across Spain Weary About Re-Opening Under New Lockdown Limitations
Since the beginning of the quarantine most social and leisure activities have moved online, for example watching concerts or meeting up with friends has now taken place on the internet. Similarly, working out has been done virtually although since May 2, residents in Spain have had the opportunity to take to the streets to exercise. When it comes to sports installations or gymnasiums, which according to sources are the preferred source of exercise for around 5.5 million people in Spain, they will be allowed to reopen their facilities after Phase 1 of the de-escalation plan begins. For now, Phase 1 will allow these sports establishments to recommence individual sports activities with advanced bookings, no physical contact and closed changing rooms. Further on, in Phase 3, the gyms will be limited to 30 per cent capacity and changing rooms will remain closed.
Spain approves fourth lockdown extension to May 25 as PM secures ‘last minute’ support from opposition parties
The country’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez finally managed to secure enough ‘last minute’ support from the opposition parties to extend the country’s lockdown for a fourth time, despite many threatening to withhold their vote this time round (as reported). The lockdown extension will allow the government to restrict citizen’s movements to contain the coronavirus.
Major Brazilian cities set lockdowns as virus spreads
São Luis became Brazil’s first major city to begin a coronavirus “lockdown” on Tuesday with another, Fortaleza, saying it would follow suit on Friday, as local health services struggle to cope with the pandemic. Tuesday’s lockdown measure covers São Luis and parts of three other municipalities with a total population of around 1.3 million people in the poor northeastern state of Maranhão. It forbids people from going outside except to obtain groceries, medications or cleaning supplies. Maranhão has not felt the brunt of the crisis, in contrast to the populous southeastern states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and the interior state of Amazonas, where hospitals are overwhelmed and authorities have resorted to burying victims in mass graves. But with 4,227 confirmed cases and 249 deaths, Brazil’s poorest state is still dealing with a significant caseload.
Brazil faces 'economic collapse' in 30 days due to lockdown: economy minister
Brazil could face "economic collapse" in a month's time due to stay-at-home measures to stem the coronavirus outbreak, with food shortages and "social disorder," Economy Minister Paulo Guedes warned Thursday. Brazil, Latin America's biggest economy, is also the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the region. But far-right President Jair Bolsonaro -- who appeared alongside Guedes, his free-market economics guru -- opposes stay-at-home measures to slow the virus, saying they are unnecessarily damaging the economy. "Within about 30 days, there may start to be shortages on (store) shelves and production may become disorganized, leading to a system of economic collapse, of social disorder," Guedes said. "This is a serious alert."
Brazil on Lockdown: New Rules for Most Heavily Affected Cities
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, northern and northeastern states have moved ahead and decreed lockdowns in municipalities with the imminent collapse of their health care systems.
South African Business Wants Virus Lockdown Ended Within Weeks
Business For South Africa says up to 4 million jobs at risk - companies may need to consider cutting dividend, Kingston says. They are calling for the lockdown to end within weeks not months to avoid serious economic dislocation
Anxious, stressed South Africans really battling under lockdown, says Sadag
Amid a protracted COVID-19 lockdown, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) has been receiving more calls from people feeling anxious, panicked and stressed. A recent Sadag survey suggests that 55% had feelings of anxiety and panic and 46% were under financial stress and pressure. Before the lockdown, the group averaged about 600 calls per day - now it's between 1,200 and 1,400 calls. Sadag's Cassey Chambers said that besides people contacting them because of anxiety, panic and depression, they were also getting calls about stress related to accessing food parcels, food security, shelters, safety, social grants and UIF. She said that calls were coming from employees and business managers.
COVID-19: Moscow Cases 'Likely Three Times Higher' Than Official Toll; Pakistan To Lift Virus Lockdown
The global death toll from the coronavirus has passed 260,000 with more than 3.7 million infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the new respiratory illness. Here's a roundup of COVID-19 developments in RFE/RL's broadcast regions.
Day 44 of coronavirus lockdown: Ground report from Indian cities
Here is a look at the latest updates on the outbreak of coronavirus across some of India's most important cities
People can’t help flouting lockdown laws – but why?
The last few weeks have seen endless reports of ‘covidiots’ flouting Government lockdown laws, which clearly state that we’re not allowed to meet up with friends or family from outside our household, and if we leave our homes for exercise or essentials we must keep two metres (6ft) away from others at all times. So far, police in England have issued more than 9,000 fines (CHK) under these new coronavirus laws – yet people are still flouting them. Although these rules are expected to be relaxed from next week, with a limit on exercise lifting and picnics and trips to rural areas to be allowed, police are concerned that this bank holiday weekend will spark another dangerous backlash against social distancing.
'We pray for this bad time to end': the steep cost of lockdown in South Africa
In country where half of population lives in poverty, coronavirus lockdown is causing mounting problems. “We had no chance to prepare, to get food, to get ready, to save some money. It is like I have been bound in chains … I understand it is [the same] for the whole world but we don’t know how or when we will solve [this disease],”
Spain’s Andalucia & Costa del Sol ask Government for changes to lockdown ‘outing’ timetable due to soaring temperatures
The Junta of Andalucia has approached the Central Government to request changes to the existing ‘outing’ timetable, announced last weekend, in order to protect families with young children from the soaring summer temperatures. Currently a parent can take out up to three children for an hour between the hours of 12pm and 7pm, but given the increasing heat the Junta is proposing a few changes to the existing lockdown ‘outing’ timetable.
Spain’s parliament votes to extend lockdown powers
Spain’s parliament has granted a government request to prolong the extraordinary legal order that underpins the country’s lockdown after fierce clashes in parliament and a last-minute deal with an opposition party.
Scientific Viewpoint
Easing French coronavirus lockdown will ‘spark second wave of cases’
France has been warned it faces an inevitable “second wave” of coronavirus as the country prepares to take its first significant steps out of lockdown. President Emmanuel Macron has already announced that schools and nurseries will progressively be reopened from Monday as part of a phased revival of activity. But Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus department at France’s Pasteur Institute, issued a word of caution. “There will be a second wave, but the problem is to which extent. Is it a small wave or a big wave? It’s too early to say,” he said.
COVID-19 surges in Russia, Brazil; WHO warns of huge death toll in Africa
With an ongoing surge of COVID-19 activity, Russia's total is now the world's fifth highest, as cases soared in parts of Brazil, another pandemic hot spot. And in another development, the World Health Organization (WHO) today warned that smoldering uncontained outbreaks in the first pandemic year in Africa could kill as many as 190,000 people.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Japan extends state of emergency amid fears over second wave
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has extended the country’s state emergency until the end of the month, amid warnings that relaxing physical distancing advice too soon could flood already crowded hospitals with coronavirus patients. Abe declared a month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures on 7 April, enabling local governors to request that people avoid unnecessary trips outside and that non-essential businesses close. The measures have since been expanded nationwide, but they are far less restrictive than those introduced in the US and parts of Europe, with no fines or other penalties for those who do not comply.
New Lockdown
`If this thing boomerangs': Second wave of infections feared
As Europe and the U.S. loosen their lockdowns against the coronavirus, health experts are expressing growing dread over what they say is an all-but-certain second wave of deaths and infections that could force governments to clamp back down. “We’re risking a backslide that will be intolerable,” said Dr. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity. Elsewhere around the world, German authorities began drawing up plans in case of a resurgence of the virus. Experts in Italy urged intensified efforts to identify new victims and trace their contacts. And France, which hasn’t yet eased its lockdown, has already worked up a “reconfinement plan” in the event of a new wave.

"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

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 12th May 2020

News Highlights

Millions of people across Europe continue to take the first slow, tentative steps to reopening their economies after months of lockdown. Several countries eased lockdown measures on Monday, including France, Spain and the Netherlands, where leaders have allowed the reopening of shops, schools and salons.

The UK government announced a series of adjustments to its lockdown Sunday night, including allowing unlimited outdoor exercise and encouraging more people to return to work. However, the statement from Boris Johnson was criticised as being vague and confusing, with contradictory instructions and opaqueness on what citizens can and cannot do. This is despite it being set out in a 50-page document called, 'Covid-19 Recovery Strategy,' published by the government, which detailed the tests which needed to be passed for the lockdown to be gradually wound down. Additionally, the government now recommends people wear face masks on public transport,and in stores, and they are allowed to link up to one other household in a 'social bubble.'

Meanwhile, cases around the world continue to rise. Zambia has recorded 100 cases within the past twenty-four hours, a development which comes immediately after the reopening of its economy. More worryingly, a month after lockdown was lifted in Wuhan city, where the global pandemic began late last year, a cluster of new infections has occured, pushing authorities into a fresh wave of mass-testing, sparking fears that a second wave of infection may be inevitable.

Lockdown Exit
COVID-19 Cases Increase After Lockdown Suspension In Zambia
Zambia has recorded 100 cases of the novel coronavirus within the past twenty-four hours a development which comes immediately after that country’s president, Edgar Lungu had reopened the economy.
Wear face coverings, UK says, as lockdown easing mired in confusion
Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a cautious plan on Monday to get Britain back to work, including advice on wearing home-made face coverings, though his attempt to lift the coronavirus lockdown prompted confusion and even satire. The United Kingdom has one of the world's highest official COVID-19 death tolls and, after criticism that he was slow to impose a lockdown, Johnson is wary of triggering a second wave of infection. "Our challenge now is to find a way forward that preserves our hard-won gains while easing the burden of lockdown," he told the House of Commons. "This is a supremely difficult balance."
Stay away from Lake District despite easing of lockdown, police say
Police in the Lake District have urged people to “take a long hard look at your own conscience” and stay away from the national park – despite the prime minister telling people they can drive to beauty spots for exercise in England from Wednesday. Parts of Cumbria have the highest coronavirus infection rates in the UK, prompting fears that the relaxation of lockdown will lead to a further spike.
Confusion in Italy as it enters 'Phase Two' lockdown
Italy finds itself divided at the beginning of the so-called "Phase Two" of its lockdown. Some like the 'new normal' based on the measures announced by prime minister's Giuseppe Conte's government, while others do not. Experts, lobbies, and citizens consider some of its aspects both arbitrary and unreasonable . From last Monday (4 May), for instance, it is now allowed to visit family members - provided they live in the same region. "The law allows me to visit my second cousin, whom I only meet at Christmas, but not my dearest friend, whom I have known since I was nine-years old", complains Francesca, a 27-years-old Sicilian shop assistant, to EUobserver.
'We cannot afford another lockdown': Italy's cautious return to work
Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and it is now one of the first beginning to ease its draconian lockdown measures to lessen the economic damage of the crisis. Last Monday the country began cautiously moving out of its tough lockdown with factories, building sites and offices reopening and citizens allowed to leave their houses for exercise. The government has planned a phased reopening with shops allowed to open from 18 May and restaurants and bars scheduled to re-open fully in June.
Outdoor terraces open as lockdown eases in much of Spain
Spaniards returned to outdoor terraces at cafes and bars on Monday as around half of the country moved to the next phase of a gradual exit from one of Europe's strictest lockdowns.
Gloved and masked, Belgians head back into shops after lockdown
Belgium allowed most of its shops to reopen on Monday with strict hygiene rules for customers, following in the footsteps of Spain in an easing of its eight-week lockdown as the number of COVID-19 cases fall.
Spanish regions poised to exit lockdown
Spain is finally ready to begin lifting its strict lockdown restrictions after being forced into quarantine for the last couple of months in the wake of the spread of COVID-19. Late last week, the Spanish government unveiled a detailed map revealing which parts of the country will be allowed to advance to the first stage of the government’s plans for lifting the restrictions.
Uncertainty looms as more businesses open in Spain under Phase 1
Spanish restaurants, cafés and stores were preparing to reopen or expand business on Monday as parts of the country moved into Phase 1 of the coronavirus deescalation plan. The move comes with a series of conditions to prevent a spike in transmission after Covid-19 deaths and infections declined from their peak in early April.
Coronavirus: Midnight opening for hair salon to mark France’s emergence from lockdown
So eager was Marc Mauny to reopen his hair salon after nearly two months of lockdown that he threw open its doors at the stroke of midnight on Monday and promptly received his first customer. As France battled to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, Mr Mauny's salon in Mayenne, about 167 miles west of Paris, had to close under a government order that allowed only food stores, tobacconists and pharmacies to keep trading. A scheme to gradually relax the restrictions means that starting from 11 May, other business can now reopen, providing they put in place safety precautions.
France School Reopening Offers Dystopian Window Into Post-Lockdown Lessons
Teachers and parents in France have voiced concerns about president Emmanuel Macron’s controversial decision to reopen schools on Monday. Under strict protocols imposed by the government, parents will need to take the temperature of their children before arriving at school, lesson times will be staggered to avoid student contact, and class sizes will be limited to allow for a metre (3.2ft) spacing between desks. Despite being one of the countries hardest hit by coronavirus, France is one of a handful of western European nations to restart lessons, with Italy and Spain both delaying the return of students until at least September, while the UK is yet to give a date on the resumption of classes.
Shops and salons return as France eases its coronavirus lockdown
France took its first steps out of lockdown today as shops, factories and hair salons reopened amid alarm over scenes of overcrowding on public transport. People were also being allowed to travel up to 60 miles from their homes and some schools and nurseries were permitted to reopen. The relaxation of one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns is due to be followed by further measures over the coming weeks to take the country closer to normality after recording 26,383 deaths and 177,094 cases.
'I'm a little frightened': Parisians edge their way out of lockdown
It nearly did not happen at all. According to local media, the government hesitated until the last minute before finally confirming last week it would lift the lockdown in the French capital and its surrounding area, the country’s most densely populated region and the hardest hit by Covid-19. Unlike most of the rest of France, classified green, and to a much greater extent than the three other regions coloured red for high-risk – broadly the country’s north-east quarter – the coronavirus is still circulating in and around Paris, where Covid-19 patients currently account for more than 10% of admissions to emergency care wards.
Outdoor terraces open as lockdown eases in much of Spain
Fearing a resurgence in cases if restrictions imposed in mid-March are lifted too quickly, the authorities decided that neither the capital Madrid nor Barcelona -- the two worst affected regions -- would be included on Monday in this first phase. A region can progress to the next phase depending on the evolution of the pandemic -- which has claimed nearly 27,000 lives in Spain -- as well as the capacity of its health care system to respond to a fresh wave of infections. One of the worst-hit countries, Spain plans a phased transition through to end-June to the end of its lockdown measures.
Live: Millions cautiously emerge from eight-week lockdown in France
France cautiously emerged from one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns on Monday, allowing non-essential shops, factories and other businesses to reopen for the first time in eight weeks. Schools in France will be re-opened in phases and people can now leave home without government paperwork, although documentation is still needed for rush-hour travel around Paris. Although some trains and stations in the wider Paris region have been worryingly crowded, France's first day post-lockdown is "going as it should", the country's transport secretary, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said. The government has called for caution to avoid a sudden spike in cases amid the lifting of restrictions.
Coronavirus live: France takes first tentative steps out of lockdown
Coronavirus infection rates will rise after lockdown rules relaxed, says French MP. Boris Johnson under fire for 'confused' lockdown strategy speech. Spain loosens restrictions further but prime minister warns of danger that virus could spread Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Norway, Switzerland and Ukraine also easing lockdowns to various degrees More than 130 detained after protests against coronavirus restrictions in Germany
Coronavirus: Relief and fury as France comes out of lockdown
France took its first tentative steps out of lockdown today amid widespread criticism of President Macron’s handling of the pandemic. Restrictions were eased to allow the opening of businesses, shops and primary schools, but many employees stayed at home amid concern that a return to work could provoke a new wave of infections. Fears that the end of the lockdown would lead to congestion on roads around Paris proved unfounded at rush hour, a clear sign that people had continued to work from home.
In the press - ‘Return to abnormal’: French newspapers mark the end of lockdown
As France ends this nearly two-month lockdown period, many papers are taking a moment to recognise the essential workers that made it possible for us to get through it. "Thank you for everything" is the front-page headline from 20 Minutes. Papers are saluting healthcare workers, but also cashiers, custodians, delivery drivers and volunteers. "If we’re starting up again it’s thanks to them," writes Le Parisien. The paper is being sold along with a single-use mask today for readers in the Paris area.
Germany: Infection R-rate still above 1, but restrictions still lifted
Germany's coronavirus reproduction rate has remained above 1 for the third day in a row. The news comes as lockdown measures are being relaxed across the country.
Can I visit my family and friends? Australia’s coronavirus lockdown rules and restrictions explained
Can you get takeaway coffee with a friend? What about visiting your family or parents, or going fishing? Laws to stop spread of Covid-19 seem to change daily and in some states carry a big fine. Untangle them with our guide
Australians less ideological about COVID lockdown than Americans
Voters in Australia are far less partisan in their support of lockdown measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 than their American counterparts. Research led by the United States Study Centre at the University of Sydney has found that Republican Party voters in the US are more likely to oppose lockdowns than their Democrat counterparts. In Australia, the measures have received far greater bipartisan support. Researchers attributed the united support in Australia to the bipartisan backing and trust in advice from medical experts.
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus in Scotland: Germany's variable exit from lockdown could suit us, hints Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon has signalled plans to lift lockdown restrictions at different speeds in the regions of Scotland. The first minister said that regional variation was not unusual in Europe, citing Germany, which has a relatively low death rate and one of the most decentralised healthcare systems in Europe. German experts say the federal system has allowed its states — called lander — to act decisively to control the outbreak. Boris Johnson was criticised for making a UK-wide broadcast advising citizens to return to work and relax in parks, without making it clear that this does not apply in Scotland where Covid-19 is spreading more widely. Ms Sturgeon said: “If you look across Europe, the different lander in Germany are doing things at different speeds.
Coronavirus: New Zealand to reopen shopping malls, cinemas and cafes from Thursday
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern thanks ‘team of five million’ ahead of relaxation of lockdown rules, but warns: ‘The battle is won, but the war is not over’ as New Zealand prepares for a partial opening up of the economy
People south of border could be mixing in social 'bubbles' as UK Govt reveals roadmap to easing lockdown curbs
People in England have been told to stay away from Scotland and respect the stricter health guidance in place north of the border. The guidance comes in the UK Government’s new 50-page roadmap, Our Plan to Rebuild, which lays out an easing of some restrictions in England and Wales, allowing people to engage in more leisure activities like golf and tennis, provided the social distancing rules are applied. The wearing of face masks on public transport and in restricted public settings like small shops is recommended as a complement to and not a substitute for social distancing.
Scots urged not to get distracted by lockdown messages from elsewhere in UK
Nicola Sturgeon has urged people to “try not to get distracted” by messages from other parts of the UK as she stressed the message in Scotland is to stay at home. The First Minister said Scots “shouldn’t be going out except for essential purposes”, with the only change the removal of the once-a-day limit on exercise, as she announced the death toll among people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland has risen by five to 1,862.
Plan to lift Britain out of lockdown revealed in 50-page 'roadmap'
A 50-page document setting out how the UK’s lockdown will gradually be wound down has been published by the Government. The ‘Covid-19 Recovery Strategy’ says people should wear face coverings on public transport and in some stores while people may be able to link up with one other household in a ‘bubble’. Non-essential retail could open no earlier than June 1 if businesses are proven to be safe enough for shoppers. Cultural and sporting events including the Premier League will be able to take place behind closed doors for broadcast from next month, avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact. Businesses like hairdressers, beauty salons, restaurants, pubs, cinemas and places of worship could open from July 4 if they meet ‘Covid secure’ requirements.
Coronavirus lockdown: what are the new rules announced by Boris Johnson?
The most significant immediate change is Johnson formally urging people who cannot work at home - for example in construction - to return to their jobs from Monday. Johnson said such people “should be actively encouraged to go to work”, while trying to avoid public transport and maintaining physical distancing. While the PM says every workplace should be “Covid-secure”, the plan for more people returning to work will bring fresh warnings from unions about the predicament of staff who feel they are not being kept safe.
Coronavirus: How lockdown rules now differ between Scotland and England
Boris Johnson's changes to lockdown in England and plans to restart the economy have opened up differences with Scotland. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says her key approach remains the "stay at home" message, but she has given an indication of what might happen in her "Looking beyond lockdown" document. The prime minister has also outlined what the future holds in his "Our plan to rebuild" strategy. So how do the approaches differ?
UK lockdown: Can I see my family and friends under new coronavirus rules?
There was no mention of people being allowed to see those outside of their own households - friends and family - despite people being allowed to go back to work. And, as weeks without any contact with relatives shift into months, concerns over mental health and loneliness are growing with many people desperate for the restrictions to ease. So, what do the new rules mean for seeing family and friends?
Public advised to wear face coverings under 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.
Merkel: We must stick to basic rules even as coronavirus lockdown eases
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday stressed that people needed to continue keeping their distance from one another and covering their mouths and noses even as Germany eases some of the restrictions it had imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. “It’s very important to me to again draw attention to the fact that we’re entering a new phase of the pandemic and that it will now be necessary, with all the easing of measures, to be sure that people stick to the basic rules i.e. keeping their distance, wearing mouth and nose protection and showing consideration for each other,” Merkel told reporters
When will hairdressers open? Date salons could reopen in UK as government issues new lockdown guidelines
The leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not replacing the “stay home” message with Johnson’s new “stay alert” slogan. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has instead ordered those in Scotland to follow different advice on outdoors exercise. Although this will now be unlimited, Sturgeon said there must be “no sunbathing, picnics or barbecues”, which is in contrast to Johnson’s new advice.
Sport after lockdown: what does the future of sport look like?
On Sunday evening, the Government announced a slight easing of the lockdown, permitting an increase in daily exercise. Some recreational sports can resume, so long as it is with members of your own household or one person from outside your household. That rules out team sports. Taking new guidelines and the most recent updates into account, we look at what the future may have in hold for sport and how it may have to be adapted to a variety of challenges, in the next few months.
No quarantine for people travelling between UK and France
Officials yesterday confirmed anyone flying into the UK will have to go into isolation for 14 days to help minimise the spread of coronavirus. But Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron issued a statement after speaking on the phone on Sunday setting out a mutual exemption between their two countries. While the announcement raises the prospect of holidays in France this summer becoming viable, they said the agreement could be revised in the coming weeks.
France's emergency law is delayed despite relaxing of coronavirus lockdown
In the absence of clarity, the government instead appealed to French people “to be responsible” to prevent them exploiting the gap in legislation and gallivanting hundreds of kilometres across the country. However, the confusion created queues in some meto stations in the Paris region, where commuters are obliged to show a work certificate for travel between 06:30 to 09:30 and 16:00 to 19:00 local time. Those rules will now be enforced from Wednesday and anyone failing to show a valid work certificate will be fined, according to Valérie Pécresse, the Ile de France regional president.
Europe eases lockdown: Which countries are lifting coronavirus restrictions today?
Millions of people across Europe woke up to a relaxation of lockdown measures on Monday, with several countries taking their first steps this week towards a return to normality. The UK government announced a series of adjustments to its lockdown on Sunday night, including allowing unlimited outdoor exercise and encouraging more people to return to work, in a statement from Boris Johnson which was criticised as vague and confusing. Meanwhile in countries such as France, Spain and the Netherlands, leaders have gone further and allowed the reopening of shops and schools.
French Health Minister warns lockdown easing could be reversed
France could reverse the relaxation of its nationwide lockdown if there was a resurgence of the new coronavirus outbreak, Health Minister Olivier Veran warned on Monday. “If the virus were to resume its wild race, we would again take lockdown measures,” Veran told BFM television. France, with the world’s fifth-highest death toll, has enforced an eight-week lockdown since March 17 to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. It is gradually lifting those restrictions from Monday. Commenting on the recent discovery of new clusters of infection in the country, Veran said: “I am not surprised. It shows we are going to have to live with the virus. The more vigilant we are collectively, the fewer clusters we will have.
Global report: Covid-19 lockdown rules relax in European nations amid confusion in UK
In France, from Monday members of the public were able to walk outside without filling in a permit for the first time in nearly eight weeks, teachers will start to return to primary schools, and some shops – including hair salons – will reopen. Bars, restaurants, theatres and cinemas will, however, remain closed. In Spain, urban hotspots such as Madrid and Barcelona remain under lockdown – but elsewhere people made plans to meet friends and family in bars and restaurants that have outdoor spaces.
New Zealand to end coronavirus lockdown
New Zealand will phase out its coronavirus lockdown over the next 10 days after successfully containing the virus, although some restrictions will remain, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday. Ardern said that from Thursday shopping malls, restaurants, cinemas and playgrounds will reopen -- with the country moving to Level Two on its four-tier system. The 39-year-old leader warned "none of us can assume COVID is not with us" but said New Zealand currently had only 90 active cases after a seven-week lockdown.
France, Spain ease virus lockdowns but UK wary
In France, people from Monday morning were able to walk outside without filling in a permit for the first time in nearly eight weeks, teachers will start to return to primary schools, and some shops—including hair salons—will reopen. Bars, restaurants, theatres and cinemas will, however, remain closed. Spaniards outside of urban hotspots such as Madrid and Barcelona—which remain under lockdown—made plans to meet friends and family in bars and restaurants that have outdoor spaces.
British Medical Association - Government’s ‘road map out of lockdown’ is too fast, too confusing and too risky, says BMA
“The Westminster Government’s plan to ease certain aspects of lockdown in England is too fast, too confusing and too risky. “As the Prime Minister said in his address to the nation tonight, the death toll in this country has indeed been tragic, and it would be irresponsible to allow any chance of a second spike of this virus, however, these measures risk doing just that. “There is no detail of how those being asked to return to work will be protected from the infection or prevented from infecting others and there are mixed messages about returning workers not using public transport when many will not own cars. These pose serious risks of further spread of the infection.
New Zealand deserves level 2, with all of its confusing weirdness
At 11.59pm on Wednesday our long national nightmare comes to an end. Sort of. After 49 days in some form of lockdown things will suddenly get a lot more normal. You can go shopping, go to the movies, go out for dinner, go out for a haircut, go out to play sport, fly around the country, and best of all - go out to see friends and family. But some large restrictions remain, some of them jarringly out of step with each other. Those gatherings will be limited to 10 people, down from an initial limit of 100 - meaning anyone who has put off their wedding until now will probably not be happy. Schools won't fully open until Monday, and bars will remain closed for another week.
Four 'Avatar' sequels start filming at the same time as New Zealand lifts lockdown restrictions
The coronavirus locdown is over in New Zealand, with government approving new health and safety measures. With the resumption of business activities in the country, The "Avatar" sequels are also likely to resume production. The government has allowed TV and movie productions and other activities after successfully handling the situation created by the coronavirus pandemic.
White House requires masks for staff, Western states ask for $1 trillion in aid
As more foreign and state governments outline the early stages of reopening, World Health Organization officials say countries that have already lifted lockdowns saw a jump in Covid-19 cases. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said some of the state’s restrictions will lift on Friday, and LA County beaches were set to reopen Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration continues to fast-track coronavirus-related treatments and tests: A faster, cheaper Abbott Labs test was granted emergency use approval.
Partisan Exits
Dominic Raab adds to confusion over changes to UK lockdown rules
The confusion over Boris Johnson’s request for people to return to work if they can has continued, as the foreign secretary said changes would be introduced on Wednesday, not Monday as initially stated. The prime minister made a televised address to the nation on Sunday evening setting out his roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown. He said that those who could not work from home were being “actively encouraged” to return to work, prompting a backlash from unions who said there was insufficient guidance in place to keep people safe. “How can the prime minister – with 12 hours’ notice – tell people they should be going back to sites and factories? It’s a recipe for chaos,” said the TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady.
Anti-lockdown protests threaten Germany's coronavirus battle: politicians
Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to Germans on Monday to stick to social-distancing rules to slow down the coronavirus pandemic after data suggested the disease was spreading faster again.
The UK’s new lockdown rules are another coronavirus comms mess
The government’s coronavirus communication strategy has been a mess of dodgy briefings, reversals and corrections galore. Yesterday’s performance was the worst yet
What Kent made of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's lockdown easing announcement including new rules on working and suggestion on schools reopening
It would be fair to say Boris Johnson's lockdown announcement on Sunday left a lot of people scratching their heads. Delivered 49 days since he implemented the measures for many it raised more questions than it answered - questions KentOnline has helped with here.
Continued Lockdown
Spike in China and South Korea figures while Germany feels lockdown tensions
China and South Korea reported new spikes in coronavirus cases, setting off fresh concerns in countries where outbreaks had been in dramatic decline, and new protests against pandemic restrictions erupted in Germany despite the easing of many lockdowns in Europe. In the United States, former President Barack Obama harshly criticised his successor Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as an “absolute chaotic disaster”. The United States has seen 1.3 million infections and nearly 80,000 deaths in the pandemic, the most in the world by far, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, health officials are anxiously watching to see just how much infection rates rise in a second wave as nations and states emerge from varying degrees of lockdown. China reported 14 new cases on Sunday, its first double-digit rise in 10 days.
Germany: Politicians worry about radicalization at anti-lockdown protests
After a weekend of demonstrations across Germany, lawmakers worry that they are being used to spread far-right and anti-vaccine ideologies. Attacks on journalists and police have also been on the rise.
The UK reacts to new coronavirus lockdown rules: 'I live in Wales, I can't visit my family in England but if I lived in France I could'
Little Britain star Matt Lucas summed up the mood of the nation with an impersonation of Boris Johnson following his controversial speech to the nation last night about the lifting of some coronavirus lockdown rules. In a video posted on Twitter he said: "So we are saying don't go to work, go to work, don't take public transport, don't go to work. Stay indoors, if you can work from home go to work, don't go to work. Go outside, don't go outside. And then we will or won't something or other."
Coronavirus: French arrivals exempt from UK quarantine plans
Passengers arriving from France will be exempt from forthcoming UK coronavirus quarantine measures. Boris Johnson said on Sunday the rules would be imposed on people coming into the UK, to prevent Covid-19 being brought in from overseas. As yet, no start or end date for the measures has been announced. The government has already indicated that people arriving from the Republic of Ireland will not be made to go into quarantine. However, the measures will apply to UK holidaymakers returning from other destinations
Coronavirus: 'Do not drive from England to Wales to exercise'
People have been warned they are not allowed to drive from England into Wales for exercise as the two countries move to different lockdown rules. Rules have been relaxed in England, meaning people can "drive to other destinations". In Wales, people cannot travel "a significant distance" from home. Police forces in Wales have the power to fine people for making non-essential journeys and that includes those travelling from England into Wales.
Scientific Viewpoint
Mexican border town uses ‘sanitizing tunnels’ to disinfect US visitors from Covid-19
The Mexican border city of Nogales, Sonora, has set up ‘sanitizing tunnels’ to disinfect people leaving the US through Nogales, Arizona. On the Mexican side of two major border crossings, drivers coming from Arizona must exit their vehicles and step into an inflatable tunnel that sprays them with a cleansing solution. The border city’s mayor has told Mexican news outlets that a majority of the people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in Nogales, Sonora, had recently returned from the US
Doctors and police warn of new coronavirus wave as UK lockdown weakens
John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Police officers will continue to do their best, but their work must be based on crystal clear guidance, not loose rules that are left open to interpretation – because that will be grossly unfair on officers whose job is already challenging. If the message of what is expected of the public is not clear then it will make the job of policing this legislation almost impossible.”
Coronavirus Resurgence
Coronavirus: Wuhan in first virus cluster since end of lockdown
New coronavirus clusters have been reported in Wuhan city - where the virus first emerged - and the north-eastern province of Jilin in China. Wuhan reported five new cases on Monday, after confirming its first case since 3 April on Sunday. Authorities said the small cluster of cases were all from the same residential compound. China has been easing restrictions in recent weeks and cases had been declining. Health authorities and experts have warned that as countries emerge from strict lockdowns and people move around more freely, a rise in infections is likely.
Germany eases lockdown, but renewed virus spread leaves government concern
Germany is moving ahead to ease restrictions on its lockdown, though fears remain for a second wave. Correspondent Nick Spicer reports that while the country has recorded the smallest number of new Covid-19 infections in six days, its leading tracking agency reported over the weekend an increase in the virus reproduction rate to above 1.
France urges vigilance in easing lockdown after clusters detected in low-infection 'green' areas
France has called for “vigilance” after uncovering two coronavirus "clusters" in supposedly low-infection "green" areas a day before easing lockdown nationwide. The first cluster in was detected in Dordogne, southwestern France, after throngs attended a funeral, and another in the Vienne, western France, among school staff who had met to prepare re-opening a lower secondary school. After two months of draconian confinement, France is on Monday due to begin easing confinement restrictions, with 400,000 businesses re-opening along with most shops and nursery and primary schools. The maximum distance people can move from home will rise to 100km up from one.
Germany's infection rate rises above one after they ease lockdown
Fears that Germany might have begun to open up its economy too soon as reproduction rate rises quickly in just three days
Germany’s coronavirus infections rise again just days after lockdown eased
Coronavirus infections are on the rise in Germany again days after lockdown restrictions were eased, official data suggests. The virus’ spread cannot be accurately tracked in real-time, so available data is used to estimate the number of people each confirmed patient infects, known as the reproduction rate. A new report indicated the rate in Germany is now above 1, meaning the number of infections could be growing once more. The news will fuel fears that the pandemic could slip out of control again just days after Germany began lifting restrictions.

"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.

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 14th May 2020

News Highlights

Lockdown restrictions are being relaxed around the world in an effort to resuscitate dormant economies even as governments grapple with the risks involved in taking such a decision.

According to researchers at Insead, France may see more than 150,000 new coronavirus cases and 5,000 deaths this month as the virus circulates more rapidly in the absence of lockdown. Schools have been reopened in France, but social distancing measures are in place, both in classrooms and playgrounds. A photograph of seven nursery school children trying to play, while sitting apart from each other in chalk-drawn squares in the playground, sparked criticism from several French media commentators.

New Zealand reported no new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the second day in a row without any cases. The country's handling of the pandemic has earned plaudits around the world, in particular for its use of 'social bubbles' as a method of social distancing, a technique now being considered in the UK. For seven weeks during lockdown, five million people were forced into household or family 'bubbles' and company, while exercising or shopping, could only come from people who shared an individual's 'social bubble,' so it could not include outsiders. 

However, some countries are reimposing restrictions. Lebanon, on Tuesday, became the latest country to do so, after experiencing a surge in infections, almost two weeks after it had appeared to have contained the spread of the virus. Authorities have now ordered a four-day, near-complete lockdown to allow officials time to assess the rise in numbers.

Lockdown Exit
UK property website Rightmove sees signs of life as lockdown eases
British property website Rightmove said visits to its site rose 45% on Wednesday morning compared with a day earlier after the government moved to reopen the housing market which it had effectively closed as part of the coronavirus lockdown. Email enquiries to agents rose by 70% and new listings also increased with 2,115 new properties added in five hours, Rightmove said. Buyers and renters in England were given the go-ahead to move house again by the government on Wednesday when estate agents’ offices reopened and buyers and renters were allowed to able to view properties in person.
Coronavirus: Lockdown confusion at the borders
Lockdown rules are now different in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But where does that leave those who live on a border, or live in one country and work in another? In England's northernmost town, Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland, some residents told us they felt torn. Boris Johnson encouraged people in England who could not work from home to go back to work. Yet over the border in Scotland, the message has remained "stay at home".
Coronavirus: Some return to work as lockdown eases slightly in England
Some people in England who cannot work from home are returning to their workplaces today, as the government begins easing some lockdown measures. The government urged people to avoid public transport if possible. But some commuters said Tube trains and buses were still too busy to observe social distancing rules. Meanwhile, new guidance issued by the College of Policing said officers had "no powers to enforce two-metre distancing" in England.
Coastal towns tell visitors to stay away as lockdown eases in England
Britain’s coastal resorts have told visitors to stay away amid concerns that people may be drawn to the seaside as the weather improves and the lockdown is eased in England. The tourism body for Blackpool has rebranded as Do Not Visit Blackpool in an attempt to discourage visitors after new guidance came into force on Wednesday allowing people in England to “travel to open space, irrespective of distance”. Simon Blackburn, the leader of Blackpool council, said the UK government’s new message meant there was “nothing we can do” to stop visitors but he urged people to stay away.
Coronavirus: Union warns it will 'stop trains' after crowds on first day of eased lockdown
People who cannot work from home are now being urged to go back to work as the government eases lockdown rules in England.
Coronavirus: Moving home allowed as curbs lift on estate agents in England
The government has set out plans to restart England's housing market, which has been in deep freeze since the coronavirus lockdown. Estate agents can now open, viewings can be carried out and removal firms and conveyancers can restart operations. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the changes must be carried out under social distancing and safety rules. It is estimated there are 450,000 buyers and renters with plans on hold.
England tiptoes out of lockdown as economy dives
England tentatively began easing its coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday, with some people who cannot do their jobs at home urged to return to work, as stark economic data showed the disastrous impact of the pandemic.
Italians across country reflect on lockdown as restrictions ease
Italy began easing its coronavirus restrictions on May 4. Before that, the country had been carrying out one of the world's strictest lockdowns, and the country is still urging people to follow social distancing. Business Insider talked to a handful of people throughout Italy about how they had been navigating the lockdown and what they were doing with some of their new freedom.
Teachers in France paint squares to enforce social distancing for school children
Teachers in France are using paint and chalk to ensure social distancing measures are enforced as students return to school this week. France is gradually lifting stay at home measures following two months of coronavirus lockdown. Teachers have been told they must wear face masks and classes are capped at 10 students at preschools and 15 elsewhere. Images of school children playing in 'isolated squares' in Tourcoing, northern France were taken by Lionel Top, a TV journalist with the BFM news channel, on Tuesday. He said the children had been told to stay in their zones.
Coronavirus: ‘Heartbreaking’ photo shows nursery children in France forced to play in isolation chalk squares after lockdown
A photograph of nursery school children sitting apart from each another in squares drawn on the ground in chalk has caused sadness and outrage in France. The picture was taken by TV journalist Lionel Top on Tuesday in the northern town of Tourcoing, on the border with Belgium. It shows a group of seven children trying to play while being isolated by chalk squares. Around 1.5 million elementary and primary school pupils returned to classes this week after the French government relaxed restrictions after almost two months of coronavirus lockdown.
France Seen Facing 5,000 More Deaths in May as Lockdown Eases
France’s tentative exit from lockdown will probably allow coronavirus infections to rebound, leading to more than 150,000 new cases and 5,000 deaths this month, according to researchers at the business school Insead. As restrictions ease and the virus circulates more actively, the number of new Covid-19 cases will likely start rising again, Insead’s Phebo Wibbens and two colleagues said in a report. To bring new daily infection numbers to just 100, France would have needed to prolong its lockdown by three months, according to their statistical model.
Bus drivers fear for safety as lockdown eases
Bus drivers have expressed concerns over their safety as lockdown measures ease and passenger numbers rise. The Office for National Statistics said road transport drivers had "some of the highest rates of death" involving coronavirus of any working group. Forty two London transport staff, including 12 bus workers, have died after contracting Covid-19. People in England are being encouraged to return to work if they cannot work at home, but avoid public transport.
Russian factory workers return after Putin eases coronavirus lockdown as cases surpass Britain's tally
Factory and construction workers in Russia were set to return to work on Tuesday (May 12) after President Vladimir Putin ordered a gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown measures despite a sharp increase in new cases of the novel virus. Putin, in a surprise announcement on Monday, said it was time after six weeks to lift nationwide restrictions that had forced many people to work from home and businesses to temporarily close. He made the announcement on a day when Russia overtook Italy to become the country with the fourth-highest number of cases in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
South Korea sticks with virus lockdown rollback despite nightclub outbreak
South Korea health authorities said on Wednesday they had no immediate plans to reinstate strict social distancing rules despite a fresh coronavirus outbreak in the capital of Seoul.
New Zealand Sees No New Coronavirus Cases for Second Day Ahead of Lockdown Relaxations
New Zealand reported zero new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, the second day in a row without any new cases and the fourth day since early last week. Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said it was encouraging news as the country prepares to ease many of its lockdown restrictions from midnight. Most businesses, including malls, retail stores and sit-down restaurants, will be able to reopen. Social distancing rules will remain in place and gatherings will be limited to 10 people. "The sense of anticipation is both palpable and understandable," Bloomfield said
Coronavirus: Hollywood looks to New Zealand amid US Covid-19 crisis
Segments of Hollywood are looking to move to New Zealand's near-Covid-free shores as the country's film industry stands to win big in coming months. New Zealand Film Commission chief executive Annabelle Sheehan's optimism is matched by BusinessNZ, Equity NZ, and the Wellywood councillor in charge of economic development. Sheehan said 47 local productions with a spend of around $200 million were stalled or unable to start when lockdown hit. That was on top of seven or eight international projects in production or about to start, employing about 3300 people and spending just under $400m.
Lockdown life in New Zealand, the bubble that 'beat' coronavirus
Some might have been tempted to complain that such restrictions were draconian. But Ardern relayed the order with clarity and empathy. On that day she also introduced "the bubble", a concept to help New Zealanders visualise who they might have close contact with during lockdown - typically just their own household. The concept made social distancing into something tangible, like a two-metre shell protecting anyone who ventured outside. "Be strong, and be kind," the prime minister said that day, a five-word slogan that would come to symbolise the country's unity during the lockdown, as messages like "be kind" or "kia kaha" (te reo Māori for "be strong") were etched in chalk on pavements by children, while teddy bears were left in windows as part of a nationwide game of I-spy.
Investors Optimistic as New Zealand Begins to Exit Lockdown
New Zealand equity investors are among the most positive in the region as Kiwis begin to exit from one of the world’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns. The nation’s stock market is the second-best performer in the Asia-Pacific since global benchmarks plunged to their March lows, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A fading infection count and moves to unwind virus restrictions have helped unwind virus restrictions and helped the market recover about 27% from its trough, trailing only South Korea’s 33% improvement.
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.
Coronavirus Australia: Victorians wake to relaxed COVID-19 lockdown restrictions
Victorians can now invite five friends or family members over, attend mass or tee off at their favourite golf course, as the state officially relaxes its coronavirus restrictions. As of 11.59pm on Tuesday, Victorians can invite five friends or family members over to their home, but Premier Daniel Andrews has warned it is “not an invitation to host a dinner party every night of the week”. “It’s not about having a rotating roster of acquaintances and associates, or your third-best friend from primary school over for a visit,” he said earlier in the week.
France reports 348 new Covid-19 deaths as country emerges from lockdown
People wearing protective face masks walk at the financial district of La Défense near Paris as France begun a gradual end to a two-month nationwide lockdown intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus causing Covid-19
Exit Strategies
Exclusive: First coronavirus antibody test given approval by Public Health England
One hundred per cent accuracy of test developed by Swiss firm Roche confirmed by experts at PHE's Porton Down facility last week
Coronavirus lockdown: How Northern Ireland differs to other UK regions and Republic
Despite the UK Government’s preference for a “four nations approach” towards softening the lockdown, clear differences have emerged between the countries. The devolved governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have diverged from England, notably in keeping the “stay at home” slogan after Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his new “stay alert” message on Sunday. Here is a look at how the four UK nations – and the Republic of Ireland – differ in their approach to exiting the restrictive regime which was imposed across the board on March 23.
UK lockdown: Who is encouraged to return to work after Boris Johnson’s speech?
On Sunday 10 May, Boris Johnson announced the implementation of new measures to ease lockdown in England. Among the new guidelines, the prime minister unveiled a change to the advice being given to workers across the nation. When the lockdown was first introduced on Monday 23 March in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the government stated that if members of the public are able to work from home, then they should do so accordingly.
Coronavirus: How lockdown rules differ across the UK
After almost two months of being urged to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives, the terms of the UK lockdown have now changed. As Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeks to get parts of the British economy moving again, the restrictive measures we have become used to are now different depending on which of the home nations you live in.
The UK seems to be betting on the R number to help lift lockdown, but it may not be the easy way out
Easing the lockdown so that people in the UK can slowly return to their pre-pandemic lives depends on many factors, but there is one number that is mentioned time and again. The R number, or R rate, refers to the reproduction rate of coronavirus - basically how many people on average an infected individual will pass Covid-19 to.
When will gyms reopen in the UK? If fitness centres could be among the last to open when lockdown is eased
The Prime Minister revealed the government’s plans for the “roadmap” out of lockdown on Sunday 10 May. However, Scotland is not replacing the “stay home” message with Johnson’s new “stay alert” slogan. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has instead ordered those in Scotland to follow different advice on outdoors exercise.
Coronavirus: Italy allows bars, restaurants and hair salons to reopen from next week
Prime minister Giuseppe Conte lets regional leaders lift restrictions from 18 May. Italy’s bars, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons will be able to reopen 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. It follows pressure from local government leaders for an easing of the rules, as the number of new Covid-19 cases reaches its lowest level in more than two months.
Ski resorts in Europe set to reopen for summer as lockdown measures are eased
High-altitude ski resorts in France, Austria and Switzerland are to reopen their slopes for the summer as lockdown measures begin to ease around Europe.
Russia eases lockdown at the height of its coronavirus crisis
The "regime of non-working days," as the state of affairs in Russia has officially been called for the last six weeks, ended on Tuesday. The situation allows the gradual abolition of all restrictions, Putin said in his recent speech to the nation. This applies to all sectors of the economy, he said, adding that all businesses should be able to function again: heavy industry, construction, agriculture, transport and energy. People older than 65 and those in risk groups must, however, continue to stay at home, Putin said. Nationwide, people must wear face masks in public. Many citizens were surprised about the eased regulations because Russia, with more than 10,000 new cases per day, now ranks first in the worldwide statistics of new infections and second in the absolute number of infected people. Why then, many wondered, these relaxations? And why now and not a few weeks ago, when the official infection figures were much lower?
What Canada can learn from other countries about lifting lockdown measures too soon
As Canada moves to start easing lockdown measures, experts say there are key lessons we can learn from other countries to avoid risking a sudden spike in new COVID-19 cases. Countries like South Korea and Germany lifted some restrictions and have faced setbacks — but also did some things right. What they've shown is that easing measures could result in new outbreaks and a return to restrictions if not handled correctly. Experts say effective testing, tracing and isolating of cases need to be put in place before reopening. "Shutting your eyes and trying to drive through this blind is about as silly an equation as I've seen," Dr. Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization's top emergencies expert, said this week. "And I'm really concerned that certain countries are setting themselves up for some seriously blind driving over the next few months."
Coronavirus: Three mistakes Australia must avoid to prevent a deadly second wave
Australia should be looking to other countries for “cautionary tales” as it eases lockdown restrictions and the coronavirus curve flattens. Many countries overseas who have experienced soaring numbers of coronavirus cases, such as Germany and the UK, have started easing lockdown as Australia too announced rules would be relaxed. But with this comes the risk of a spike in coronavirus cases and the feared second wave of outbreaks. So what ‘mistakes’ have other countries made and what lessons can Australia learn to ensure cases can remain controlled.
Australia is 'winning' against coronavirus, finance minister says as country eases restrictions
As authorities globally look to ease restrictions intended to contain the coronavirus and reopen economies, Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says the country is on the path to victory against the coronavirus. Acknowledging that Australia remains “very focused on avoiding a second wave” of infections, Cormann said the health risk is “appropriately managed at the moment.” Australia has been among the countries in Asia Pacific that have announced plans to ease lockdown measures put in place earlier to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Life in a bubble: Britain embraces New Zealand’s method for halting coronavirus spread
The bubble method of social distancing being adopted in the UK was pioneered by New Zealand and is credited with helping the country to all but eliminate Covid-19 with only 21 deaths. For seven weeks, a lockdown forced five million people into household or family “bubbles” in which they had to stay. Company while exercising or shopping could only be drawn from an individual’s bubble, which could not include outsiders. Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, spoke often through social media to New Zealanders from her bubble in her official Wellington residence. It was limited to her partner, infant daughter and her parents. In late March, using Facebook Live, she apologised for wearing a casual green jumper, saying that she had just put her daughter
Russia moves to ease lockdown despite surge in virus cases
Russia moved to ease a nationwide coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday despite a surge in cases that has seen it register one of the world's highest number of infections. With pressure building to get the economy moving again, President Vladimir Putin on Monday announced an end to a national "non-working" period in place since late March. Containment measures remained in many parts of the vast country, including hard-hit Moscow which is on lockdown until the end of May, but others began to lift some restrictions. In Bashkortostan in the Urals officials reopened parks and river banks and in Magadan in the Far East residents were allowed to leave their homes to exercise. In Moscow some half-a-million construction and industrial workers were allowed back on the job, as wearing masks and gloves became mandatory in shops and on public transport.
Coronavirus in U.K.: Boris Johnson's Reopening Plans Leaves Britons Confused
Critics say the government has failed to answer some basic questions. Among them: 1) when to return to work and 2) how to get there.
Partisan Exits
China-linked hackers are targeting US coronavirus vaccine research, FBI warns
Hackers linked to the Chinese government are trying to steal coronavirus-related research on vaccines, treatments and testing, the FBI and a U.S. cybersecurity agency warned. The FBI, in a joint statement with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said it is investigating “the targeting and compromise of U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19-related research by [People’s Republic of China]-affiliated cyber actors and non-traditional collectors.” The hackers have been caught attempting to “identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property” and public health data related to coronavirus research, according to the statement.
PM: UK will ‘go forward together’ despite lockdown splits
Boris Johnson has insisted the UK will “go forward together” out of coronavirus lockdown after facing claims that devolved administrations had been “shut out” of the UK Government’s plans.
German adviser sacked for report on 'lockdown peril'
A German ministerial adviser has been sacked for circulating a report that described coronavirus as a “false alarm” and accused the government of causing “a large number of avoidable deaths” through its lockdown. The 92-page document was drawn up by a civil servant in the interior ministry and leaked to a right-wing website, apparently after he felt that his misgivings were being ignored by his superiors. “The (entirely unforced) collateral damage of the corona crisis has by now become gigantic,” it says. “The protection measures ordered by the state … have meanwhile lost any purpose but remain largely in force.
Italy's South Tyrol invokes autonomy to pry open lockdown
Spurred by economic pressure, the provincial governor defied Rome this week and reasserted South Tyrol’s cherished autonomy, allowing restaurants, hair salons, tattoo parlors and museums to reopen Monday -- well ahead of the timetable set by Italy’s government. ‘’We have a relatively positive situation regarding the epidemic, with a rate of contagion the lowest in Italy,’’ said Gov. Arno Kompatscher, whose South Tyrolean People’s Party has controlled the province since 1948. The party’s legislators in the national parliament back Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte’s government. ‘’We appreciated the actions of the government in the phase of emergency, where it was necessary to move in a united way,” Kompatscher said. “But we are very proud and jealous of our autonomy.’’
Tensions mount as Scotland goes its own way on virus lockdown
First independence. Then Brexit. Now Scotland's handling of the coronavirus outbreak has stirred up fresh tensions with the UK government, despite an initial unified approach. The leader of the Scottish government, Nicola Sturgeon, has put clear water between Edinburgh and London by refusing to implement the same easing of lockdown measures. At the weekend, she warned lives could be at risk if stay-at-home restrictions were lifted too soon, just before British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a plan for a gradual return to normality.
Confusion as UK publishes lockdown exit plan
The publication of a 50-page document followed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s televised address to the nation on Sunday evening, which was widely criticized for lacking precision. A broadcast round by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Monday morning ahead of the document’s release added to the confusion when he appeared to contradict the prime minister’s assertion that anyone who is able to work safely should return to their jobs on Wednesday, not Monday as Johnson had stated the night before.
Continued Lockdown
How the coronavirus crisis destroyed work-life balance in Spain
The lockdown has given the 4.5 million families in the country with small children an overload of responsibility. Experts are calling for urgent measures
Coronavirus UK: Contract tracing may mean 770k self-isolate a day
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) made the estimate. They say for every 20,000 new cases each day, 770,000 people would be traced. Currently 3,000 cases are diagnosed per day but it is heavily under-reported. The study measured the impact of app-based tracing against manual tracing . Both methods are due to be implemented by health chiefs in the coming weeks.
Coronavirus: Saskatchewan government detaining people who won’t self-isolate
The Saskatchewan government is detaining people who are allegedly not self-isolating and putting them in a place where prisoners who are awaiting bail or trial are usually held. According to the Ministry of Justice, the White Birch Remand Centre in Regina is being used as an “isolation centre” for those “unwilling or unable to follow the self-isolation orders established by the chief medical officer of Saskatchewan.”
South Sudan: Coronavirus cases confirmed inside UN civilian protection site
The UN Peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) told the UN Spokesperson’s Office on Wednesday that the appearance of cases within one of the camps in the capital was “not unexpected, given the rising number of cases confirmed within communities across the city.” “The UN continues to urge displaced people in the sites to follow prevention measures such as social distancing, handwashing, and isolating themselves if they become sick”, Stéphane Dujarric told reporters during the regular online briefing in New York.
Coronavirus: UAE announces 725 new cases, 511 recoveries
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Wednesday announced 725 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, as well as 511 new recoveries. The total number of cases in the country has reached 20,386 and the total number of recoveries has also reached 6,523. As many as 34,869 new tests have also been carried out, the ministry added. 3 people have succumbed to the illness, bringing the total number of deaths to 206 in the country. The UAE's daily testing average is equivalent to a four-month screening average in other countries, and the country has conducted over 1.5 million Covid-19 tests so far, the ministry had said earlier.
Madrid protests at continued lockdown as Spain starts to reopen
A top official in Madrid has called on Spain’s government to move faster to end the city’s lockdown, arguing that keeping residents at home as other areas start to ease restrictions serves little health purpose and will deepen the damage to the nation’s economy. Ignacio Aguado, deputy head of the Madrid regional government, said there would be severe consequences for unemployment and poverty if Madrid was left behind after half the country began phasing out the coronavirus lockdown this week.
Philippines extends lockdown in capital beyond 11 weeks
The Philippines on Tuesday announced an extension of a lockdown of its capital, Manila, to 11 weeks, stretching one of the world's strictest and longest community quarantines to June to try to contain coronavirus outbreaks.
Putin's coronavirus crisis deepens with fatal hospital fire and spokesman's diagnosis
A fire in a hospital treating coronavirus victims claimed the lives of five patients and forced the evacuation of 150 people in the Russian city of St. Petersburg on Tuesday, further testing the Russian government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic amid a growing crisis that has reached the Kremlin's inner circle. The St. Petersburg fire broke out on the sixth floor of an intensive care unit at the St. George Hospital, killing five coronavirus patients connected to ventilating equipment, the TASS news agency reported, citing medical personnel. According to initial findings, the fire may have been caused by a short circuit in a ventilator or its malfunction, state news agencies said. The Investigative Committee, Russia's top law enforcement body, said a criminal investigation had been opened into the matter.
Scientific Viewpoint
Coronavirus: Experts warn 100,000 people could die if UK lockdown lifted early
The UK death toll could surpass 100,000 if lockdown restrictions are eased too soon, leading academics have warned. As many as 73,000 excess deaths could happen in the next year as a direct or indirect result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report published in the Lancet. The UK’s COVID-19 death toll now exceeds 40,000, which is the worst in Europe, and the government has just eased restrictions. Dr Amitava Banerjee, from University College London (UCL), is the lead author on the new study.
Lockdown ease in Europe gains pace as Fauci warns of danger if US re-opens too soon
Austria announced its border with Germany would be unlocked following a two-month shutdown and Britons were allowed unlimited outdoor exercise, despite a global death toll closing in on 300,000. Curbs that have confined billions to their homes continued easing but the death toll spiked in some of the world's most populated countries, with Brazil, Russia and the US all reporting bad news. It came as US government expert Anthony Fauci issued a stark warning to Congress about the dangers of resuming normal life too soon, saying a run of 14 days with falling cases was a vital first step.
Italian hospital sees 30-FOLD increase in children admitted for rare inflammatory condition - with 80% of those testing positive for coronavirus - suggesting the diseases are linked
In Lombardy, Italy, over the last 5 years, 19 children were admitted to a hospital with an inflammatory syndrome with symptoms resembling Kawasaki Disease. Between February 18, 2020 and April 20, 2020, 10 children were admitted with the same symptoms such as a full body rash. 80% of the 10 tested positive for coronavirus bodies and 60% had more severe complications such as heart issues. Researchers say this is evidence the mysterious condition is linked to COVID-19 and that it should be classified as 'Kawasaki-like Disease.' On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed 15 US states are investigating a link between coronavirus and the syndrome
Coronavirus UK: Thousands of coronavirus test results 'disappear'
The results of tens of thousands of Covid-19 key worker testing kits have reportedly gone missing, it has emerged. Data from essential workers’ home testing and drive-through kits have been ‘disappearing into a black hole,’ according to NHS sources, reported the HSJ. Without the information, local authorities and organisations do not know exactly how many people in their area have tested positive for the virus. A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson has denied that tests have been lost and said there was a ‘technical error relating to postcode data, but this has now been fixed’.
Abbott's rapid coronavirus test misses nearly half of positive cases, study finds | TheHill
A rapid coronavirus diagnostic test manufactured by Abbott may miss nearly half of all positive infections, according to a pre-published study from New York University. The analysis of Abbott's ID NOW system, which has not been peer-reviewed, found the test to be "unacceptable" in a clinical setting. But Abbott said it's not clear if the researchers used the samples correctly. A spokesperson said the company's own rate of false negatives that it has shared with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is .02 percent.
In France, Covid-19 is said to have contaminated less than 5% of the population, far from collective immunity
Even in the most affected regions, less than 10% of the inhabitants have been infected, according to this updated study by French epidemiologists.
Moscow defends reporting of low coronavirus death statistics
Deaths of those infected with coronavirus were ascribed to other causes following post-mortem exams, said officials.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Spain's New Virus Cases, Deaths Edge Higher as Lockdown Eases
PM Pedro Sanchez is also facing growing pressure from industry groups, particularly in the tourism and restaurant sectors hammered by the fallout from the virus. The government issued a decree Tuesday mandating a 14-day confinement for people arriving from outside Spain, a potential blow to travel companies desperate for a return to normality.
Wuhan to use massive testing against COVID-19 resurgence; Russia cases soar
Two countries—China and Singapore—are taking massive testing steps to tamp down COVID-19 resurgences, as cases continued to soar in Russia, now the country with the third-highest number of cases. The global total today climbed to 4,239,872 cases, and 290,390 people have died from COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.
South Korea To Refrain From Reimposing Lockdown Despite Surge In COVID-19 Cases
Authorities in South Korea,May 13 said that there were no immediate plans on reinstating stringent social distancing rules despite fresh surge in COVID-19 cases
Coronavirus flare-ups in China and South Korea prompt new fears of a 2nd wave
China plans to test all 11 million people in epicenter city Wuhan after finding new cases, while South Korea races to contain a new cluster in Seoul.
China ‘to test all 11m Wuhan residents’ amid fears of coronavirus comeback
Authorities in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic first broke out are planning to test all 11 million residents in the next 10 days, local media have reported. No official announcement has been made,
South Korea And China See COVID-19 Resurgence After Easing Restrictions
South Korea is now grappling with some of its largest infection clusters yet after authorities began to loosen some social distancing restrictions this month. Scores of new cases have been reported in the past two weeks, many of which are linked to a young man who stopped in at several clubs and bars in Seoul the night of May 1. Officials do not know how he contracted the virus in the first place. It's a demoralizing development for officials there, who postponed their plans to reopen on-site classes in schools for the first time in more than two months. But South Korea is not the only apparent success story to report a regression recently.
Chinese city in partial lockdown, 'major risk' of virus spreading
A city in northeastern China has partially shut its borders and cut off transport links after the emergence of a local coronavirus cluster that has fuelled growing fears of a second wave of infections. Jilin, with a population of more than four million, suspended bus services Wednesday and said it will only allow residents to leave the city if they have tested negative for COVID-19 in the past 48 hours and complete an unspecified period of "strict self-isolation". All cinemas, indoor gyms, internet cafes and other enclosed entertainment venues must shut immediately, and pharmacies must report all sales of fever and antiviral medicines, the local government said in a statement.
New Lockdown
Some countries reimposing coronavirus lockdowns after renewed spikes
Lebanon on Tuesday became the latest country to reimpose restrictions after experiencing a surge of infections, almost exactly two weeks after it appeared to have contained the spread of the virus and began easing up. Authorities ordered a four-day, near-complete lockdown to allow officials time to assess the rise in numbers. The reemergence of coronavirus cases in many parts of Asia is also prompting a return to closures in places that had claimed success in battling the disease or appeared to have eradicated it altogether, including South Korea, regarded as one of the continent's top success stories.
China’s Jilin city goes into partial lockdown to contain coronavirus cluster
Jilin city in northeast China has closed schools, imposed restrictions on transport and banned gatherings as a cluster outbreak sparks fears of a new wave of Covid-19 infections. Train and long-distance bus services have been stopped, gatherings banned and indoor public venues closed after six new cases were confirmed on Tuesday. That brought the total to 21 community cases, with two asymptomatic patients, since the first infection in the cluster was reported a week ago. Anyone who wants to leave Jilin – the second biggest city in the province of the same name – must provide a negative report for a nucleic acid test done in the 48 hours before departure. Social gatherings have also been banned and indoor public venues – such as theatres, internet cafes, mahjong parlours and public bathhouses – have been closed until further notice, the statement said.

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 15th May 2020

News Highlights

Cases spike in Brazil and Mexico

Brazil and Mexico saw record daily increases in new coronavirus cases, even as their contrasting leaders, both of whom have swum frequently against the tide of prevailing scientific opinion, made intensive efforts to reopen their economies.

A tale of two vaccines

A potential coronavirus vaccine, being developed by scientists at Oxford University, has shown promising signs in a small study of six monkeys. Novartis CEO, Vas Narasimhan, though, said a vaccine for Covid-19 may only become available in the second half of next year.

Japan lifts emergency and New Zealand plans for future

Japan lifted the lockdown across most of the country, as coronavirus infections subsided, vindicating its strategy of voluntary social distancing, whilst New Zealand, eased restrictions and announced a huge $50bn plan to try and return jobs to pre-Covid-19 levels.

Africa's coronavirus challenge

The WHO predicts nearly a quarter of a billion people across the whole of Africa will be infected with the coronavirus over the next year, but the total number of serious cases and deaths could end up being lower, in percentage terms, to Europe and North America, due to factors like the continent's younger age profile and lower obesity levels.

Lockdown Exit
Coronavirus: Some return to work as lockdown eases slightly in England
The government urged people to avoid public transport if possible. But some commuters said Tube trains and buses were still too busy to observe social distancing rules. Meanwhile, new guidance issued by the College of Policing said officers had "no powers to enforce two-metre distancing" in England. Under the new rules in England, people can now spend more time outside and move house. Garden centres can reopen and sports that are physically distanced - such as golf - are now permitted. Two people from different households can meet in outdoor settings, such as parks, as long as they stay more than 2m apart.
Coronavirus lockdown: Am I allowed to move house?
The first property viewing will not be in person, but online. Virtual viewings have become more common recently and will continue, while open house viewings will not return for a while. When prospective buyers and tenants want to inspect a property in real life, government guidance states only one household should be shown around at a time. Internal doors should stay open, or door handles wiped down along with other surfaces after each visit. Washing facilities should be offered, towels washed, and visitors could bring their own hand sanitiser.
The big restart: how businesses in England are coming out of lockdown
With just 16 of its 90-strong workforce back at its factory in Atherstone in the West Midlands, boss John Nollett was cautious as he digested the deluge of government guidance about how to reopen safely during the pandemic. “Staff were fully briefed for 30 minutes at the start of their shift with a Q&A session to ensure they were all happy to proceed,” said Mr Nollett of the company’s new workplace safety rules. “We believe we’ve done the right thing, but we’re not medics, just engineers.”
Marks & Spencer reopening cafes across the UK as coronavirus lockdown rules begin to ease
Marks & Spencer is to reopen 49 of its cafés across the UK tomorrow. The high street retailer said it had taken the decision to reopen the sites to takeaway customers after operating social distancing and extra hygiene measures in its stores. The retailer said its cafés would be opening for takeaway hot drinks only and the sites selected were located next to M&S Foodhall stores which have remained open through the lockdown.
Italy’s German-speaking majority region eases lockdown ahead of rest of country
Italy’s German-speaking region has defied Rome by easing lockdown restrictions quicker than in the rest of the country. Residents of South Tyrol have once again heard words like Freiheit and Los Von Rom – German for Freedom and Away From Rome – in echoes of historic calls of resistance. In decades past, the words ignited on a mountainside demanded independence from Rome’s rule for the province’s German-language majority. Now, they vent discontent in South Tyrol, which was once part of Austria, with the uncompromising and indiscriminate lockdown imposed by the Italian government to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Dentists re-open in France after two-month lockdown
Anyone who suffered through France's two-month lockdown with a toothache or other oral affliction of a non-emergency nature has a hope of licking the pain. Dental practices around the country are cautiously reopening and accepting appointments after the French government eased restrictions on some businesses, services and public activity. Yet getting back to work in the age of coronavirus requires caution, especially for over 40,000 dentists in France who are among the health professionals at highest risk of becoming infected.
Emerging from lockdown, France’s cherished bookshops battle to avoid shutdown
France's bookstores were allowed to reopen on Monday for the first time since March 17 as the country began easing lockdown measures put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19. After almost two months of confinement, the French government is trying to balance the need to resuscitate a crashing economy with the risk that the spread of the deadly virus accelerates once more.
From France to China, nations worry about low rates of coronavirus infection
In a worrying sign that coronavirus may not be done sweeping through nations that are beginning to emerge from lockdown, recent studies in Spain, France and England indicate that only a small fraction of these countries' populations had been infected with the virus. In France, where 16,642 people have died from coronavirus so far, according to an NBC News tally, a study led by the Pasteur Institute found only 4.4 percent of the population — or 2.8 million people — had been infected by the virus. This rose to between 9 and 10 percent in hard-hit regions such as Paris, according to the study released Wednesday.
When will UK lockdown end? What restrictions have been eased as UK passes peak of infections
The UK has outined plans for its route out of lockdown after passing the peak of infeThe UK has outined plans for its route out of lockdown after passing the peak of infections, meaning the NHS is able to cope with the number of casesctions, meaning the NHS is able to cope with the number of cases
China comes out of lockdown
China was once the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, but now the country is coming out of lockdown. Gideon Rachman talks to FT correspondents Yuan Yang and James Kynge about how quickly China can find a new normal.
Lockdown restrictions eased worldwide as countries adapt to ‘new normal’
Flat dwellers in Rio de Janeiro were getting some much needed entertainment from children’s movies projected onto screens set up outside their buildings, similar to a drive-in theatre. Cesar Miranda Ribeiro, president of the city-owned RioFilme company, said the effort called “Cinema In The Windows” is aimed at “trying to take care of the mental health of the people”. Chinese looking for some stay-at-home retail therapy have tuned into livestream shopping. Others seeking spiritual support and human connections are worshipping remotely via online religious services from the Vatican to village churches, to mosques and temples.
French tennis players taking things slow in return to court as lockdown ends in France
"What’s different is that this isn’t even like an injury. Everyone’s had an injury, and been away from the circuit for five, six months. But this was a different feeling," he said. "We weren’t on holiday — far from it for all the people who were confined — and we weren’t injured. It was a really complex situation to deal with.” What also felt strange was the many new obligatory measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 — such at not sitting down on a chair, using different balls than your opponent, and sliding on gloves to wipe down the net cord with disinfectant after the session. "Hopefully we can quickly have some normal training conditions again," Mahut said. "But you have to respect the rules … We’re already lucky enough to be back playing.”
Beer today, gone tomorrow: Australian brewers tip 7.8m pints down the drain
One of Australia’s largest brewers is tipping 90,000 kegs of beer down the drain. Lion, which manufactures Tooheys, James Boag, XXXX and other well-known Australian beers, collected the untapped kegs from pubs and clubs in March, after the Australian government declared pubs and restaurants had to shut to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The beer has now passed its shelf life and will be tipped into the wastewater treatment plants at the Tooheys and XXXX breweries, which will produce biogas to offset the breweries’ natural gas use and be used to brew fresh beer.
How public transport usage is creeping back after coronavirus lockdown
It's the next big challenge for governments as coronavirus lockdowns ease. For those of us who are lucky enough to have a workplace to go back to, doing so safely is presenting major challenges. Millions of people would normally commute by public transport, but how can you stick to social distancing while cramming onto a packed train or bus? If buses were to enforce a four-square-metres per person rule, there would only be room for six passengers and the driver on board. It would require 10 times as many buses to cope with an ordinary peak hour.
Coronavirus: New Zealand eases lockdown restrictions and moves into level two
During the pandemic, New Zealand has created a numerical system which details the specific measures that are being taken to protect people and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is known as the "Alert System" and ranges from levels one to four, with four being the most restrictive. Level two allows for businesses to reopen safely, travel between regions and socialise with friends and family in groups of up to 10.
'We're back!' – Playgrounds, barbers and schools reopen in New Zealand as country eases lockdown
New Zealand eases lockdown, with barbers, playgrounds and some tourist attractions reopening.
New Zealand barbers opens at midnight as coronavirus lockdown restrictions eased
A New Zealand barber shop opened its doors as the clock passed midnight on Thursday to mark the moment most lockdown restrictions were eased across the country. Shopping centres, retail stores and restaurants were allowed to open their doors as of 12.01am, with many employees returning to their workplaces. Mass gatherings will still be limited to 10 people and social distancing guidelines remains in place under the country's Level Two restrictions.
New Zealand sheds lockdown restrictions, reopens shops, restaurants, malls
Malls, retail stores and restaurants are all reopening Thursday in the South Pacific nation of 5 million, and many people are returning to their workplaces. But most gatherings will be limited to 10 people and social distancing guidelines will remain in place. The reopening reflects the success New Zealand has experienced in its bold goal of eliminating the virus. The country reported no new cases of the virus on Tuesday and Wednesday. More than 1400 of the nearly 1500 people who contracted COVID-19 have recovered, while 21 have died.
'Stay out of my moist breath zone': Covid-19 anthem takes the drool out of school
Shirley Șerban of Lake Brunner school in the South Island penned the song Moist Breath Zone as a health and safety message for students returning to school after the Covid-19 lockdown. A three-and-a-half-minute music video posted on YouTube features two dogs, two hugging chimps, a yawning llama, a coughing kitten and a sleepy Staffordshire terrier among others. “We’re back at school, it’s really cool, to all be here together. We made it through and I missed you, the country’s getting better,” the song begins. “I’ll share my news, but my food’s for me alone. If I smell your breath, I will go sit on my own. Always wash your hands – make them soapy, full of foam.” “And stay out of my moist breath zone!” A moist breath zone is the area in which you can feel or smell someone else’s breath. The song has been welcomed by New Zealand’s Ministry of Education, which called Șerban’s effort “fantastic”.
Coronavirus: First flight, post Covid-19 lockdown, lands at Hamilton Airport
Hamilton Airport Chief Executive Mark Morgan stood at the arrival gate to welcome passengers from the Wellington flight. It was good to see domestic flights gradually return over the next six or seven weeks, he said. Return flights to Wellington started this week and flights to Christchurch start on May 18, with flights to Palmerston North a possibility later on. "Air New Zealand has said they may reschedule flights quickly, to respond to demand, but we should start to see three or four flights a day." Morgan said the airport had retained all staff and seeing flights resume would boost morale.
California hospitals brace for fresh coronavirus wave as Mexico comes hotspot
Over past few weeks, cases have increased in California counties near the border with Mexico, which is failing to tackle growing crisis
Tracking apps and thermal scanners: Life in post-lockdown South Korea
Thermal scanners at theme parks, shopping for makeup while wearing masks and constant tracking of people's whereabouts through apps and credit card data are markers of the new post-pandemic world in the country leading the way in its response to the virus. "Everyday distancing does not mean returning to life before COVID-19," Kim Kang Lip, vice minister of health and welfare, said Tuesday at a news briefing. "It means building new social norms and a culture based on exercising social distancing."
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus vaccine could be ready by this time next year, says EU drugs agency
A coronavirus vaccine could be ready for approval in a year’s time in an “optimistic” scenario, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said. The head of vaccines for the EMA – the body which approves medicines for the European Union – said he had doubts over claims one could be available by September. Dr Marco Cavaleri said: “For vaccines, since the development has to start from scratch ... we might look from an optimistic side in a year from now, so beginning of 2021.”
The United Kingdom's four countries take a divided approach to coronavirus crisis
The UK's coronavirus crisis has reignited one of the country's most bitter political debates: Can the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland survive as a union of four nations? On Sunday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the country from 10 Downing Street in a recorded message, announcing his plan for the UK to emerge from lockdown. He called on millions of people to return to work, and gave a rough outline of when schools and shops might reopen over the comings months. He also shifted his government's core message from the simple "Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives" to the more ambiguous "Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives."
Chinese newspaper brands UK's coronavirus response a 'mess' that needs 'miracle' to correct
A state-run Chinese newspaper has lashed out at Boris Johnson’s coronavirus response as a “mess” that needs “a miracle” to fix. Global Times, a tabloid managed by the Chinese Communist Party, also accused the UK Government of being “flippant” and “ill-prepared” and putting the economy before controlling the virus.
Gordon Brown: coronavirus must be 'eradicated in every continent'
Gordon Brown has warned that a second or third wave of coronavirus infection could emanate from poor countries with undeveloped health systems, saying the risks can be controlled only by coordinated international action. The global crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic will not end until it is “eradicated in every continent”, the former prime minister said. “It is in all our interests to prevent a second or third wave starting in the poorest, least protected countries with the most underdeveloped health systems. So a threat to others is a threat to us, and we help ourselves by helping others. Protecting ourselves locally means we need to act globally,” Brown wrote in the foreword to a report by the international development charity Christian Aid.
Are lockdowns being relaxed in my state? Here's how America is reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
At the height of stay-at-home restrictions in late March and early April, more than 310 million Americans were under various directives – some called shelter-in-place orders, others labeled stay-at-home orders. The mandates generally required people to avoid all nonessential outings and stay inside as much as possible. Here is how all 50 states – plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. – are making moves to roll back social distancing regulations. We will keep this file updated as measures are announced:
Coronavirus in Scotland: FM 'not ruling out' easing rural lockdown first
Scottish ministers are "not ruling out" easing lockdown in some areas ahead of others, Nicola Sturgeon has said. Some parts of Scotland are less badly affected by coronavirus, with few cases currently in hospitals in Orkney, Shetland or Dumfries and Galloway. The first minister said she had "never ruled out" taking a "regionally varied approach" across Scotland. But she stressed that the government was not proposing that approach "at this stage" . And she said if it was to happen, it would need to be done in a "practical and clearly understandable way".
When will hairdressers reopen? Date salons could open after UK Government reveals plan for easing lockdown rules
Hairdressers and barber shops remain temporarily closed, with many across the UK getting creative with cutting their own hair at home - with some very interesting results. When will hairdressers open? Date salons could reopen in UK as government issues new lockdown guidelines. But when are hairdressers due to open? Here’s what you need to know.
Will summer holidays go ahead in 2020? When tourism in the UK and abroad might start after lockdown
Health Secretary Matt Hancock recently indicated that the summer season for holidays abroad is very likely to be cancelled
Ending Coronavirus Lockdowns Without a How-To Guide
Only by gently easing the stringent measures that reduced the spread of the virus can we improve our understanding of what works and what doesn’t, they say. “There’s so much uncertainty,” said Mike Tildesley, an associate professor in life sciences at the University of Warwick in England, who models infectious diseases. “As we start to relax, we will get more information. But that’s a really hard sell to the public.”
South Africa Set to Move Toward Easing Lockdown Restrictions
During a televised address Wednesday evening, Ramaphosa announced officials will immediately begin work on a proposal so that by the end of May, most of the country be placed on Alert Level 3 and certain businesses will partially reopen. South Africa's approach to slowing the spread of the coronavirus is measured on a tier system, with 5 being the most restrictive. The country began Level 4 on May 1 by allowing residents to exercise outdoors and some businesses to reopen. Ramaphosa said parts of the country with high infection rates would remain under Alert Level 4, and travel to areas with lower rates of infection will be restricted. Ramaphosa also defended his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, saying some citizens have questioned whether the nation’s approach in dealing with the coronavirus has been at the expense of the livelihood of its people. He said his administration’s strategic approach has been based on saving lives and preserving livelihoods.
S. Africa to further ease COVID-19 lockdown
South Africa is preparing to further ease a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown later this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday. "We are now preparing for a further easing of the lockdown and a gradual opening of the economy," Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation. Consultations with relevant stakeholders have begun on a proposal to place most of the country on alert level three of a five-level system by the end of May, said the president. However, hotspot places with the most infections would likely remain into June on level 4. "It is important that we maintain stringent restrictions in these areas and restrict travel out of these areas to parts of the country with lower rates of infection," he said.
The way forward is graded opening up, not an indefinite lockdown
My understanding of public health tells me that, unlike private healthcare, public health strives for the greatest good to the largest numbers. Lockdown may have inconvenienced the largest numbers, but mass quarantine should be the last step in our armamentarium. A total lockdown is like a nuclear weapon unleashed on society — with short-term and long-term collateral damage across the board. In low-income countries, it could mean starvation for people. Why would someone sentence so many people to death if there is another path that is known? The virus exploits the weakness in health and healthcare. The result? Poor people walking on the highways with their bags and baggage. A sea of humanity walking on the roads. Mass migration. While every death diminishes us as a society, I am more worried about all those marginalised for whom existence is now no more than being on the edge of extinction.
Japan lifts state of emergency in most prefectures as Covid-19 cases fall
Japan has lifted a state of emergency across most of the country, marking a big step towards rebooting the world’s fourth-largest economy as coronavirus infections subside. The move also provides some vindication for Japan’s strategy of voluntary social distancing, which has brought about a reduction in infections without a compulsory lockdown. The decision, announced by prime minister Shinzo Abe in a press conference on Thursday evening, meant restrictions were immediately rescinded in 39 prefectures but maintained in Tokyo and other big cities.
Coronavirus lockdown | Japan lifts state of emergency in most regions
Japan’s prime minister has announced the end of the state of emergency for most regions of the country, but restrictions are being kept in place in Tokyo and seven other high-risk areas, including Osaka, Kyoto and Hokkaido. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday lifted the measure ahead of schedule in 39 of the country’s 47 prefectures, effective immediately.
New Zealand budget: $1bn for 'nature jobs' but dismay at lack of climate action
On Thursday the finance minister Grant Robertson unveiled more than NZ$50bn in recovery funding to get the economy back on track following a seven-week lockdown. Tens of thousands of people have lost work during the crisis, with further lay-offs expected. Some 11,000 new jobs will be created in environmental work in the regions, conservation minister Eugenie Sage said, with people employed in pest and weed control operations, biodiversity projects and Department of Conservation nature ambassador roles. “This investment in nature will not only support thousands of people with jobs but pay dividends for generations to come by giving nature a helping hand,” Sage said in a statement.
New Zealand budget: Robertson lays out $50bn plan to return jobs to pre-Covid-19 levels
The huge figure, announced alongside the annual Budget on Thursday, equates to about 17% of the nation’s GDP and 17 times more than what a New Zealand government usually allocates to new spending in its budgets. Underscoring the massive challenges facing the economy as it emerges from lockdown, Robertson said the fund was “the most significant financial commitment in modern history”. The spending, which includes an eight week extension to the government’s Covid-19 wage subsidy as well as spending on training and apprenticeships, public housing and infrastructure, will be funded by steep long-term borrowing, and could save 138,000 jobs according to Treasury models provided by the government. But a large tranche of the new funds were left unallocated as yet, with little detail on some of the government’s spending plans.
Oxford coronavirus vaccine found protective in small study on monkeys
A potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by scientists at Oxford University has showed promising signs in a small study of six monkeys. According to a report, some of the monkeys given a single shot of the vaccine developed antibodies against the virus within 14 days. All of them developed protective antibodies within 28 days, before being exposed to high doses of the virus, experts said.
Novartis CEO Says Covid-19 Vaccine May Take Until End of 2021
Novartis AG Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan said a vaccine for Covid-19 may only become available in the second half of next year, echoing the consensus view in much of the pharmaceutical industry. “The ultimate way to deal with this pandemic is likely to be a vaccine against Covid-19,” the CEO wrote in an opinion piece published in Switzerland’s Handelszeitung Thursday. “That will take more time -- my guess is about one and a half to two years.”
FDA warns on rapid coronavirus test used by White House
The US drug regulator has warned the coronavirus test being used by the White House could be missing significant numbers of patients, after a study found it could be giving false negative results in almost half of cases. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday night warned the test provided by Abbott Laboratories could be returning inaccurate results, just days after members of Donald Trump’s inner circle tested positive for Covid-19. The FDA said “early data” had shown Abbott’s ID Now test might be returning false negative results, adding that officials were investigating why that might be the case.
Coronavirus lockdown: Allowing family gatherings in England 'complicated'
Allowing family gatherings is an "important public health issue", England's deputy chief medical officer has said - but it is "complicated" to make the rules fair. Dr Jenny Harries said such a move could provide a "mental health boost". But she said if two large families wanted to meet "you end up effectively with quite a large gathering". Some lockdown measures have been eased in England but restrictions on how many people you can meet remain in place. Two people from different households can meet in outdoor settings, such as parks - as long as they stay more than two metres apart. But any larger meetings between different households at the same time are currently banned. The UK government has said this means someone cannot see both parents at the same time.
Partisan Exits
Michigan officials prepare for anti-lockdown protesters to descend on the capital today
Anti-lockdown protesters turned on each other Thursday when a fight erupted on the steps of the capitol. One protester was removed when he was seen waving an American flag with a doll hanging from a noose. Demonstrators descended on capitol building in Lansing demanding an end to the stay-at-home order. The rally has been dubbed 'Judgement Day' by organizers Michigan United for Liberty Law enforcement has warned demonstrators they may face arrest if they brandish firearms. Gov. Whitmer slammed the protesters this week saying their actions could lead to extension of the lockdown Whitmer has extended the stay-at-home order until at least May 28
Police Visit to Tesla Shows U.S. Confusion on Lockdown Loosening
Police visited Tesla Inc.’s sole U.S. car plant Wednesday to assess whether the electric-car maker was adhering to safety protocols agreed to with the county that Elon Musk publicly said he would defy earlier in the week. A lieutenant with the Fremont, California, police department went to the factory late in the afternoon to view employee screening and physical distancing measures, as well as to confirm universal use of face coverings. Findings from the visit -- which Tesla was notified of in advance -- will be presented to the public health officer for Alameda County, which will determine compliance, according to a police spokeswoman.
When will UK lockdown end? Why we don't know yet - but the new Government coronavirus plan gave us some idea
The UK Government issued a 50-page document detailing how coronavirus lockdown restrictions could be eased - but the dates are not confirmed
Britain Starts Easing Lockdown as Pressure Builds on Boris Johnson
Britain took its first steps to ease its lockdown Wednesday as new figures showed the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on its economy, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced growing political pressure over his government’s handling of the crisis. The tentative moves are the latest in a cautious European push to bring the region’s economy out of hibernation. The U.K. economy shrank an annualized 7.7% in the first quarter, official data showed Wednesday, its worst quarterly performance for more than a decade.
Anti-lockdown protests in Germany infiltrated by far-right extremists
The protesters are typically a mixed bunch: anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, left-wing extremists, neo-Nazis and hooligans, and others with no particular political affiliation. But what’s worrying officials in Berlin is that protesters have long ceased to merely appeal on the government to respect fundamental rights. “What unites people is the hatred of the political elite and public broadcasting,” said Matthias Quent, right-wing extremism researcher and director of the Institute for Democracy and Civil Society (IDZ) in Jena.
Coronavirus Lockdowns: Businesses Turn to Armed Defiance
Armed militia-style protesters have helped businesses across Texas defy coronavirus lockdowns and reopen. Protesters say they are enforcing the Constitution.
Continued Lockdown
Washington mayor extends US capital's lockdown
Washington's mayor extended the US capital's lockdown on Wednesday (May 13) amid a stream of new COVID-19 cases, even as many parts of the country gradually reopen in a push to prevent further economic damage. The orders extend the city's home sheltering regime, which was set to expire Friday, to Jun 8, and came as similar measures were granted for the city's suburbs in the states of Maryland and Virginia. The two states are gradually reopening their economies, but have permitted communities near the capital - population: 700,000 - to open under different timelines, due to heightened levels of COVID-19. "The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 diagnoses has yet to fall and the number of daily deaths has failed to decline," Mayor Muriel Bowser said in her proclamation. "Community transmission of COVID-19 remains widespread throughout the district," she said, as well as "in the Maryland and Virginia areas near Washington."
Coronavirus: US Supreme Court overrules Wisconsin lockdown
The US State of Wisconsin will be re-opened, effective immediately, after the state's Supreme Court ruled its restrictions over-stepped the mark.
Russians Struggling to Survive Add Pressure to End Lockdown
Grigory Sverdlin has been doling out free meals from a night bus in Russia's second-biggest city for the best part of the past two decades, with Russians running out of money after six weeks of lockdown
Strains in hard-hit Mumbai complicate India's coronavirus recovery
India’s lockdown, imposed March 25, is set to at least partially end May 18. Some restrictions on manufacturing, agriculture and self-employment were lifted May 4 to ease the burden on the poor and informal sector workers who comprise the majority of India’s workforce. Indian Railways also partially reopened to run special trains carrying migrant workers stranded in the lockdown who fled India’s big cities, including Mumbai, for their village homes. At least some of the passengers carried coronavirus with them, infection spikes in the states of Bihar and Orisha corresponding with their arrivals show.
Japan suicides decline as Covid-19 lockdown causes shift in stress factors
The suicide rate in Japan fell by 20% in April compared with the same time last year, the biggest drop in five years, despite fears the coronavirus pandemic would cause increased stress and many prevention helplines were either not operating or short-staffed. People spending more time at home with their families, fewer people were commuting to work and delays to the start of the school year are seen as factors in the fall. In April, 1,455 people took their lives in Japan, 359 fewer than in April 2019. Suicide has been on a downward trend in Japan since peaking at more than 34,000 cases annually in 2003. Last year saw just over 20,000, and the large drop last month came at a time when there were fears of a fresh spike.
Cape Town becomes the centre of South Africa's virus pandemic
Cape Town has half of South Africa's coronavirus cases, making it the center of infection in the country
Africa facing a quarter of a billion coronavirus cases, WHO predicts
Nearly a quarter of a billion people across 47 African countries will catch coronavirus over the next year, but the result will be fewer severe cases and deaths than in the US and Europe, new research predicts. A model by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional office for Africa, published in the BMJ Global Health, predicts a lower rate of transmission and viral spread across the continent than elsewhere, resulting in up to 190,000 deaths. But the authors warn the associated rise in hospital admissions, care needs and “huge impact” on services such as immunisation and maternity, will overwhelm already stretched health services.
Why is Russia's coronavirus death rate so low?
Russia has the world's second-highest number of coronavirus cases but has registered 10 times fewer deaths than Britain, France, Italy and Spain.So many are wondering: why is the country's mortality rate so low?. How they go about counting recorded cases....
Scientific Viewpoint
France slams pharma giant Sanofi for saying US will get first access to coronavirus vaccine
The French government warned Thursday that it would be "unacceptable" for pharmaceutical giant Sanofi to give any COVID-19 vaccine for the United States first, after the firm's chief said he would give preference to the American market. "To us, it would be unacceptable for there to be privileged access for such and such country for financial reasons," deputy finance minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Sud Radio. The French government official reacted to Sanofi's British CEO Paul Hudson statement on Wednesday that if its efforts to find a vaccine pan out, he would supply the US government first because "it's invested in taking the risk," after it expanded a partnership with his company earlier this year. "That's how it will be because they've invested to try and protect their population, to restart their economy," he told Bloomberg News.
Coronavirus: A quarter of COVID-19 patients who died in England had diabetes
NHS England said of the 22,332 people who died since 31 March, 5,873 (26%) of them had diabetes as an underlying health condition.
When will UK lockdown end? Why we don't know yet - but the new Government coronavirus plan gave us some idea
The UK Government issued a 50-page document detailing how coronavirus lockdown restrictions could be eased - but the dates are not confirmed
University research claims a quarter of UK already infected with COVID-19
A team of researchers from The University of Manchester, Salford Royal and Res Consortium, have shown that a significant proportion of people in the UK- more than 25% – is likely to have been infected already by the COVID-19 virus.
Coronavirus antibody test with 100% accuracy approved for use in UK
The blood test checks for antibodies to help determine if a patient has been exposed to the virus, even if they never developed symptoms. Their detection could help experts gauge how far the infection has spread and indicate how many may have gained immunity against the disease. Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously called antibody testing a ‘game-changer’ as any reliable test may help speed up measures to ease the lockdown because people could return to work confident they are not likely to get it again.
Record drop in A&E attendance in England 'a ticking timebomb', say doctors
The number of people waiting for hospital care in England could double to more than 8 million within a few months as a result of the coronavirus crisis, a leading health expert has warned. Measures that hospitals will have to put in place to tackle the infection as they seek to get back to normal after the pandemic would limit the number of patients who could have a planned operation, said Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust thinktank.
What is the R number? Why the UK's coronavirus reproduction rate is so important to plans to end lockdown
The higher the R value, the more infectious the virus. R3 means one person can pass Covid-19 to three people while R10 means it can be transmitted to 10. Dr Yuliya Kyrychko, a reader in mathematics at the University of Sussex, tells i: “The higher this number is, the more likely it is that an epidemic will develop, and as soon as it goes over one, that’s a clear sign that there will be an outbreak.
Coronavirus: Scientists only have ‘low confidence’ school children will spread virus less than adults as lockdown eased
This government is playing Russian roulette with the lives of our school support staff and children in England,' union official says. The government’s scientific advisory group only has a “low degree of confidence” that children may spread coronavirus less effectively than adults, MPs have ben told, as ministers move to reopen schools as part of easing lockdown. Osama Rahman, chief scientific adviser at the Department for Education (DfE), went on to say that the decision to reopen schools to reception-age children as well as years one and six was not made by his branch of the government.
Coronavirus Resurgence
China's Wuhan kicks off mass testing campaign for new coronavirus
Authorities in the Chinese city where the novel coronavirus emerged launched an ambitious campaign on Wednesday to test all of its 11 million residents, after a cluster of new cases raised fears of a second wave of infections. At least two of the city's main districts have delivered notices of the campaign door-to-door and sent out online questionnaires through community workers seeking information about tests people have had, and if they belong to what are deemed high-risk groups, residents said. "To better make use of nucleic acid tests as a monitoring tool and in accordance of the state cabinet's requirements to expand testing, we've decided after consideration to conduct testing for all residents," according to a questionnaire sent to residents of the city's Wuchang district, which has a population of about 1.2 million.
Coronavirus: We are right to fear a 'second wave' right now - seven weeks into lockdown Wuhan's R number was already less than 0.2
Anyone who has ever seen a graph of the Spanish flu pandemic knows it came in three waves – and the second was the deadliest. The virus which first emerged around March 1918 seemed much like a seasonal flu, albeit a highly contagious and virulent strain. But when the second wave hit in autumn of that year, it was capable of killing previously health young men and women within 24 hours of the first signs of infection: the virus had mutated. That goes a long way to explaining why the second wave was worse than the first, but a failure to impose civilian lockdowns in Britain amid a war effort that encouraged citizens to “carry on” and prioritised keeping workers in weapons factories helped to accelerate its spread.
Exclusive: Second more deadly wave of coronavirus 'to hit Europe this winter'
Europe's top WHO official warns that second spike could coincide with outbreaks of other infectious diseases
New coronavirus clusters in France test government's strategy to exit lockdown
As France takes the first steps on the slow return to normal, reports of new coronavirus clusters around the country have sparked concern. “We need to remember that the virus is here, circulating, ready for an ambush,” virologist Anne-Claude Crémieux told France Info. The new clusters were discovered just before May 11th, the day France began to ease its strict, nationwide lockdown. Eliminating these clusters has proved an important first test of France's main strategy - testing, tracing and isolating - to safely reopen society. Local authorities in the cluster areas have had their hands full to successfully track and test those at risk of having been contaminated. All the clusters were found in so-called green zones.
Coronavirus cases surge in Brazil, Mexico
Record rises in daily coronavirus cases have been recorded in Brazil and Mexico, where leaders are intensifying attempts to reopen their economies.
New Lockdown
Coronavirus China, South Korea, Germany: Cities back in lockdown
Everyone who hasn’t had COVID-19 is tinder for a fresh pandemic eruption. And doubts persist that those who have had it remain immune for long. Which means herd immunity – the level of resistance within a community necessary to stifle any outbreak – remains an intangible dream. “Herd immunity is not this magical number where once you reach that point nobody else gets infected,” La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California immunologist Shane Crotty told Popular Science. “It would no longer be a full-blown epidemic once you get to herd immunity, [but] the virus would still spread, it would still infect people, it would still kill people. It would just be a less common event.”
China’s Jilin city goes into partial lockdown to contain virus cluster
Train and long-distance bus services halted, schools closed and gatherings banned as vice-mayor warns of ‘major risk of further spread’ - Six new community cases have been confirmed, bringing total to 21 – all linked to a laundry worker in nearby Shulan

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 18th May 2020

News Highlights

Denmark reports zero deaths as India numbers surge past China

Denmark, the first European country to start reopening, reported no coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, from a day earlier, for the first time since March 13. Meanwhile, India has now surpassed China in total coronavirus cases to become Asia's new hotspot.

Summer is back again

Italy is set to reopen bars, restaurants and travel in and out of the country, which will be permitted from next month. The foreign travel ban will be lifted from June 3 and people entering Italy from EU countries do not have to undergo a quarantine period.

Extended lockdown in Madrid and Barcelona

Residents of Madrid and Barcelona, still under lockdown, have been unable to join the millions of their compatriots in Spain who have celebrated the partial lifting of their lockdown by meeting up with friends and family, or visiting their favourite cafe, or bar, for a drink.

Cases surge in Brazil and Saudi Arabia

Brazil, now only trailing the U.S. Russia and UK in total coronavirus cases, added almost 15,000 cases on Saturday, while total cases in Saudi Arabia topped 50,000. Saudi Arabia has been seeing an average daily increase of about 2,000 cases a day for the past week.

Lockdown Exit
Greece Reopens 500 Beaches as It Relaxes Lockdown Rules
Greece has opened up 500 of its beaches as the country eases lockdown restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities authorized the move as a heat wave was expected to hit the country this weekend. But sizzling temperatures aside, the measure is seen as a crucial test of readiness for Greece’s biggest challenge: summer tourism. From early Saturday, sunbathers swarmed beaches across the country, taking cool respite from scorching temperatures and over a month-long period in lockdown. Yet as they entered ticketed facilities a new reality set in. Sun loungers at many sites were seen hammered down, fastened to the ground to secure social distancing. Kiosks were not allowed to play music and bars were prohibited from serving alcohol -- all for the sake of keeping crowds sober and orderly.
Denmark reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since March
Denmark, the first country in Europe to gradually start reopening, reported no coronavirus-related deaths on Friday from the day earlier for the first time since March 13. Denmark’s total number of confirmed cases rose by 78 to 10,791 since Thursday, with the number of hospitalisations falling by 10 to 137. The death toll remained unchanged at 537. “Milestone today: In the last day we have had 0 deaths as a result of COVID-19 in Denmark,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Twitter. On Tuesday, health authorities said Denmark was “very unlikely” to be hit by a second wave of the virus, as the country entered its second reopening phase, which allows schools for the oldest children, shopping mails and restaurants to reopen.
Indonesia’s government was slow to lock down, so its people took charge
A veteran organiser, Diani took matters into her own hands. “I had trouble convincing people in my neighbourhood at first. People still thought we were untouchable because of the weather or prayers or whatever else. I had to convince them one by one, through WhatsApp and in person, that we needed to change our lifestyle because of COVID-19,” she said. “Eventually they understood.” By early March, Diani had mobilised a task force of volunteers to effectively close off her neighbourhood, persuade residents to stop working and stay at home when possible, and propagate hygiene practices such as handwashing. The volunteers even started making their own hand sanitiser, and initiated a neighbourhood-level “self-quarantine” on March 10— ten days before the Jakarta governor declared a state of emergency, Diani noted, proudly.
S.Korea races to contain new Covid-19 cluster linked to clubs as infections swell to 119
South Korea conducted more than 15,000 tests on Wednesday (May 13) as health officials raced to contain an outbreak of Covid-19 linked to at least nine clubs in the nightlife district of Itaewon in Seoul. The promise of anonymous testing has encouraged more people to come forward, as the number of cases linked to the new cluster grew to 119 - up from 102 the previous day. New cases include a 27-year-old clubber from Busan who infected his 62-year-old father and one-year-old nephew. Eleven infections were traced to a 25-year-old private academy teacher from Incheon and three more infections in the military brought its total to 11. South Korea now has 10,962 cases, with 259 deaths. The Itaewon cluster came to light when a 29-year-old resident of Yongin city tested positive on May 6, after visiting five gay clubs in Itaewon on May 1-2 during a six-day-long weekend that saw many people going out to wine, dine and party.
India surpasses China in coronavirus cases to become new Asia hot spot
“It is becoming increasingly clear that Covid-19 will not disappear immediately, the economy will need to be managed alongside persistent infection risks, possibly for a prolonged period,” said Mr Rishi Sahai, managing director of financial advisory company Cogence Advisors. He said that the 130 districts classified as red-zone districts at present are some of the most urbanised and industrialised parts of the country and account for 41 per cent of national economic activity and 38 per cent of India’s industrial output. “Finding methods of keeping these red-zone districts operational and safe would be critical in keeping economic activity sustainable,” he said.
Exit Strategies
Labour leader Keir Starmer calls for `four nations together'" approach for easing lock-down restrictions
Labour leader Keir Starmer has called for a "four nations together" approach for easing coronavirus lock-down restrictions. Mr Starmer, who became party leader last month, said there had been an "incredible sense of solidarity" across the UK but the relationship between Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland "could" be put under strain if there was an increasing divergence in approaches from the respective governments to coronavirus. Mr Starmer was speaking on the BBC's Politics Wales programme one week after British Prime Minister Boris Johnston told people in England that they could "drive to other destinations" for exercise and leisure, during a live broadcast. In Wales, the Welsh Government re-stated people cannot travel "a significant distance" from home for exercise. The Labour leader blamed Mr Johnson for the way Wales and England had diverged in the easing of the lockdown. "I do think responsibility for that lies very largely with the prime minister, who I would have hoped could have got all the ducks in a row before he actually made his speech last Sunday," he said. "The sooner, frankly, we get back to operating as four nations together the better," he said.
Coronavirus: Italy set to throw open its borders in time for summer tourist season
Italy will reopen restaurants and coffee bars next week and allow travel in and out of the country next month as it continues to ease its coronavirus lockdown. A decree signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday means that the foreign travel ban will be lifted on 3 June - and people can also start moving freely across the country's regions on the same day. Mr Conte said that anybody entering Italy from an EU country from then onwards would not have to undergo a quarantine period. However he warned that while the Lombardy region could assess itself whether to reopen, the national government could intervene if the pandemic reemerged.
Austrian borders with Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary to reopen June 15
Austria’s borders with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary will fully reopen on June 15, the interior ministry said on Saturday, extending an easing of border controls to its eastern neighbours previously agreed with many of its neighbours to the west. The announcement follows a previously coordinated step to fully remove barriers on travel between Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein from June 15 onwards and ease restrictions on who is allowed transit in the meantime. Restrictions remain in place for transit from Italy.
Irish Government approves first phase of easing Covid-19 restrictions from Monday
The Irish Government has approved the first phase of easing Covid-19 restrictions from Monday. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the easing of restrictions on Friday, but said the announcement is not cause for celebration. He said from Monday, the public will be able to meet small groups of four people outside while keeping two metres apart. Mr Varadkar also urged the public to wear face coverings when on public transport and in enclosed spaces.
China, S. Korea Ask Japan to Allow Business Travel, Yomiuri Says
China and South Korea have consulted Japan about easing border controls on business travelers to help revive business activities, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Sunday without citing sources. The idea, already implemented between South Korea and China, would allow a fast-track entry of business people if they test negative for the new coronavirus before departure and after arrival, the newspaper said. But Tokyo is cautious about relaxing border controls at this point due to fears of another spike in infections, as well as a lack of test kits for travelers, according to the report. Japan’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Germany plans 57bn euro aid package for virus-hit municipalities
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is working on an aid package worth 57 billion euros ($61.65 billion) to help municipalities cope with plunging tax revenues caused by the coronavirus crisis, a ministry document showed on Saturday. Europe's largest economy is facing its deepest recession since the Second World War, even as a lockdown to fight the virus is gradually eased. The drop in business activity has hit tax revenues and left a hole in municipal finances. Scholz's aid package aims to help cities and towns stabilise their finances, according to the finance ministry document seen by Reuters. The plan also contemplates extra relief for some heavily indebted municipalities.
Anger in Madrid but calm in Barcelona at extended lockdown
For the past five days, millions of people in Spain have once again been able to indulge in moments of luxury that would have been mundane routines just two months ago. Across half the country, they have been able to meet up with friends and family, and to sit outside bars and sip a café con leche or a cold, refreshing caña (beer). But not so in Madrid or Barcelona. On Friday the Spanish health ministry denied the Madrid regional government’s second request to join the 70% of the country in the next phase of relaxation of some of the strictest lockdown measures in Europe. Since it denied permission for such easing last week, people in and around the capital have been unable to meet up or enjoy a physically distanced alfresco drink or meal.
As Europe emerges from lockdown, the question hangs: was Sweden right?
The one table that glares at us daily is the international league table of deaths per million. Even if the aggregates are unreliable, there is a crude reality to a body count. Yet the only conclusion to be drawn from the figures is that the league table is no help to policy. There is no correlation between fatalities and lockdown stringency. The most stringent lockdowns – as in China, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Britain – have yielded both high and low deaths per million. Hi-tech has apparently “worked” in South Korea, but so has no-tech in Sweden. Sweden’s 319 deaths per million is far ahead of locked-down Norway’s 40 and Denmark’s 91, but it’s well behind locked-down UK’s 465 and Spain’s 569.
Coronavirus: How 'overreaction' made Vietnam a virus success
"It very, very quickly acted in ways which seemed to be quite extreme at the time but were subsequently shown to be rather sensible," says Prof Guy Thwaites, director of Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) in Ho Chi Minh City, which works with the government on its infectious disease programmes. Vietnam enacted measures other countries would take months to move on, bringing in travel restrictions, closely monitoring and eventually closing the border with China and increasing health checks at borders and other vulnerable places. Schools were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of January and remained closed until mid-May. A vast and labour intensive contact tracing operation got under way. "This is a country that has dealt with a lot of outbreaks in the past," says Prof Thwaites, from Sars in 2003 to avian influenza in 2010 and large outbreaks of measles and dengue.
Thailand follows Vietnam with no new coronavirus cases
Thailand reported zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases for the first time in over two months on May 13.
Partisan Exits
Experts Doubt Mexican Government’s Claims on Falling Curve
A former health official and a group of Mexican researchers say the fresh numbers suggest the curve is still on an upward trajectory. With one of the lowest coronavirus testing rates in the region, hospitalizations in Mexico may well be the better bellwether for gauging the scope of the pandemic and when it’s safe to reopen. Those numbers are grim. In the nation’s capital, at least 76% of all hospital beds are occupied, and 63% of ventilators are in use, Lopez Gatell said Friday. That’s up from 58% on April 29. More than a quarter of all coronavirus cases are concentrated in Mexico City
Continued Lockdown
Brazil Overtakes Spain to Be World’s Fourth-Most Infected Nation
The country added 14,919 cases, according to government data on Saturday, bringing its total to 233,142. It trails the U.S., Russia, and U.K. The numbers exceed those in Spain, which has a total of 230,698 cases and is planning to extend the state of emergency for a fifth time to combat the outbreak. Brazil’s new cases come as Vice President Hamilton Mourao and his wife are in self-isolation after a civil servant he came into contact with tested positive for Covid-19, according to a note sent by his press office. They are awaiting test results, which are expected on Monday.
Mexico's president pushes back on government forecast coronavirus could impoverish millions
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador pushed back on Thursday against a government report that forecast the coronavirus pandemic could drag millions of Mexicans into extreme poverty in Latin America’s second largest economy.
Covid-19 Outbreak in Nigeria Is Just One of Africa’s Alarming Hot Spots
Dozens of doctors are infected and gravediggers are overwhelmed in Kano, Nigeria’s second-largest city, where inaction led to an unchecked outbreak. Across Africa, other hot spots are emerging.
Kenya closes borders with Somalia, Tanzania to curb COVID-19 spread | English.news.cn
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday closed the country's borders with Somalia and Tanzania effective midnight as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus. Kenyatta banned the movement of persons and passengers in and out of Kenya through the Tanzania and Somalia borders for 21 days following the rise of cross-border COVID-19 transmission. "In the last week, we have witnessed increased imported cases among individuals crossing into the country through our borders. These areas have become areas of grave concern," Kenyatta told the nation in a televised news conference in Nairobi. He said all drivers of the cargo vehicles shall be subjected to mandatory COVID-19 disease testing and will only be granted entry into the Kenyan territory if they test negative.
Saudi Arabia's coronavirus cases top 50,000: ministry
The number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia topped 50,000 on Saturday, the health ministry said. A ministry official reported 2,840 new cases, taking the cumulative total to 51,980. That was up from an average of around 1,500 new cases a day over the past week. The death toll in the kingdom increased by 10 to 302, the official said on state TV. Saudi Arabia recorded its first COVID-19 infection on March 2, several weeks after the initial outbreak in Asia.
Saudi Arabia's coronavirus cases top 50,000: ministry
The number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia topped 50,000 on Saturday, the health ministry said. A ministry official reported 2,840 new cases, taking the cumulative total to 51,980. That was up from an average of around 1,500 new cases a day over the past week. The death toll in the kingdom increased by 10 to 302, the official said on state TV. Saudi Arabia recorded its first COVID-19 infection on March 2, several weeks after the initial outbreak in Asia.
Mass testing won't happen in Mexico. That's the way the government wants it
Mexican health officials believe the outbreak will peak in this country no later than May 20, though some studies suggest it could arrive in late June, even as the country has one of the lowest testing rates in the world. "I don't think testing is a must," Lopez-Gatell said when asked if the country could re-open safely without more tests. "This doesn't mean we're resistant to testing, we will use testing but in a carefully planned manner." As of May 11, Mexico had only conducted 89 tests per 100,000 people, according to health ministry data. By contrast, the US tested at a rate nearly 32 times higher than that, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
No beds, packed morgues: Mumbai hospitals near collapse in war against coronavirus
Packed morgues, bodies in wards, patients forced to share beds and medical workers run ragged: Mumbai's war against coronavirus has pushed the Indian city's hospitals to breaking point. Ravi, 26, had to change his mother's diapers himself as she lay dying from the disease in the huge Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, better known as Sion. "They would just give us medicines and leave," Ravi (not his real name) told AFP. Staff in the 1,300-bed facility were "overworked and tired", he said, with sometimes three patients per bed.
South African platinum miner Impala finds 19 coronavirus cases at mine
South Africa’s Impala Platinum said on Saturday it had detected 19 positive cases of the COVID-19 disease at its Marula operation in northern Limpopo province, and that it would close the plant until it had taken necessary health measures. “Implats has identified 19 positive cases during the week, all of them asymptomatic. Of these cases, 14 were identified as the result of proactive testing of employees returning to work. None of these employees had started work at the mine,” the firm said in a statement.
Zimbabwe to maintain virus lockdown: president
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Saturday the lockdown imposed to control the spread of coronavirus would stay in place for the moment, but would be reviewed every two weeks. The restrictions have so far borne fruit as transmission has not been widespread and numbers remain lower than had been initial projections, he added. From more than 25,000 tests conducted, the country has so far detected 42 cases, four of which proved fatal. Mnangagwa said the World Health Organisation had classified coronavirus transmission in Zimbabwe as "sporadic, with one or more cases imported or locally detected
Brazil: Coronavirus pandemic reaches dozens of Indigenous groups
The coronavirus pandemic has hit 38 Indigenous groups in Brazil, raising fears for populations that have a history of being decimated by outside diseases. "The virus is reaching indigenous territories across Brazil with frightening speed," the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples' Association (APIB) said in a statement on Friday.
Coronavirus - Kenya: COVID-19 and lack of protective equipment threaten lifesaving care in Kenya
MSF teams too, however, crucially rely on the availability of PPE to protect patients and staff from the risk of infection. The global shortage of protective material may force even MSF to shut down our programmes – including emergency, lifesaving activities – if a reliable source of PPE is not rapidly found. This happens at the worst possible time. While the number of reported COVID-19 cases has remained relatively low so far, it is expected to increase, and so risks doing the number of indirect victims – those who couldn’t access essential medical care for other types of medical issues. With the rainy season approaching, the seasonal increase in respiratory disease is expected to make the situation even more challenging.
Coronavirus: Are African countries struggling to increase testing?
African countries have started to lift lockdown restrictions, raising fears that coronavirus infections could rise. The World Health Organization has said countries should consider their ability to test and trace before lifting lockdown. The continent has so far conducted 1.2 million tests since the start of the epidemic. But is that enough?
Mexico at 'peak moment' of coronavirus crisis after biggest daily rise in cases
Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell - an epidemiologist and Mexico's coronavirus tsar - described this as "the most difficult moment of the first wave of the epidemic". He said that the country "could not relax measures" in place to stem the spread of the virus, and instead needs to embrace a "new normal" to avoid another wave of infections. On Monday, some key industries - including mining, construction and automobile assembly - are scheduled to partially reopen. Mr López-Gatell stressed that the re-opening of these industries will be largely preparatory, with a broader restart of businesses not scheduled until 1 June. Government data released on Thursday also showed more than half of hospitals in the capital, Mexico City, were at capacity with coronavirus patients.
Hundreds die in Yemen of suspected coronavirus
More than 500 people have died over the past eight days in southern Yemen’s main city, Aden, many with breathing difficulties, raising fears the coronavirus is spreading out of control, feeding off a civil war that has left the country in ruins.
'The ship is sinking': Bolsonaro battles to block foul-mouthed cabinet video
“This meeting is the perfect portrait of the Bolsonaro administration,” said Bruno Boghossian, a columnist for the Folha de São Paulo newspaper in Brazil’s political capital, Brasília. “Conspiracy theories, ideological issues, made-up battles, and culture wars – all right there at the heart of government.” The video of the supposedly private plenum on 22 April was unexpectedly thrust into the public domain by the resignation of Bolsonaro’s justice minister, Sergio Moro, two days later. Moro says the images contain key evidence supporting his allegation that Bolsonaro tried to meddle in federal police business and must be released as part of a supreme court investigation into those claims. The footage was privately screened for investigators this week but has yet to be made public. Even before its release, however, the video is casting a profoundly embarrassing, and potentially compromising light on Bolsonaro and the far-right administration he has led since January 2019.
Stigma, fears of quarantine hinder Kenya's COVID-19 fight
Mass testing for the novel coronavirus is under way in the worst affected areas of Kenya. But many are reluctant to be checked, for fear of being forced into quarantine. There is also a stigma attached to the virus and the disease it causes, known as COVID-19. Al Jazeera's Catherine Soi reports from the capital Nairobi.
Taps run dry in Kenya's capital as coronavirus spreads
Heavy rains swept away the main water pipes running through forests in the Aberdare mountain range north of Kenya’s capital a week ago. Soon after that, the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company shut down a treatment plant feeding the city. Now huge swathes of Nairobi, from its slums to its well-heeled districts of Lavington and Kitisuru are struggling with little to no supplies, at a time when the government is ordering people to stay put and keep clean. “Will we deal with water shortage or the coronavirus? How can we survive without water when we are being told to wash our hands?” asked Wanjiru, a mother-of-two who also needs water to wash the vegetables she sells on her stall.
Mexico’s Cartels Distribute Coronavirus Aid to Win Popular Support
Mexico’s drug cartels are in a war for the hearts and minds of poor Mexicans, providing them with food and supplies as they struggle to survive the economic meltdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Since the coronavirus struck Mexico, a plethora of videos and photographs uploaded to social media have shown what appear to be cartel operatives in about a dozen states handing out food packages marked with the logos of the different criminal groups to lines of Mexicans. In some cases the videos show the food being distributed by heavily armed men, driving in military-style trucks with cartel markings.
Coronavirus: Morgues and storage rooms are full of bodies. The true death toll in Mexico City is staggering
The number of people dying from the coronavirus pandemic in Mexico is five times higher than official government figures, according to health department insiders. A Sky News investigations team working in the country's capital Mexico City has documented cremations and funerals and gained access to morgues and storage rooms full of bodies - all indicate the official data is wrong. In much of Mexico City, the second largest city in Latin America, there is virtually no social distancing, with open air markets and some businesses operating normally, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Scientific Viewpoint
Breakthrough hope as doctors find blood-thinning drugs can help save Covid-19 patients
Doctors at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London have found that most critically ill coronavirus patients suffer blood clots, raising hopes that blood-thinning drugs could save lives
More than one million people infected with covid-19 in Mexico
Mexican scientists specializing in mathematics, statistics, and infectious diseases warned that there could be up to 25 times more cases of Covid-19 in the country than those confirmed by laboratory tests. This would mean between 881,000 and 1.27 million people infected, many without symptoms but with the capacity to infect. The data come from estimates made by scientists consulted by EL UNIVERSAL. Alejandro Macias, considered the expert on the H1N1 epidemic in 2009, when he was the National Commissioner for the Prevention and Control of the SSA, explained that until laboratory tests are carried out to look for antibodies in people’s blood, as was done in New York, it will not be known precisely how many people were infected with Covid-19.
Reviving the US CDC
According to The Washington Post, Deborah Birx, the head of the US COVID-19 Task Force and a former director of the CDC's Global HIV/AIDS Division, cast doubt on the CDC's COVID-19 mortality and case data by reportedly saying: “There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust”. This is an unhelpful statement, but also a shocking indictment of an agency that was once regarded as the gold standard for global disease detection and control. How did an agency that was the first point of contact for many national health authorities facing a public health threat become so ill-prepared to protect the public's health?
French boy dies of coronavirus-linked Kawasaki disease
Nine-year-old from Marseille had been ‘in contact with’ virus before dying in hospital
Voluntary collective isolation as a best response to COVID-19 for indigenous populations? A case study and protocol from the Bolivian Amazon
Voluntary collective isolation as a best response to COVID-19 for indigenous populations? A case study and protocol from the Bolivian Amazon
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and adolescents with COVID-19
Recently, however, reports from Europe and North America have described clusters of children and adolescents requiring admission to intensive care units with a multisystem inflammatory condition with some features similar to those of Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. Case reports and small series have described a presentation of acute illness accompanied by a hyperinflammatory syndrome, leading to multiorgan failure and shock.13-15 Initial hypotheses are that this syndrome may be related to COVID-19 based on initial laboratory testing showing positive serology in a majority of patients. Children have been treated with anti-inflammatory treatment, including parenteral immunoglobulin and steroids.
Yet another study shows hydroxychloroquine doesn't work against Covid-19
A new study -- the largest of its kind -- shows that hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by President Trump, does not work against Covid-19 and could cause heart problems. The study was published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It follows a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine that also showed the drug doesn't fight the virus. Even before these reports were published, the US Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health issued warnings about using the drugs for coronavirus patients.

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

News Highlights

Schools reopen in France, despite worries of new infections

France has recorded 70 cases of Covid-19 across the 40,000 primary schools reopened since May 11. However, EU education ministers said that the reopening of schools in 22 European countries has not led to a significant increase in infections among children, parents or staff.

Cafes, churches open in Italy and football restarts in Germany

German football champions Bayern Munich played and won their first match in more than two months on Sunday. The match was played in an empty stadium. Meanwhile in Italy, a handful of visitors queued up outside St Peter's Basilica for the first time since March 10.

Diners eat out in Hunan as pollution rises to pre lockdown levels in China

Air pollution levels in China have risen back above last year's levels, after dropping during the strict lockdown measures. People in Hunan are celebrating their freedom from lockdown by dining out, for the first time in many months, with some restaurants almost 70% occupied.

New Zealand: Children return to schools and PM turned away from restaurant

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealand children returned to school on Monday, after two months of home education. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, and a group of friends, were turned away from a cafe because it had already reached its customer limit.

New lockdown restriction in some countries

About 108 million people in the Chinese province of Jilin were placed into lockdown on Monday, after roughly 34 new cases of coronavirus and one death. Five other countries have had to restart partial coronavirus lockdowns, weeks after loosening them, this includes: Germany, Iran, South Korea, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

Lockdown Exit
UK cities are awakening as lockdown is eased
alking and driving in the UK surged on Saturday, 16 May – the first weekend day since the government eased lockdown restrictions, new data show. The new rules, combined with warm spring weather, saw movement rates rise to 60 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels on Saturday, 16 May. That compares to nearer 30 per cent towards the end of March. Numbers have been edging up in recent weeks, with the Bank Holiday weekend between 8 May and 10 May showing an increase in walking in particular, ahead of the lockdown restrictions being partially lifted.
Coronavirus: Ireland begins first phase of easing lockdown rules
The Republic of Ireland is beginning the first phase of relaxing its Covid-19 restrictions. Some construction firms will return to work and garden centres and hardware stores can reopen. Tom Parlon, the director general of the Construction Industry Federation, estimates that about 30,000 builders - a fifth of the industry's workforce - will return to work. Social distancing will be observed on site and travelling to and from work. "Remaining two metres apart will be a big challenge," he said. "But builders will be using masks and shields to protect themselves."
Coronavirus: Commuters shun trains as they return to work after easing of lockdown
Commuters returning to work for the first time after Boris Johnson eased lockdown restrictions shunned train services despite rail firms adding extra carriages to help preserve social distancing. Network Rail, which manages Britain’s 20 busiest stations, said passenger numbers on Monday morning were “very similar” to last week, when they were around 93 percent below average.
Churches, beaches and restaurants in Italy open their doors as tough lockdown rules eased
The cornerstones of Italian life have opened their doors after three months of lockdown as the government's tough restrictions were cautiously lifted. Restaurants, bars, shops, church, museums, hairdressers and beaches reopened on Monday as life outside the home slowly returned to an altered normal in one of Europe’s hardest hit countries. Some churches welcomed worshippers to Mass as the second phase of the lockdown allowed the faithful to attend religious ceremonies.
Restaurants, bars and churches reopen in Italy with Saint Peter's Basilica even taking visitors again
Once the worst-hit country in the world, Italy will take its latest step in a cautious, gradual return to normality, allowing businesses and churches to reopen after a two-month lockdown. Saint Peter’s Basilica also throws its doors open to visitors today. In the face of much opposition, including from Pope Francis, churches in Rome were shuttered at the beginning of the coronavirus emergency in early March. Most, however, opened shortly thereafter, with entry reserved for prayer only. “I share the joy of those communities who can finally reunite as liturgical assemblies, a sign of hope for all society,” Pope Francis said yesterday during his live-streamed prayer.
Coronavirus: Italy reopens restaurants, cafes and hairdressers after 10-week lockdown
Shops, bars, cafes and restaurants have reopened in Italy, after more than two months of nationwide lockdown measures. Customers can again sip their morning cappuccino at their favourite bar after restrictions were eased on Monday, providing they stick to COVID-19 social distancing rules. "I haven't worked for two-and-a-half months. It's a beautiful, exciting day," said Valentino Casanova, a barman working in Rome's central Piazza del Popolo.
Global report: Italy reopens cafes as Spain prepares for return of tourists
A handful of visitors, including nuns, queued up outside St Peter’s for the first time since 10 March. Police officers wearing face masks checked temperatures before allowing them to enter. Masses in churches across Rome also resumed. Worshippers sat apart on disinfected pews. In Venice gondoliers wearing face masks ferried passengers along the Grand Canal, while mothers with small children sat in cafes overlooking the Rialto. Clients in Milan got their hair done, while local markets in the city of Salerno reopened. The prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, described the ending of national curbs as a “calculated risk”. Italy was the first European country to go into full lockdown, more than two months ago. It is now returning to a semi-normality, after nearly 32,000 deaths. Its economy has shrunk by 10%.
France records 70 cases of Covid-19 in schools since lifting lockdown
70 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the 40,000 ‘maternelle’ and primary schools re-opened in France since 11 May. But this will not affect the gradual return to junior schools which resumes on Monday. In an interview with RTL radio, France's Education minister confirmed that several schools had been forced to close their doors since 11 May in Mayenne, Cantal, Haute-Garonne and Nice. These closures "show that we are strict," said Blanquer, who added that these cases "occured almost every time outside of school."
Coronavirus: People playing football and sunbathing in groups can still be fined despite lockdown relaxation, police say
People playing football or spending time with friends in parks will still be fined for breaking coronavirus laws, police have warned as another warm weekend begins. Officials are appealing for people not to flood to beaches and beauty spots to enjoy the weather following the relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England.
Schools reopening has not triggered rise in Covid-19 cases, EU ministers told
The reopening of schools in 22 European countries has not led to any significant increase in coronavirus infections among children, parents or staff, a videoconference meeting of education ministers from around the EU has heard. With a debate raging in the UK over the risks of allowing children back into the classroom, some member states are planning summer lessons to aid pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Ireland cautiously begins to lift virus lockdown
Ireland took the first tentative steps to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions Monday, with outdoor workers returning to their jobs, some shops reopening and sports facilities unlocking their doors. The modest tweaks to the restrictions in place since March 28 start a staggered process that is set to last until August. "I'm both pleased and nervous," Health Minister Simon Harris told state broadcaster RTE. "I'm pleased that we've gotten to this point because of the incredible efforts of the Irish people in suppressing this virus."
'Yellow vest' protests restart on first weekend France loosens its lockdown
Although France has relaxed some rules as it moves into 'phase 1' of lifting lockdown, gatherings of more than 10 people in public places are still banned. Police broke up gatherings of around 50 protesters in Bordeaux and Paris and groups of 300 in Lyon and 350 in Montpellier. A female protester was injured in Montpellier. In Toulouse, shopkeepers held a counter protest, accusing 'yellow vests' of endangering public health and damaging the first weekend of trade for many businesses in two months
Europeans savour lockdown easing but elsewhere virus cases surge
German football champions Bayern Munich played and won their first match in more than two months on Sunday as Spain and Britain recorded their lowest daily coronavirus death tolls since March, but the pandemic continued its devastation elsewhere. With a worldwide virus death toll above 314,000 and the global economy reeling from the vast damage caused by lockdowns, numerous European countries are lifting restrictions to provide much-needed respite for their beleaguered and impatient populations. But the virus is still surging in Brazil, which saw its number of deaths soar past 15,000 with more than 230,000 infections, making it the country with the fourth-highest number of cases.
Traffic jams, dining out, reopened schools — China resumes ‘normal life’ after lockdown
While some people still have concerns about dining out, others have no such qualms. “We’ve been staying at home far too long,” said Tom Long, a businessman in the southern province of Hunan who’s started regularly eating out now life’s returning to normal. It seems big restaurants are as much as 70% occupied, while hawker centers are full, Long said by phone.
9 Shanghai residents on life after lockdown
In one of China's most populated city restrictions are being eased, people are back at work, and stores and nightclubs have reopened — but life is still very different.
China sees post-lockdown rise in air pollution
China's levels of some air pollutants have risen back to above last year's levels after dropping when the government imposed strict lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study published on Monday. The rebound was likely due to industrial activity, the researchers said, adding there were concerns that after months of unusually low pollution levels, a drive to kickstart economic activity was causing emissions to spike. "There are early warning signs that China's recovery from the COVID-19 crisis is reversing air quality gains," the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), which produced the study, said.
Japan's economy falls into recession as virus takes its toll
Japan has fallen into recession for the first time since 2015 as the financial toll of the coronavirus continues to escalate. The world's third biggest economy shrank at an annual pace of 3.4% in the first three months of 2020. The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the global economy with an estimated cost of up to $8.8tn (£7.1tn).
Good news for Australians hoping to get back to the gym as lockdowns are eased
Fitness fanatics were back in the gym today in some parts of Australia. Others stuck to outdoor training bootcamps after restrictions were eased. But many embattled businesses across the country are still unsure of their future. The NT, WA, SA, QLD and Tasmania have all given given dates for opening. But those in NSW, ACT and Victoria don't know when they'll open their doors
Joy, tears and nerves as students return to class around New Zealand
Students across New Zealand have flocked to classes for the first time in nearly two months. In a day filled with hugs, tears, excitement and trepidation, schools reopened on Monday as part of the move to lockdown level 2. While classrooms have been open to younger children if needed since level 3, attendance levels have been low, with the vast majority opting to keep learning from home
New Zealand braces for spike in child abuse reports as Covid-19 lockdown eases
Head of children’s welfare agency says toll could start to emerge after lockdown created ‘perfect storm’ of stress for struggling families
Covid-19 coronavirus: Kiwis head back to office and school after months in lockdown
For the first time in nearly two months thousands of New Zealanders are swapping their slippers for shoes today as we enter our first full week of level 2. And with the mass return of Kiwis to offices and schools, the Prime Minister has confirmed the number of people allowed to attend church gatherings could also increase in the next two weeks. New Zealand is again the focus of headlines across the globe, with the Washington Post reporting how the country "quashed Covid in 49 days".
Back to school for New Zealand kids after COVID-19 lockdown
Hundreds of thousands of New Zealand children returned to school on Monday (May 18) after two months of home education as part of a COVID-19 lockdown. Excited youngsters greeted classmates for the first time in eight weeks, while teachers reinforced messages about social distancing and hand-washing to combat the coronavirus. Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the return to a noisy, bustling environment would be a "culture shock" after a challenging period for both children and parents. "Our message is it's safe to send kids back to school, we want kids back at school and catching up with any learning that they've lost during the lockdown," he told reporters.
'Still fearful': Wuhan struggles to recover after coronavirus lockdown
The economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak is only beginning to be felt by the city where the disease first emerged. The effects are being felt by everyone from farmers to kindergarten workers, and even working for the local government may no longer offer any security
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern turned away from cafe under virus lockdown rules
In New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was denied entry to a cafe because of her own social distancing rules. Ardern, her fiance Clarke Gayford and a group of friends were turned away from a cafe in Wellington on Saturday because it had already reached its customer limit. “I have to take responsibility for this, I didn’t get organised and book anywhere,” Gayford tweeted in response to another diner, who had spotted the couple being turned away. As New Zealand eases out of its coronavirus lockdown, cafes were allowed to reopen on Thursday, but must maintain social distancing between tables and customers must remain seated.
Migrants will rebuild the UK economy post-lockdown
As the economy struggles under the strain of a partially lifted lockdown, and as politicians try to navigate a way back to some form of normality, one thing is certain: migrants will play a crucial role in the rebuilding process. We always do. The UK offers so much for us, and we offer so much in return. Many come from poor backgrounds and from parts of the world where opportunities are limited. We drive innovation and economic development.
Exit Strategies
When will shops reopen? UK coronavirus lockdown plan for opening non-essential stores - and what the current rules say
Boris Johnson set out the government’s lockdown exit plan in a speech to the nation on Sunday (10 May), unveiling plans to begin to reopen some shops and getting the economy restarted. The UK entered lockdown on 23 March, with non-essential businesses temporarily closing their doors, including most retail outlets. The closure of shops during lockdown has had a significant impact on the retail industry, with clothing outlets Oasis and Warehouse closing permanently, resulting in the loss of 1,800 jobs.
Coronavirus: Garden and recycling centre centres reopen as NI lockdown plan debated
Garden centres and recycling centres in NI can reopen from today, as part of the first steps to ease lockdown. Marriage ceremonies where a person is terminally ill are also allowed. Last week, the executive published a five-phase blueprint for lifting restrictions but it did not include a timeframe. Ministers have been meeting to decide whether the latest scientific advice means other restrictions can be lifted.
Put Army on Scotland-England border to stop lockdown trips, says councillor
“The Scottish police force don’t have the capacity to stop every car that is crossing the Border. I personally would put the Army on the Border and get them to stop people. “It will get worse and I can see it getting steadily worse in Oban and if it’s the case in Oban, it’s the case across the Highlands and islands.” He added that there was a noticeable increase in the number people who were not local appearing in the area and said: “I have seen people in what are reported to be holiday homes, different people in different weeks. There are still people getting here one way or another and sitting in holiday homes.
Fast in, first out: Denmark leads lockdown exit
Four weeks after Denmark began easing its lockdown, Danes on Monday returned to cafes and restaurants, confident that the coronavirus outbreak is under control. Denmark last month became the first country in Europe to reopen schools,
Which European countries are easing travel restrictions?
As several European countries reopen restaurants, bars, shops and some attractions, we round up lockdown easing measures and travel restrictions country-by-country
Italy prepares to ease lockdown restrictions
Manfredi Catella, CEO of COIMA, discusses the lifting of lockdown measures in Italy.
Coronavirus latest: Italy moves to lift travel restrictions as lockdown eases
The decision is a huge step in the country's efforts to kick-start its economy following two months of lockdown inactivity. Shops and restaurants are set to reopen on Monday providing that social distancing measures are adhered to. Religious services across faiths will also be allowed to go ahead from Monday. Worshippers will be asked to wear facemasks, as well as to adhere to social distancing restrictions.
Spain and Italy Ease Lockdown Restrictions
Spain and Italy, two of the hardest-hit European countries, eased coronavirus restrictions by opening shops and restaurants with new social distancing measures.
Spain aims to reopen borders to tourism in late June
Tourism-dependent Spain aims to reopen its borders around the end of June as its coronavirus lockdown fully unwinds, a minister said on Monday, while deaths fell below 100 for the second day in a row. Madrid last week surprised its European Union partners by imposing a two-week quarantine on all overseas travellers and effectively keeping its borders closed, saying it wanted to avoid a second wave of COVID-19. But the move was meant to be temporary and Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos said it would be phased out in parallel with travel being allowed within Spain.
Lockdowns eased across Europe as UK, Italy and Spain record significant falls in daily death tolls
Lockdowns across Europe are being eased, as the UK, Italy and Spain recorded a significant drop in their daily Covid-19 death tolls over the weekend. On Monday, beaches, restaurants and bars will reopen in Italy, which was the first country in Europe to implement a national lockdown. The easing of restrictions comes after Italy recorded its lowest daily death toll since its lockdown started in early March, with 145 people dying from coronavirus in the 24 hours up to Sunday.
Coronavirus: European countries further relax restrictions
Italy and Spain are among a number of European countries further easing their coronavirus lockdown restrictions on Monday. Most businesses in Italy, including bars and hairdressers, are reopening after more than two months of nationwide lockdown measures. Spain meanwhile has slightly eased restrictions on some of its least affected islands. The measures follow consistent drops in the number of daily recorded deaths. On Sunday, Italy recorded the fewest daily deaths since it entered lockdown in March.
Coronavirus: Don't book your holiday to France yet, as confusion over quarantine continues
The government then said there was no exemption for France and that talks were ongoing to negotiate how the border crossing would work to ensure the spread of COVID-19 is contained. Now, Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has said details of any quarantine between the UK and France are not yet confirmed. The Times has reported that lorry drivers travelling between the two countries could be among those who would be exempt from a two-week self-isolation period.
ANALYSIS: The nervous wait to see if France got its lockdown strategy right
It was a couple of days before life started to look something like normal - perhaps too normal. There were reports on Sunday of crowds on beaches or river-banks all over France. In my tiny village in Normandy, I saw three large groups of walkers pass my house - three more than on a pre-virus Sunday. Who can blame them? Should we blame them? We will soon know. Confusing and contradictory figures exist but it appears to take three to five days - and up to 14 days - for the first symptoms of Covid-19 appear.
Scotland aims to ease lockdown on 28 May
Coronavirus lockdown measures in Scotland could begin to be lifted from 28 May, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. The first minister said this would mean people could meet someone from another household as long as social distancing is maintained. More outdoor activities and sports like golf and fishing will also be allowed. Ms Sturgeon also announced that coronavirus testing will be extended to everyone in Scotland over the age of five who is displaying symptoms.
Coronavirus in the UK: Restaurants could sell food outdoors in next lockdown phase
Restaurants and pubs could be allowed to sell food and drink outdoors within the next few weeks as part of the next steps in easing the lockdown. The Government has now hired more than 17,000 contact tracers who will help to stop future outbreaks by identifying those who may have been infected with coronavirus. Ministers say the tracing system will be in place by the end of this month, potentially allowing further lockdown measures to be lifted.
NSW to unveil post-lockdown congestion management plan
The New South Wales government is set to unveil a plan today to manage the influx of people returning to work and school as the state moves out of lockdown. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has expressed concern over an increased use of roads and public transport, with more people likely to choose personal modes of transport to avoid being in close proximity to people on buses and trains. The plan to mitigate the added congestion would include new pop-up car parks, implementing social distancing on public transport and adding an extra cycling lane on some roads.
Expert says 4 key differences between US, Australia COVID-19 strategy
After months of lockdown, countries around the world are beginning to ease the lockdown restrictions put in place to curb the coronavirus' spread. Some Australian states and territories have begun to loosen their coronavirus restrictions, which were implemented early on in the country's outbreak. The country's overall number of coronavirus cases per day has been largely decreasing since early April. The US is also eager to reopen its economy, and several US states have begun to loosen lockdown measures. But as a whole, the country is still seeing huge spikes in its number of cases, and experts say some states are yet to reach their peak. Dr. Lesley Russell, who advised both the US and Australian governments on health policy, told Insider how Australia managed to get ahead of the virus while the US continues to lag behind.
Australia’s coronavirus lockdown rules and restrictions explained: how far can you travel, and can I visit my family or friends?
Politicians have said these rules are simple, but it is clear the public still has a lot of questions about coronavirus lockdown rules and restrictions. In most states enforcement is left up to police officers’ discretion, therefore it is difficult to provide exact information on what is or isn’t allowed. Here we try to answer some of the most common questions people have about the new laws based on the information, though these answers should not be treated as legal advice. An asterisk indicates Guardian Australia has sought clarification from the state or territory government and will update when it is received.
This is where Australians can travel during coronavirus lockdown
Over the past several weeks, Australia has successfully flattened the curve, making it one of just a handful of countries ready to start easing restrictions designed to stop the spread of coronavirus. But with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in a war of words over when state borders should reopen, it is clear not every leader is ready for life to return to some semblance of normal. All over the country, there have been strict quarantines enforced with few, if any, exemptions. Here's a rundown of what to expect in each state and territory.
New Zealand to roll out 'digital diary' app to help people track movements
New Zealand will launch a contact-tracing app on Wednesday to help people track their movements as the country eases one of the world's most rigid lockdowns designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the app can be best described as a 'digital diary' helping people to record their personal movements, adding the data would not be shared to anyone else besides the user. "It's just in case in the future if you find yourself with COVID-19, you've got an easy reference to tell where you've been over a period of time," Ardern said during a media briefing in Wellington. "It's for you, it's on your device, and it's your data and your information." New Zealand slightly eased curbs in late April and moved to 'level 2' in its scale of alert last week, allowing cafes, shops, restaurants and other public spaces including playgrounds to reopen under strict social distancing rules.
Coronavirus: Could London be allowed to ease its lockdown restrictions before the rest of UK?
Research suggesting the UK’s coronavirus infection rate varies significantly in different regions in England has sparked speculation over whether the government could lift lockdown restrictions at different times across the country. A study by Public Health England and the University of Cambridge‘s MRC Biostatic Unit found the rate of Covid-19 infections (R value) in England was on average 0.75 overall, but varied in different regions. This was most clear in London, which had an average R value of 0.4 ⁠— meaning for every 10 people who become infected with the virus, four other people will become infected.
Partisan Exits
China's Xi announces $2B for coronavirus response as WHO faces calls for investigation
Tensions surrounding the global handling of the coronavirus pandemic came to a head at the World Health Organization's assembly Monday, with China pledging an extra $2 billion to deal with the crisis and the United States blaming the WHO for a failed response that "cost many lives." Speaking by video link, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the 73rd World Health Assembly that his country's funding package would aid "economic and social development" in developing countries hit badly by COVID-19.
China supports review of global response to pandemic, as calls for inquiry grow
China's President Xi Jinping has said his country will support a review of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic after it is brought under control. Speaking via video-conference at the start of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly, Mr Xi also said his country would provide £1.6 billion over two years to help with the response to the pandemic. His comments come amid calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic - led by Australia - while in the US President Donald Trump has accused the WHO of helping China to "cover up" the extent of the initial Covid-19 outbreak.
US lockdown protests may have spread virus widely, cellphone data suggests
Cellphone location data suggests that demonstrators at anti-lockdown protests – some of which have been connected with Covid-19 cases – are often traveling hundreds of miles to events, returning to all parts of their states, and even crossing into neighboring ones. The data, provided to the Guardian by the progressive campaign group the Committee to Protect Medicare, raises the prospect that the protests will play a role in spreading the coronavirus epidemic to areas which have, so far, experienced relatively few infections. The anonymized location data was captured from opt-in cellphone apps, and data scientists at the firm VoteMap used it to determine the movements of devices present at protests in late April and early May in five states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Florida.
New clashes with police as anti-lockdown protests erupt across Europe
Thousands of people across Europe took to the streets to oppose their governments’ lockdown measures amid the pandemic. From London to Berlin and Warsaw, demonstrators clashed with police, who made several arrests, including that of Piers Corbyn, the brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. In Italy, hospitality workers protested in front of the Pantheon in Rome, claiming the safety measures required by the government will hinder their recovery efforts. .
Jair Bolsonaro joins anti-lockdown protest as Brazil overtakes Spain and Italy in confirmed coronavirus cases
A day after the country passed Spain and Italy to have the world's fourth-largest COVID-19 outbreak, Mr Bolsonaro did push-ups with paratroopers and flouted social-distancing measures to pose for photos with children. The rally came two days after the country's second health minister resigned within a month after contradicting the President's response to the outbreak. Brazil's confirmed COVID-19 cases have exceeded 230,000, behind only the United States, Russia and the UK, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Lockdown protests may have spread virus widely, cellphone data suggests
Cellphone location data suggests that demonstrators at anti-lockdown protests – some of which have been connected with Covid-19 cases – are often traveling hundreds of miles to events, returning to all parts of their states,
With cases still rising, why is Vladimir Putin pushing Russia out of its COVID lockdown?
Vladimir Putin has liberated his nation from its six-week coronavirus lockdown, but many Russians appear unsure what that means or if it's even prudent to exercise their newfound freedoms given that the country likely hasn't hit a peak in infections. "I don't know what to think," Christa Ivanovo told CBC on her way to the grocery store in Moscow, her one-year-old in tow. "If the rest of the world is under strict isolation … it makes sense we should [continue], too." Out of an abundance of caution, Ivanovo plans to maintain the self-isolation regime Muscovites have been living under for the past month and a half. I'm waiting to see what happens next week."
Coronavirus update: Brazil's President flouts social-distancing advice, Deputy CMO weighs into war of words over borders
The mayor of Brazil's largest city has urged residents to stop flouting coronavirus lockdown rules with Sao Paulo's public hospital system reaching 90 per cent capacity, as the country's President ignored social-distancing advice to pluck kids out of a crowd of supporters in Brasilia.
Coronavirus update: Boris Johnson admits public frustration with new 'complex' restrictions
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted there is public frustration with his government's measures to ease the coronavirus lockdown following widespread criticism of the new rules, which have been lashed for being confusing and containing mixed messages. Meanwhile, Australia's milling companies have switched to 24-hour operations and add new staff to keep up with the demand that saw supermarket shelves around the country stripped of all flour.
More anti-lockdown protests seen in Germany as coronavirus fatigue spreads in Europe
A number of protests against the government’s coronavirus policy and restrictive measures took place in various Germany cities, including Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart, on Saturday. Lockdown fatigue has grown in Europe despite the gradual easing of restrictions.
Continued Lockdown
India extends lockdown to May 31, to relax rules in some areas
India on Sunday extended a nationwide lockdown to May 31, as cases exceeded 90,000 and further clashes erupted between police and stranded migrants. Schools, malls and other public places will remain mostly closed, though rules will be relaxed in areas with low numbers of cases, according to an order from the interior ministry. "New guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in lockdown restrictions," the ministry said in a tweet accompanying the order. Large gatherings are still prohibited, but outside of containment zones with high numbers of active cases "all other activities will be permitted", it said, potentially allowing commerce and industry to reopen across much of the country.
UK on brink of mental health crisis because of lockdown
The UK could be on the brink of a mental health crisis as millions of Brits suffer the effects of lockdown. Studies and surveys are already showing the pandemic’s impact on mental health globally. Psychologists say children are anxious and increases in cases of depression have been recorded in several countries. Domestic violence is also rising, while health workers are reporting an increased need for psychological support
UK benefits ban leaves migrants struggling for food during lockdown
When Shabana Aslam’s husband, Irfan, was made redundant from his marketing job at a multinational entertainment company last month as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, the loss of the main household income left her wondering how the family would eat. The decision by Mr Aslam’s employer not to put him on to the UK’s job retention scheme meant the family’s monthly take-home pay fell 75 per cent, leaving the couple and their 11- and 13-year-old daughters to rely on Ms Aslam’s £1,300 monthly income as a teaching assistant. But rent alone comes to £1,400 a month and the couple are barred from claiming state benefits.
India extends lockdown as it surpasses China for most COVID-19 cases in Asia
India has extended a two-month-old lockdown by two weeks after reporting nearly 5000 new coronavirus cases but says restrictions could be eased in low-risk areas to boost economic activity.
India extends lockdown to May 31
The Indian government has extended its nationwide lockdown to May 31. But it now allows states to ease restrictions and reopen some businesses in areas with low numbers of infections. The federal government announced the two-week extension on Sunday, the day the lockdown was to end. The move came as the country recently recorded about 4,000 new infections per day. The cumulative figure has surpassed 90,000.
India forced to extend lockdown for another fortnight as case numbers surge
While announcing lockdown 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it would come in a "completely different form", with new rules. "Corona will be with us for a long time but our lives cannot revolve around it. We will wear masks, we will follow the six-foot distance, but we won't let it derail our targets," Modi said. Lockdown curbs were loosened further in many parts of the country. In many cities, restaurants were allowed to operate takeaway services, while sports complexes and stadiums could host events without spectators, the home affairs ministry said. The fourth phase of the lockdown in India will start from May 18 and last till May 31.
India extends COVID-19 lockdown after surge in cases
India on Sunday extended its nearly 2-month-old lockdown by two weeks after reporting nearly 5,000 new coronavirus cases, but said restrictions could be eased in low-risk areas to boost economic activity. After surpassing China on Saturday, India now has the most confirmed virus cases in Asia, with nearly 91,000. New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and some other key regions are still battling to control the rising curve of coronavirus infections. But the Home Ministry said low-risk areas will be allowed to restore economic activity.
Scientific Viewpoint
Vaccine could train body to fight coronavirus, say scientists
A vaccine could train the immune system to fight coronavirus, according to US scientists. Neutralising antibodies have been found in the first eight people who took part in safety trials for the experimental mRNA-1273 vaccine. The drug, being tested by firm Moderna, injects a small sample of Covid-19’s genetic code into patients.
WHO special envoy for Covid-19 says proper 'test, track and trace and isolate strategy' system needed in UK to 'reduce lockdown'
A senior doctor in the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that "test, track and trace and isolate strategy" is key for the UK to emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown. Dr David Nabarro, special envoy for the director-general of the WHO for the Covid-19 pandemic, said that being able to properly identify and track cases of Covid-19 is key to easing restrictions.
Coronavirus Resurgence
108 Million People in China Put Into Lockdown After 34 New Coronavirus Cases Detected
The Chinese province of Jilin has placed about 108 million people into lockdown on Monday after roughly 34 new cases of coronavirus and one death were identified in the region over the past few weeks, according to a new report from Bloomberg News. The new lockdown demonstrates widespread fear in China of witnessing another uncontrollable outbreak like the one in Wuhan that set off the global covid-19 pandemic in December 2019.
Chaos as eight schools in French city forced to close after child catches coronavirus
The schools in Roubaix, northern France, closed on Monday after a child caught Covid-19, just one week after schools reopened across the country, with 70 cases confirmed at other schools
Covid 19 coronavirus: Australia closes 12 McDonald's restaurants
Twelve Australian McDonald's restaurants have been closed for deep cleaning after a delivery truck driver contracted coronavirus. It comes after seven new cases of the virus were recorded in Victoria on Sunday and one new case in NSW.
Alarm as Germany uncovers another abattoir cluster after easing coronavirus lockdown
Germany has uncovered another cluster of coronavirus infections at a slaughterhouse, fuelling alarm about working conditions in the country's meat packing plants. A total of 92 employees at the Westfleisch slaughterhouse in Lower Saxony state have tested positive, local authorities in Osnabrueck district announced late Sunday (May 17). The plant has been closed until further notice and staff have been placed in quarantine, joining a string of German slaughterhouses that have suffered similar outbreaks.
Coronavirus flare-ups force France to re-close some schools
Just one week after a third of French schoolchildren went back to school in an easing ofthe coronavirus lockdown, there's been a worrying flareup of about 70 COVID-19 cases linked to schools. Some schools were opened last week and a further 150,000 junior high students went back to the classroom Monday as further restrictions were loosened by the government. The move initially spelled relief: the end of homeschooling for many hundreds of thousands of exhausted French parents, many whom were also working from home.
Coronavirus: France reports 70 new COVID-19 cases linked to schools one week after reopening
There have been 70 new cases of COVID-19 linked to schools in France just one week after they reopened. The spike in coronavirus cases came just days after a third of French children returned to school as the country eased its coronavirus lockdown. Boris Johnson has outlined plans for schools in England to reopen from 1 June, with Downing Street saying on Monday a decision on whether to go ahead will be taken this week. The government claims four-year-olds are capable of social distancing, but it is fighting a war of words with teachers, parents and doctors who say it is “too risky” to let children return to schools.
China tightens lockdown measures on north-eastern cities after discovering new coronavirus clusters as officials arrange mass-testing to prevent a second wave
Chinese officials enforced more restrictions on Shulan, a city of 600,000 people. Shulan has been under lockdown since May 9 after reporting an infection cluster. The city of Jilin with 4.5 million residents sealed off one of its districts yesterday. The cities of Jilin and Shulan are located in the same northwestern province Jilin. Over 40,000 local citizens were screened for COVID-19 to avoid a second wave
Coronavirus: Fresh outbreak continues to spread despite hundreds of Chinese villages being placed under lockdown
A fresh outbreak of coronavirus in northeastern China is continuing to spread despite lockdowns being imposed on hundreds of villages and multiple cities. A trickle of new cases in Jilin province had initially been attributed to Chinese nationals returning from across the Russian border, largely centred in Shulan city, where a partial lockdown was swiftly imposed on 600,000 residents last weekend. But by Saturday, the province had reported a total of 125 locally transmitted cases, including two deaths, state media reported. Some 28 patients are still in hospital, 95 have been discharged and nearly 1,000 close contacts are under observation.
Coronavirus Victoria: Villa Maria aged care in lockdown over inconclusive diagnosis
A Melbourne aged care facility has gone into lockdown after a resident returned an inconclusive test result for coronavirus. The Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) Bundoora resident was taken to hospital with a body temperature of 39 degrees at the weekend. "As this is a symptom of COVID-19, the resident was tested, with the initial test results being inconclusive (neither negative nor positive)," a VMCH spokeswoman said in a statement.
New Lockdown
Over 100 Million in China’s Northeast Thrown Back Under Lockdown
Some 108 million people in China’s northeast region are being plunged back under lockdown conditions as a new and growing cluster of infections causes a backslide in the nation’s return to normal.
Countries that imposed lockdown again as coronavirus cases spiked
At least six countries have had to restart their coronavirus lockdowns weeks after loosening them. China, Germany, Iran, South Korea, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia all reimposed partial new measures after discovering a spike in infections. The renewed lockdowns are often limited to various districts where the virus has spiked, or limited to particular aspects such as travel restrictions or a curfew. The decision to ease lockdown measures may not have been dictated solely by public health: many of these six countries have been under political or economic pressure to reopen.

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 20th May 2020

News Highlights

UK: Cycling and walking seem as key in era of social distancing

As the UK emerges from lockdown, walking and cycling are being backed as alternatives to public transport, as people who are not able to work from home are encouraged back to work. Pedestrian activity in London has soared in the seven days to May 18.

France: top court bans drones, lifts ban on religious meetings

France's highest administrative court ruled Monday that the government must lift a blanket ban on meetings at places of worship imposed as part of the measures to combat the coronavirus. French police have also been banned from using drones to keep an eye on the public during the coronavirus epidemic.

U.S. eases lockdown as Trump criticizes WHO

Some U.S. automakers started production on Monday and workers appeared reassured by the precautions being taken at these factories. Additionally, lockdown restrictions have been eased across several states, as anti-lockdown protests continued. President Trump, though, is threatening to permanently pull funding from the WHO unless it commits to improvements in the next 30 days.

Mexico resists lifting lockdown while clashes erupt in Chile

Local authorities across Mexico are resisting President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's call to lift lockdown measures in municipalities without confirmed Covid-19 cases. In locked down Chile, police clashed with people protesting about food shortages in one of Santiago's poorest neighbourhoods.

Lockdown Exit
Automakers back to work as US eases coronavirus lockdown
Some Detroit automakers started cranking out vehicles Monday, but it will take longer to fully restart other plants. Workers appeared reassured by the precautions. At a Fiat Chrysler pickup truck assembly plant in Warren, outside Detroit, workers entered a giant white tent with a sign reading, “Let's restart and keep each other safe." They had their temperatures checked and answered questions on whether they had COVID-19 symptoms. “I feel safer than being anywhere at any stores,
Can I go to the beach in lockdown? UK coronavirus rules explained, and the difference between countries
Boris Johnson recently unveiled plans for lockdown restrictions to ease in England over the coming months, as part of phased plans to reopen shops, pubs, restaurants and get kids back to schools. Exercise is now allowed on an unlimited basis, but is a day at the beach allowed? Here’s what you need to know.
Coronavirus: Push for cycling despite safety fears
UK towns and cities must be made cycle-friendly if a change to commuting habits is to succeed, campaigners say. Cycling and walking are being backed as alternatives to public transport as people who are not able to work from home, are encouraged back to work. The latest government survey data before lockdown, however, showed three in five people thought cycling on the road was too dangerous - 61%. Campaign groups said infrastructure improvements would be key. The government has released a £250m "emergency active travel fund" aimed at helping towns prevent overcrowding as lockdown is lifted and it has issued guidance to councils. Cycling UK said now was a "golden opportunity" to encourage people.
Here’s everything you need to know about level 3 of UK lockdown
The UK will soon be able to enter into ‘level three’ of lockdown, according to Business Secretary, Alok Sharma. Sharma’s announcement came at Sunday’s (17 May) daily press briefing, where he said such a move was only possible due to the public adhering to the government's social distancing guidelines. He thanked the public saying, “Throughout the period of lockdown we have been at level four. Thanks to you, people across the country, we have collectively helped to bring the R level down. We are now in a position to begin moving to level three, in careful steps.”
UK lockdown: Pedestrian activity soars 25 per cent as Londoners get back to work
The lag in pedestrian activity suggests employers and staff needed time to ensure safe working conditions and commutes were in place. In the seven days to 18 May pedestrian traffic was up 7.6 per cent to 11.24 points, according to Hoxton Analytics. A reading of 100 represents normal pedestrian levels. Last week the government announced the easing of some lockdown restrictions in England. People have been told to return to work if they cannot work from home and individuals that do not live together are able to meet up outdoors at a distance of two metres. Non-essential shops could reopen from 1 June at the earliest, while pubs and other hospitality venues will be waiting until at least 4 July before opening their doors to the public.
Germany Is Reopening. And Learning a Tough Lesson.
A bitter irony that in the country’s brief moment of vindication, all the old conflicts are re-emerging. It makes the early togetherness look shallow, a product of our instincts for survival rather than of humanitarian insight. So instead of solidarity, we have strife. In place of unity, division. It looks like this is Germany’s new normal, too.
'I can taste the flavour much more': Italians rediscover eating out
For some, being able to frequent Italy’s bars and restaurants on Monday after more than two months of lockdown was akin to ending a strict dietary regime. “I can taste the fullness of the flavour much more,” said Sandro Urbani as he drank a glass of white Sangiovanni wine outside Caffè Barrique in the Umbrian town of Orvieto. “It’s as if I’ve been on a diet over the past few months and all of a sudden I can eat a slice of salami.” Italians have been given another taste of freedom with the reopening of bars, restaurants, hairdressers and all other retailers on Monday as the country tries to revive its economy after the coronavirus emergency.
Italian cities reopen after two months of coronavirus lockdowns – video
Italy has started easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions and some shops, restaurants and museums have reopened for the first time in two months. Physical distancing remains but people in Rome were able to enjoy a drink or visit mass. In Venice, stores and restaurants reopened, though without the usual crowds of tourists around
The Taliban are joining Afghanistan’s fight against covid-19
The official in charge of the Afghan government’s response to covid-19 in a rural district near the city of Herat recently received a dressing-down by phone. The caller berated him for the lack of masks at a particular clinic. Local bureaucrats needed to get their act together quickly, the caller instructed. The man delivering the rebuke was not some big cheese from the ministry of health in Kabul, however, but a member of the Taliban, the rebels who have been trying to overthrow the government since 2001, when they themselves were ousted from power by American-backed forces.
Italy Reopens Hair Salons as Coronavirus Crisis Eases
Italy Reopens Hair Salons as Coronavirus Crisis Eases - NYT reports on how Italy's hair salons are re-emerging from the coronavirus crisis
France’s highest court has banned police from using drones to watch the public in Paris and rest of country during ease of Coronavirus lockdown rules
French police have been banned from using drones to keep an eye on the public during the coronavirus pandemic. The ban will apply until there is a proper legal basis for their deployment or until they have been adapted so that individuals being filmed cannot be identified, the country’s highest court, the Conseil d’Etat, has decided. France’s Human Rights League announced the news on Monday May 18 saying it was a “real victory.” It took the case to the Conseil after its attempt to have the use banned was rejected by a lower court. Some 20 drones have been used by the police in Paris over recent weeks under the control of the Prefecture of Police whose head, the Prefect Didier Lallement is a controversial law and order disciplinarian. He has already had to formally apologise for having said that those in hospital resuscitation wards during the health crisis were people who had disobeyed the rules of the lockdown.
Volunteers helps Nevis Range prepare for life after lockdown
Volunteers are rallying around to prepare the Nevis Range resort for a return after lockdown and the biggest challenge in its 30-year history. The snowsports, mountain biking and outdoor activities destination near Fort William has organised a bike trail maintenance day and a litter-picking weekend in advance of re-opening when restrictions are lifted. Dates for the events will be scheduled when the lockdown eases and it is safe for staff and local volunteers to work alongside each other. Already more than 50 people have signed up to help and others have expressed interest in getting involved.
After the Coronavirus Lockdown Ends, Here is Life in China's Wuhan
For more than two months, the people of Wuhan, China, lived under lockdown as their city buckled beneath the weight of the coronavirus that emerged there. Then, gradually, cases ebbed. On April 8, the lockdown was lifted. Now, the residents of Wuhan are cautiously feeling their way toward an uncertain future, some of the first in the world to do so. There is trauma and grief, anger and fear. But there is also hope, gratitude and a newfound patience. Here are four of their stories.
Air pollution is already spiking in China with the virus lockdown lifted
Air pollution in China has already bounced back from astounding lows during the country's coronavirus shutdown to monthly levels exceeding those recorded during the same period last year, data show. Chinese government figures confirm a spike in April, which the Finland-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) warns could herald the beginning of a "dirty" economic rebound from the crisis in China.
Managing COVID-19 transmissions in post-lockdown China
COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan in December 2019, a few days before the Chinese Spring Festival. The three billion trips via China’s mass transit system during the Spring Festival travel rush may have contributed to its spread across the country. But in late March, China declared its COVID-19 peak over as Wuhan reported zero new cases for seven consecutive days. This was followed by the lifting of Wuhan’s lockdown on 8 April. However, a majority of China’s new cases are now imported, prompting a two-pronged strategy to control both imported cases and potential domestic transmission after lifting lockdown.
Cinemas start to reopen in Japan, showing Hollywood classics like The Wizard of Oz and Ben Hur
Cinemas across Japan have begun to reopen, after being closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Without any new blockbuster releases, however, cinemas are resorting to screening old Hollywood classics to draw in crowds. Sword-and-sandal flick Ben Hur and musical fantasy The Wizard of Oz are among the films returning to cinemas.
Drive-in concerts to be tested in Australia this week
This Thursday (May 21), singer-songwriter and Australian Idol winner Casey Donovan is set to perform with her band at Sydney’s first-ever live theatre drive-in. The performance is organised by Drive-In Entertainment Australia and will be held at the Robyn Webster Sports Centre from 12:00pm to 1:00pm AEST. In accordance with current social distancing rules, patrons will participate in the concert remotely from their vehicles with two options for sound: tuning into an FM radio frequency and/or rolling down their windows. Extra safety restrictions will be enforced to ensure the event complies with government-mandated regulations.
NZ's economy likely to bounce back faster than Australia's due to stricter lockdown - expert
New Zealand's stricter lockdown and containment measures could lead to an earlier economic recovery than Australia, HSBC Australia's chief economist says.
New Zealand becomes the latest country to allow children back to school
Hundreds of thousands of New Zealand children returned to lesson on Monday as schools around the world continue to reopen as coronavirus lockdowns ease. Excited youngsters greeted classmates for the first time in eight weeks in cities such as Wellington and Auckland after parents dropped them off at 'kiss and go zones' at the gate as part of strict social distancing measures. Schools in Austria, Belgium and Portugal also reopened their doors for the first time in weeks on Monday, while more children were allowed to return to lessons in Greece. Lessons have already resumed for pupils in France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Australia, parts of Canada and China as the global spread of disease slowed.
Exit Strategies
Mexico begins lifting Covid-19 lockdown despite fears worst is still to come
Local authorities across Mexico have resisted President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s call to lift emergency coronavirus measures in municipalities without confirmed Covid-19 cases, warning that the pandemic is far from over. The decision to resume comes amid questions over the Amlo administration’s coronavirus response, which has depended heavily on disease modeling and involved little testing and no contact tracing.
Coronavirus: think tank ranks council wards in order of Covid risk, as it calls for lockdown to be lifted in low risk areas first
A map ranking the Covid risk for each of Scotland's 354 council wards has been created, with parts of Inverclyde and Clydebank most in danger. Researchers and analysts at new think tank Scotianomics used multiple dataset sets to draw up its Covid-19 Community Risks Index, the most detailed possible picture of which Scottish communities are most under threat.
Spain coronavirus lockdown: what restrictions have been eased - and if travel will be allowed this summer
Residents celebrated their restored freedom on Saturday (2 May) by cycling, walking and runing along the streets in Barcelona and Madrid, as the country begins its four-phase plan to lift its nationwide lockdown. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez aims to return the country to a “new normality” by the end of June.
Coronavirus: Spain lifts ban on flights from Italy and reopens sea border as lockdown eased
Spain has lifted a ban on all sea and air travel coming from Italy as it looks to further ease lockdown restrictions, officials have confirmed. Travellers from Italy will have to comply, however, with a two-week quarantine like other foreign visitors, while a state of emergency remains in place. Officials in Madrid announced a nationwide lockdown on 14 March in a bid to help stop the spread of the disease, but have begun to loosen measures in recent weeks.
Spain says when UK tourists will be able to visit country again after lockdown
The country's transport minister has said that it hopes to restart its travel economy in time for the summer holidays. Currently, travel restrictions mean British holidaymakers cannot enter the country as its strict lockdown restrictions continue until May 24 - despite slight easing of the coronavirus confinement beginning to take place. The Spanish government extended its travel ban, meaning Brits and non-EU travellers will be denied entry, from May 15, up until June 15.
France, Germany chart 500 bn euro virus rescue as European lockdown eases
France and Germany on Monday laid out plans for a 500-billion-euro ($544 billion) European fund backed by joint EU borrowing to fight the economic fallout from the coronavirus, as the continent pushed ahead towards normality with major landmarks reopening after a two month-hiatus. St Peter's Basilica and the Acropolis in Athens opened their doors to visitors alongside many European shops, restaurants and churches, as Italy reported that its daily death toll from the virus had fallen below 100 for the first time since early March. More than 4.7 million people have tested positive and 315,270 have been killed by the disease since it emerged in Wuhan late last year, according to an AFP tally. Recent days have seen soaring infections in Brazil, India and South Africa.
French government ordered to lift coronavirus lockdown ban on religious meetings
France's highest administrative court ruled Monday that the government must lift a blanket ban on meetings at places of worship imposed as part of measures to combat the coronavirus. After receiving complaints from several individuals and associations, the Council of State said that such a ban on freedom of worship caused "a damage that is serious and manifestly illegal". It told the government to lift the ban within the next eight days. The latest government decree on measures to combat the coronavirus -- even after the lockdown in France was eased from May 11 -- bans all gatherings in places of worship except funerals which are limited to 20 people.
Lockdown and release: Ontario's imperfect wall against COVID-19 is about to be severely tested
On Tuesday, the Ontario government begins the first stage of a gradual reopening of one of the country’s worst-hit provinces after almost two months of emergency lockdown. Mass physical distancing did little to prevent more than a thousand lonely deaths in long- term care across the province. It failed to prevent outbreaks among the homeless. It has still not brought the daily count of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario below 300. But as a first, imperfect, layer, physical distancing worked. It bought the province time: to shore up hospitals, to secure protective equipment, to expand testing and contact tracing. It gave the province space to prepare for what experts believe will be an 18-24-month fight against the virus in the community. It gave them time to build that imperfect wall.
Gujarat Lockdown 4.0 Guidelines Update: No relaxation in COVID-19 Containment Zones; Shops, offices to open
In a major relief to people affected due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, the Gujarat government on Monday announced several relaxations, including opening of markets and shops in non-containment zones, from Tuesday. While there will be no relaxations in containment zones, shops and offices in non-containment zone can remain open between 8 am and 4 pm, said Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. However, such business and commercial establishments need to follow odd-even formula, wherein only 50 per cent establishments can remain open on any given day. Moreover, the government has also allowed reopening of barber shops and salons in non-containment zones besides shops selling paan masala.
Are New Zealand's new COVID-19 laws and powers really a step towards a police state?
Reaction to the New Zealand government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has ranged from high praise to criticism that its actions were illegal and its management chaotic. Partly in response to the concerns, and to put the continued containment of the disease on a firmer legal footing, the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act was passed under urgency on May 14. It was quickly met with another wave of discontent.
Up to 1,500 English primary schools to defy 1 June reopening plan
Up to 1,500 primary schools in England are expected to remain closed on 1 June after a rebellion by at least 18 councils forced the government to say it had no plans to sanction them. As the backlash escalated over the government’s policy of lifting the coronavirus lockdown on schools in a fortnight, a number of new local authorities said on Tuesday they would not force primary schools in their area to follow the plan. Councils joining those already in opposition included Birmingham, Calderdale council in Yorkshire, and Conservative-controlled Solihull. In total they represent more than 1,500 maintained primaries.
Breaking: All University lectures to be online-only in 2020-21
A leaked email seen by Varsity outlines plans for all lectures in the 2020-21 academic year to be conducted virtually. Head of Education Services, Alice Benton wrote to Senior Tutors today (19/05) to inform them that the ‘General Board’s Education Committee’ has ‘agreed that, since it is highly likely that rigid social distancing will be required throughout the next academic year, there will be no face-to-face lectures next year.’ Benton writes that the ‘decision has been taken to provide a degree of certainty to facilitate Faculties and Departments when planning for educational delivery next academic year’ and proposes that the move is ‘in line with thinking across the sector’.
Coronavirus: Security flaws found in NHS contact-tracing app
Wide-ranging security flaws have been flagged in the Covid-19 contact-tracing app being piloted in the Isle of Wight. The security researchers involved have warned the problems pose risks to users' privacy and could be abused to prevent contagion alerts being sent. GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) told the BBC it was already aware of most of the issues raised and is in the process of addressing them. But the researchers suggest a more fundamental rethink is required.
Spain's King and Economy Minister at Event Over Lockdown Limit
Spain’s King Felipe gave a speech at a conference in Madrid on Monday attended by the economy minister and others in an audience over the size authorised for public events under the capital’s strict coronavirus lockdown rules. Pictures on the Spanish Royal House’s Twitter account showed at least 20 people at the event held by innovation foundation Cotec at the headquarters of telecom firm Telefonica. Spain is easing restrictions and regulations vary according to regions, but gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited in Madrid, Spain’s health ministry press office said in an email to Reuters.
Partisan Exits
Coronavirus: Right-wing anti-lockdown protest hailed by Trump featured disturbing ‘hang Fauci’ sign
“People can’t get enough of this. Great people!” Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday in support of the protesters, many of whom were the president’s supporters. Though the sign calling for the execution of Dr Anthony Fauci did not feature in the social media video, it appeared in a TV report by Mr Vesey for News 12 Long Island.
‘Great people!’ Trump backs anti-lockdown protesters filmed harassing reporter in Long Island
Donald Trump has backed a group of anti-lockdown protesters in Long Island, New York, who were filmed harassing and insulting a journalist who had turned up to cover their demonstration. The president retweeted a video by journalist Kevin Vesey talking about what he called “alarming” levels of anger from the people he spoke to but pledging to cover their story fairly. Mr Trump added the comment: “People can’t get enough of this. Great people!”
The UK was late going into lockdown and is now coming out too fast
Children spread Covid-19 less than adults, but it is unclear how much less. I have complete sympathy with those unions advising their members not to trust this government with decisions about their health. Eton and other private schools attended by the children of Conservative MPs seem certain to stay shut till September. If the return goes ahead, then schools need PPE & training in its use; hand washing stations throughout the school; staggered arrivals and departures; very reduced class sizes; constant cleaning of all surfaces; frequent testing of staff for infection; transport to the school that is safe (not a crowded bus); a locally run contact tracing & isolation plan in place for outbreaks and parents taking their children’s temperature testing before they get to school.
UK Minister sidesteps question on relaxed lockdown rules in England undermining virus control measures in North Wales
The Foreign Secretary sidestepped a question about whether relaxing the lock down in England was undermining efforts to control Covid-19 infection rates in North Wales. Dominic Raab, speaking at 10 Downing Street’s daily coronavirus meeting, said there had been “good collaboration” between his Government and the devolved powers. He also said the UK Government “recognised” nations may go at different speeds but claimed there had been a “UK-wide approach” to tackling the virus. On the specific question of whether he thought relaxed lock down rules in England undermined attempts in Wales to keep Covid-19 infection rates down he was less forthcoming.
Britain Doesn't Want to Come Out of Lockdown
On the question of whether to prioritize the economy or the well-being of older people, Brits are much more bothered about the latter. After four years of Brexit divisions, the U.K. is conditioned to expecting intergenerational divides (older people tended to vote for Brexit while younger ones wanted to stay in the European Union). But that split hasn’t been apparent during the pandemic. Lockdown support has spanned all age groups, even though retirees are 34 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than working-age Britons.
Spain's 1% Revolt Against Continued Coronavirus Lockdown
After enduring one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world, Spain is beginning to ease its coronavirus restrictions — but the efforts have not come without controversy. Since last week, millions of people have been allowed to visit friends and family, and sit outside at bars and cafes, in parts of the country where the epidemic is sufficiently under control. In response, after first banging pots and pans each night from their balconies, hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in Madrid’s wealthy Salamanca neighborhood over the past week. Waving Spanish flags and crying “Viva España!” some protesters have denounced Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s leftist government as communists who are ruining the country.
Leaked Pentagon memo warns coronavirus pandemic could last until summer 2021: report | TheHill
A leaked Pentagon memo on Tuesday revealed that top Department of Defense (DOD) officials have been planning for the possibility that the military could be dealing with a “globally-persistent” coronavirus pandemic well into 2021. The memo, obtained by Task & Purpose, also warned of the “real possibility” that a vaccine for COVID-19 won’t be available until “at least the summer of 2021.” “We have a long path ahead, with the real possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19. Therefore, we must now re-focus our attention on resuming critical missions, increasing levels of activity, and making necessary preparations should a significant resurgence of COVID-19 occur later this year,” it read.
Coronavirus: Donald Trump threatens to permanently cut off World Health Organisation funding
Donald Trump has threatened to permanently pull funding from the World Health Organisation (WHO) unless it commits to improvements within 30 days. The US president said he would also reconsider the country's WHO membership, previously saying the global health body did a "very sad job" in handling the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Trump suspended US contributions to the WHO last month, accusing it of promoting China's "disinformation" about the virus outbreak.
US and UK 'lead push against global patent pool for Covid-19 drugs'
Efforts to dilute world health assembly resolution on open licensing decried as ‘appalling.’ “In general, it is a disappointment, appalling really. There was better text that was rejected,” said Jamie Love, the director of the NGO Knowledge Ecology International. “The US, UK, Swiss and some others pushed against the WHO taking the lead in pushing for open licensing of patents and know-how for drugs and vaccines. “In a global crisis like this, that has such a massive impact on everyone, you would expect the WHO governing body to have the backbone to say no monopolies in this pandemic. It’s one thing for a country to use its economic clout to buy preferential access to drugs or vaccines. It’s another to prevent others from manufacturing and expanding global supply.”
Continued Lockdown
‘Don’t Come’: Hawaii Enforces Strict Lockdown Measures
Being thousands of miles from the nearest continent and reachable almost exclusively by air travel puts Hawaii in a unique position to not just contain the virus, but potentially eradicate it there, said Dr. Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “By every metric that we follow they’ve done a terrific job in being able to stop the spread,” he said. “If you can get the community spread under control and you can implement strict screening of passengers, you really can stop the epidemic in their state.” Ige has signaled he plans to maintain the tough stance on arriving travelers, even as several parts of the mainland U.S. begin to reopen their economies. While the state has already begun to reopen recreational draws including some state parks, beaches and golf courses with social distancing measures, Ige last week said he planned to extend the travel quarantine through the end of June.
Coronavirus: UK lockdown sparked steepest drop in working hours in a decade
Britain’s coronavirus lockdown triggered the steepest drop in working hours in a decade, according to official figures. The new figures lay bare the economic cost of the country’s efforts to control the virus, with millions of workers’ jobs and incomes taking a heavy hit. Total hours worked in the final week of March plummeted by 25% compared to the average over the previous three months. Prime minister Boris Johnson ordered Britain to go into lockdown on 23 March, leading many firms to temporarily shut up shop.
UK unemployment claims soar amid coronavirus lockdown
UK unemployment claims soared by more than 69% in April after the coronavirus lockdown gripped the labour market, official figures revealed. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) said that jobless claims under Universal Credit surged by 856,000 to 2.1 million in April, compared with the previous month. Official statisticians also said that early estimates for April 2020 indicate that the number of paid employees fell by 1.6% compared to March, as firms began to feel a greater impact from the lockdown.
Lockdown Stringency Has Largest Impact in Spain, France, U.S.
A 10-point increase in lockdown stringency leads to a 4% drop in economic activity on average, according to Bloomberg Economics analysis of data from the Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker. Yet the headline result masks differences between countries. In Spain, France and the U.S., unit increases in the stringency of lockdown appear to have a larger impact on activity, while in Canada, Australia, and Sweden, the impact seems to be smaller.
Digital schooling is no ‘great leveller’ – education in lockdown is more divided than ever
Private school students are twice as likely to attend online classes than those in comprehensives, Shadim Hussain says. Suddenly democratising the internet doesn't sound so far-fetched
Coronavirus: The number of 'excess deaths' in care homes and hospitals compared with normal times is revealed
More than 20,000 more deaths have been recorded in care homes in England and Wales this year compared with the average.
Wild protests break out in Chile over Covid-19 lockdown food shortages
Police and protesters clashed in Santiago on Monday amid a city-wide lockdown meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus as local officials warned that food shortages had hit one of the Chilean capital´s poorest neighborhoods. A group of protesters threw rocks, shouted and burned piles of wood along a street in the destitute neighborhood on Santiago’s southern fringe. Images on social media and local television showed police spraying tear gas and water cannons to disperse the growing crowd. The municipality said in a statement that families were going hungry in the poorest sectors of El Bosque, a neighborhood where many work informally, or not at all. The city district has been under quarantine since mid-April, city officials said in a statement.
Scientific Viewpoint
Coronavirus: UK risks fresh pandemic by easing lockdown further before ‘test-and-trace’ scheme, health chief warns
Government plans to further ease the lockdown before the ‘test-and-trace’ scheme to catch infections finally starts risks a fresh pandemic, a health chief is warning. Greg Fell, the director for Public Health Sheffield, hit out after No 10 suggested more restrictions could be lifted on 1 June – including schools reopening – even if the programme is hit by further delays. “I think we need to have the test and trace system working before we start to fundamentally reopen society,” Mr Fell said.
Study projects US COVID-19 deaths to triple by end of year
"COVID-19 infection is deadlier than flu — we can put that debate to rest," said Anirban Basu, a health economist at the University of Washington who authored the study. If the infection fatality rate is accurate, and if the coronavirus continues spreading at current rates even before most states open their economies and relax social distancing restrictions, COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, could claim between 350,000 and 1.2 million American lives by the end of this year, Basu found. "This is a staggering number, which can only be brought down with sound public health measures," Basu said in a press release announcing the study, which appears in the journal Health Affairs.
Coronavirus: Dundee medical expert believes UK lockdown has saved almost one million lives
It is only a month since we were seeing 1,000 coronavirus deaths a day in the UK, with the numbers doubling every four days. If that had continued we would probably be around the peak of the epidemic by now, and have hundreds of thousands of bodies to bury. While 30,000 deaths is awful, the difference is a huge achievement and this is largely due to changes in our behaviour.
Italian doctor at ARI shares experience of watching UK enter lockdown, a fortnight after Italy
An Italian doctor working in Aberdeen says she felt “calm and prepared” as the coronavirus crisis loomed in Scotland, having learned about the hardship from quarantined family and friends in her homeland. She said although there are a number of differences between how Italy and the UK has handled the pandemic, the situation has been managed admirably by staff at the north-east’s flagship hospital. She added: “I had really hoped we would be prepared, and certainly I must say that Aberdeen Royal Infirmary has been very prepared.”
To prevent a second coronavirus wave, we need to look beyond the R number
In Germany, where shops and restaurants have tentatively reopened, the reproduction number R has risen to 1.1. In Seoul, a recent outbreak of at least 170 infections has been linked to five bars and nightclubs. Even in South Korea, one of the most successful countries at controlling the virus, there’s no room for complacency. As a veterinary epidemiologist, I study how viruses spread between animals and animal populations. The principles of viral transmission are much the same in humans (indeed, many scientists work on both). The concept of a second wave in public health is often linked to factors outside of human control. This might include the birth of infants who are susceptible to a particular disease causing the wavelike patterns we see in childhood illnesses, or environmental factors that influence the seasonality of influenza. But for Covid-19, the anticipation of a second wave has more to do with actions within our control.
China's Top Medical Advisor Warns The Country May Now Face a Second Wave of COVID-19
"The majority of... Chinese at the moment are still susceptible of the COVID-19 infection, because (of) a lack of immunity," Zhong Nanshan, the public face of government's response to the pandemic, told CNN. "We are facing (a) big challenge," Zhong added. "It's not better than the foreign countries I think at the moment." Zhong, who helped expose the scale of the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), also said authorities in ground-zero Wuhan had under-reported cases during the early days of the pandemic. "The local authorities, they didn't like to tell the truth at that time," said Zhong, who was part of a team of experts sent to Wuhan to investigate the outbreak.
Coronavirus: Parliament told there is 'no evidence' virus came from Wuhan laboratory
An expert says there is "really no evidence" the virus was engineered in a laboratory, But speaking to the House of Lords science and technology committee on Tuesday, Professor David Robertson dismissed the conspiracy theory as "unlikely".
Coronavirus will 'settle into human population and become normal', expert says
COVID-19 is "so successful" that it will never be eradicated, a virus expert has claimed, as fears of a second spike continue to grow. Professor David Robertson, head of viral genomics and bioinformatics at the University of Glasgow, believes the highly infectious respiratory infection is "almost uncontrollable". "It is so transmissible, it's so successful, we're so susceptible, that actually it's a little bit of a red herring to worry about it getting worse, because it couldn't be much worse at the moment in terms of the numbers of cases," he told the House of Lords Science and Technology committee on Tuesday.
World faces risk of 'vaccine nationalism' in COVID-19 fight, says CEPI chair
It's a problem Jane Halton, a former WHO board member, calls "vaccine nationalism." "I worry that some countries will see that there is strategic advantage in the use of any developed vaccine, if they are