COVID-19: How the world’s severely affected countries plan to return post lockdown

With the spread of coronavirus that has rampantly taken over the globe, many countries have been under a self-imposed lockdown for months and days at stretch. With the rising numbers of positive cases, these countries have a tough task at bringing back normalcy in a post COVID scenario.

However, the rate of positive cases has also fallen in some countries and they are now planning their futuristic processes to bring back normalcy. Let’s look at some of the main countries that were largely affected by the virus, and their plans for relaxation.

New Zealand –
After 19 deaths, 1472 positive cases and weeks of lockdown, New Zealand has finally said that they have ‘eliminated’ the coronavirus. The country has moved from level four to level three of restrictions and the cases are now in single digits.

According to Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s Director General of Health, “That does give us confidence that we’ve achieved our goal of elimination, which never meant zero but it does mean we know where our cases are coming from.”

In mid-March, New Zealand announced self-isolation for everyone entering the country. Later it banned foreigners from entering the country, and then finally put a lockdown in place.

The country has now moved to a less restrictive lockdown. Approximately 400,000 more citizens are headed back to work. According to the government, 75% of the country’s economy is in operation. Level three means people will be able to hold small funerals and buy takeaways. Level three is a recovery room to assess the future course of action.

Italy –
After being the epicentre of coronavirus that spared no inch of the country, Italy is finally seeing a fall in numbers.

Italy has now devised a plan to gradually end the lockdown it had imposed almost about seven weeks ago. It would now begin phase two of lifting the lockdown.

Empty streets of Italy

The country is planning to relax the restrictions from May 4 onwards, with people being allowed to visit their relatives in small numbers.

Parks, factories and building sites will reopen, but schools will not restart classes until September. Apart from this, funerals will be allowed, with a maximum of 15 people attending it. Bars and restaurants will reopen for takeaway service from May 4, other than delivery services.

Hairdressers, beauty salons, bars and restaurants are expected to reopen for dine-in service from June 1. Pending retail shops will reopen on May 18 along with museums and libraries and sports teams will be allowed to hold group training from May 18 onwards.

Social distancing will continue for another month.

Spain –
Another country that had seen large numbers affected because of the coronavirus. Even though the construction and manufacturing sectors returned to work on April 13, the government has said that the nationwide confinement will continue till May.

France –
With more than 10,000 deaths, France plans to extend their current measures. President Emmanuel Macron said schools and shops would gradually re-open from May 11, but restaurants, hotels, cafes and cinemas would remain shut for longer.

Also Read: COVID-19: Effective on monkeys, Oxford vaccine to be mass produced in India

Germany –
The government has allowed stores of up to 800 square metres (8,611 square feet), car dealers and bike shops, to reopen from April 20. Schools will reopen from May 4.

Austria –
Apart from the non-essential shops that have opened up, shopping malls, hairdressers and larger stores could reopen from May 1. They will confirm this as per the latest Covid figures. Restaurants and hotels could reopen in stages from mid-May.

Representational Image

United States –
The US has been the epicentre of the pandemic with over 1 million people affected by it already.

Apart from this, the US has been faced with a rift between the Trump govt and the States on lockdown guidelines, the economy and the relaxation policies.

Most states like Ohio, Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska and South Carolina have already allowed some businesses to open. Texas has recently decided not to renew its stay-at-home order after it expires.

They will allow business, restaurants, retail stores and movie theatres to open up in stages.

New York, the worst affected by the pandemic, has opened essential services.

President Donald Trump has cited May 1 as a target, but a 50-state patchwork of policies is likely, with many state governors forming regional alliances to coordinate actions.

United Kingdom –
After enforcing a strict lockdown because of the rising numbers, the government has decided to review the rules every three wees. The next review is due to be completed by May 7. The government will decide what extent of relaxations need to be given beyond the essential services.

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