Scenes From Countries & Cities Around The World That Are Easing Restrictions
Public health experts have warned that reopening too soon could lead to a spike in infections.
Countries around the world have begun to ease restrictive measures designed to curb the spread of a deadly coronavirus. As of Monday, the global pandemic has infected more than 4.1 million people, including more than 230,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
Many schools and businesses have been forced to close for weeks, as countries work to reduce the number of infected patients, and people have spent prolonged amounts of time indoors.
In hard-hit countries including France and Italy, which announced the first nationwide lockdown outside of Asia, businesses have this week begun reopening. Children have also begun returning to school in Germany and the Netherlands. In Spain, which has the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections globally, people are eating outdoors at reopened restaurants. In Lebanon, worshipers are gathering in mosques. Most people can still be seen wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
In the U.S., more than half of states have partially reopened, even as public health experts have warned the country could experience a “second wave” of infections. The New York Times reported that many of the reopened states have failed to meet the federal guidelines that President Trump introduced in mid-April.
Before countries reopened, public health officials have recommended that they have robust testing and contact tracing programs in place to better protect people from infection. A World Health Organization official said Monday that countries had not yet met such protocols before reopening.
“Shutting your eyes and and trying to drive through this blind is about as silly an equation as I’ve seen,” Mike Ryan, head of the Health Emergencies Programme at WHO, said at a news briefing in Geneva. “And I’m really concerned that certain countries are saving themselves up for some seriously blind driving over the next few months.”
In China’s Hubei province, which includes virus epicenter Wuhan that lifted its lockdown last month, at least six new cases have been reported in recent days, according to the National Health Commission. The city had consistently been seeing no new cases at the time of reopening. Elsewhere, Disneyland in Shanghai reopened — marking a prominent attempt to reopen tourism in China.
In South Korea, which has been praised for its containment of the outbreak, officials reported dozens of new cases tied to a nightclub and bars that reopened in Seoul. The South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Sunday warned the country that it is in a “prolonged war” against COVID-19.
Below are photos from countries around the world where restrictions have been partially lifted.