In many countries around the world, it appears that the coronavirus outbreak is slowing down. The world has finally started to “flatten the curve.” However, not all countries are alike, and some have been hit much harder than others. But the need for life to go on, for the economy to rebuild, and for people to be able to see their families is becoming overwhelming, so governments are creating plans to reopen the world. Here’s a snapshot of eight countries, and where they stand with easing lockdown restrictions.
The UK is taking things very slow and cautious since their PM Boris Johnson had to be hospitalized for the virus (he has since been released). However, The Telegraph reports that they believe the country has hit its peak and that deaths are now slightly declining. The country is hoping to open back up in “early summer” though no concrete plans have been made as to how that will happen.
Australia is taking a hi-tech approach to combating the outbreak. According to ABC, the nation’s government is about to complete work on an app that will track the whereabouts of its residents. That way, when someone tests positive, the government can easily contact anyone that person had close contact with. The problem is that the app is voluntary, and the government can’t force anyone to download it. However, they’re optimistic about turnout and believe their lockdown can end “in a few months” if enough citizens partake in the plan.
France, one of the hardest-hit nations in the world, could be easing lockdown restrictions very soon. According to Bloomberg, France’s government will be unveiling their plan to end lockdown in two weeks. However, parts of the plan could take place immediately, with the news agency stating that, at the May 11 address, certain measures will begin immediately.
Canada admits it’s still far off from reopening. An article from The Globe and Mail shows that Canada hasn’t even reached its peak yet. The country has done a good job at flattening the curve, creating a much better scenario for their healthcare system. However, Canada will have a bumpy road ahead. Much of the country is rural, and therefore less impacted by the pandemic. The government is going to have to balance rural areas demanding a reopening of the government, while also trying to protect those living in major cities.
South Africa has showed promise from their lockdown, with the rate of infection slowing to just 4%. They have also slowly started allowing people to return to work. However, the nation’s government warms about the potential roadblocks for reopening, stating that a rise in cases is inevitable. The country’s plan is to allow a “gradual rise” of infections as long as it is in a “safe” range. According to CNBC, if the country hits over 90 new infections per day, they will reintroduce restrictions, but anything under 90 per day will be seen as progress, and the lockdown will continue to ease up.
Greece has been largely unaffected by the virus, considering that it’s located near some of the hardest-hit countries on the planet. According to the Greek City Times, the country is hoping to make a decision about reopening “at the end of April.” The nation’s government says that getting widespread testing will be the key to reopening, and protecting those who are most vulnerable to complications is their greatest concern.
Like many other countries, Thailand’s biggest problem is a lack of testing. However, the good news is that many provinces in the country have reported zero new cases. This has led the government to begin their plan to end lockdown. According to the Bangkok Post, that could be as early as the end of April for parts of the country. Thailand is thinking of easing restrictions by province, rather than as a whole, with regions reporting no new cases opening first.
Italy has also started to see a decline in deaths, and with the warm spring weather, residents are begging to return outside, even though the strict lockdown rules are in effect until May 3rd. However, according to France24, the Italian government will meet this week to discuss a path towards reopening. Italy’s North, where a bulk of manufacturing is, is demanding they reopen factories, while residents in major cities like Rome are going stir-crazy and want to be able to return to a normal life once more. The question will be, come May 3rd, what will the government decide.