Italy, France and Spain are finally preparing to ease up coronavirus lockdowns. Other countries are watching closely to see how some of the hardest-hit countries in Europe safely emerge from their lockdowns. These three countries have the highest numbers of confirmed cased of Covid-19 after the US, where the number of infections is almost one million along with 53,000 deaths. The global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic reached 200,000 on Saturday, with more than 2.9 million confirmed cases worldwide. In many countries, cases are rising rapidly, whereas in others, they are slowing because of strict lockdowns.
These are uncertain times. Decisions on how and when to reopen economies will be vital to how businesses and people can cope with the pandemic to balance the need for economies to restart with the risks of new outbreaks and more shutdowns. Italy, which was the first European country to impose a lockdown in March could start manufacturing as soon as 4 May. While this may be promising news economically, they are still not out of the deep waters with a total close to 200,000 cases and 26,384 deaths. However, schools would not reopen until September, according to the Italian prime minister.
Tight coronavirus lockdowns around the world have been seen as an unpopular but effective tool to halt infections until a vaccine is developed. Some countries like Sweden have imposed less restrictive measures where shops, junior schools and restaurants have stayed open. As a result, the death rate due to Covid-19 in Sweden is higher (200 per million people) as compared to Finland (31 per million people) and Norway (36 per million people). This stat shows how important lockdowns have been in attempts to limit or manage the spread of the disease.
Other developments around the world regarding coronavirus lockdowns
In Spain, health authorities have begun to make plans for the future towards ‘a new normality’ as the number of overnight coronavirus deaths in the country have reduced to 300 for the first time in two weeks. In Africa, the crisis appears to be just the beginning. This is due to as sudden rise of more than 40 percent in the number of cases confirmed during the last 10 days across the continent; 30,300. The death rate also increased similarly to 1374. The WHO has warned of 10 million cases in Africa within three to six months. Experts say that the death toll could be lower if authorities can move swiftly to contain outbreaks of the disease.
“We are at the beginning in Africa,” Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, said last week.
South and Central America, by contrast, are already deep in crisis, with Brazil now emerging as a significant epidemic hotspot. Cases of Covid-19 are overwhelming hospitals, morgues and cemeteries. However, the President Jair Bolsonaro, continues to insist that it is a relatively minor disease. Whereas, neighboring countries continue to maintain strict coronavirus lockdowns.
Russia reported a total of 6,361 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday. This pushed its national tally above 80,000. Iran is the worst-hit country in the Middle-East. However, the daily death toll has fallen to its lowest level in weeks from 90 to 60 deaths a day. In the UK, the death toll also decreased with the lowest increase since the end of March, of 413. State media in Saudi Arabia report that the curfew there will be lifted partially for all regions starting on Sunday. Some economic and commercial activities will resume including retail stores during Ramadan from 29th April to 13th May. In India, the confirmed cases increased steadily despite the month-long curfew by Narendra Modi.