Outbreaks in Germany, South Korea show life beyond lockdown isn't what people think it'll be

WION Web Team
Seoul/Berlin, South Korea/Germany Published: May 09, 2020, 08:25 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in South Korea Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Both countries, as soon as they began relaxing its social distancing rules, had to trace back a few of its steps owing to new outbreaks -- underscoring the dangers authorities face as they try to reopen their economies.

Two countries that have been widely held up as examples of how to handle a pandemic -- South Korea and Germany -- are now in the enviable position of being able to ease restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

South Korea had the largest outbreak outside of China in February. But the country used a combination of widespread testing, a strict quarantine regime and contact tracing to contain the coronavirus without having to impose a widespread lockdown.

Germany, on the other hand, had its advanced diagnostics industry at play. It was, hence, able to conduct mass testing from early on. Its coronavirus response was widely seen as a success story in Europe.

But both countries, as soon as they began relaxing its social distancing rules, had to trace back a few of its steps owing to new outbreaks -- underscoring the dangers authorities face as they try to reopen their economies.

SOUTH KOREA

The South Korean government on Wednesday started to relax its strict social distancing rules, imposed on March 22, but only in line with a set of guidelines referred to as the distancing in daily life policy.

South Korea's baseball season resumed on Tuesday -- but with games played in empty stadiums, while umpires and base coaches wore masks.

According to AFP, children will start to return to school from May 13. They have been told to wipe their desk and wear a mask except for at mealtimes and maintain double arm's length distance when you are on the move or are standing in line.

But outbreaks at nightclubs undid a lot of effort by the people and the government.

Seoul closed down more than 2,100 bars and other nightspots on Saturday because of a new cluster of coronavirus infections.

Many of the infections were linked to a 29-year-old man who visited three nightclubs before testing positive.

GERMANY

Germany has also been taking a step-by-step approach to reopening for business.

Limits on social contact would remain in place until June 5, but people can meet each other. Shops can open but with hygiene measures.

Germany's top football league, the Bundesliga, will resume play from May 16 -- but under tight restrictions and without spectators.

What, however, came as a big test of the government's strategy for dealing with any resurgence of the virus were the outbreaks at three slaughterhouses.

DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE

Urgent discussions, hence, continue on how to lift restrictions on people's lives and reboot the economy without jeopardising the progress made in containing the spread of the coronavirus.

The only way out is to address the public health crisis. Experts had already earlier warned that the lockdown was not a solution -- it was an emergency pause. And that a strategy has to be developed and prepared.

The novel coronavirus has infected over 3.9 million people and killed more than 2,75,000 across the world, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University based on data reported by governments.


 

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