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Explained: How economies around the world are reopening

Singapore, France, Australia, Japan — how countries are reopening their economies amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 18, 2020 8:01:36 am
Explained: How economies are reopening around the world Pedestrians reflected on a mirror ceiling of a shopping mall Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo: Eugene Hoshiko)

After enforcing among the most stringent lockdowns in the world to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, India is now in the process of ‘unlock 1.0’ to bring the economy back on track.

Here’s a look at the plans of reopening in other countries, where the rate of new infections is relatively under control.

Singapore

On June 19, the city-state will move to the second phase of its reopening, allowing more businesses and social activities to recommence, further relaxing the restrictions that were in place before. Since the country exited its “circuit breaker” two weeks ago, the number of new infections have been kept in check.

Groups of up to 5 people will be allowed to gather, with individuals keeping a distance of 1 metre from each other. Where this is not possible, groups of maximum 5 persons must keep a 1 metre distance from other groups.

In this phase, a large number of activities would be able to resume, including visiting parks, playgrounds, stadiums, swimming pools, clubs, and golf courses. Restaurants and hawkers will also open, with one table having a maximum of five people. Personal visits to nursing homes and healthcare services for seniors would also be allowed, subject to safety protocols.

Work from home has been recommended as far as possible, and those going to office must follow a split-team setting.

Masks will remain compulsory for everyone going outdoors, including in the country’s schools, which are expected to fully open on June 29. Shopping malls and large retail outlets would reopen subject to capacity restrictions, which includes not allowing the building up of long queues.

High-risk activities such as religious congregations and trade fairs continue to remain prohibited. However, rules concerning marriages, funerals, and wakes shall have more flexibility, with up to 20 people being allowed.

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Indoor and outdoor attractions, karaoke outlets, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, libraries, museums, large cultural venues have still not been allowed to reopen, The Straits Times reported. The country’s senior residents have still been advised to stay at home as much as possible.

A waiter brings a glass to customers in a restaurant, Monday, June 15, 2020 in Paris. Paris is rediscovering itself, and its joie de vivre, as its cafes and restaurants reopen for the first time since the fast-spreading virus forced them to close their doors March 14. (AP Photo: Michel Euler)

France

On Sunday, France announced further easing of restrictions, after a dramatic fall in the number of new cases since their mid-April peak. Mainland France, including capital Paris, has been designated as a “green zone” for the virus.

Cafes and restaurants will fully reopen. The restrictions were first eased on May 11, and earlier this month, restaurants were allowed outdoor seating. The Louvre museum plans to open on July 6.

Nursery, primary, and junior high schools will open from June 22, with compulsory attendance. The lycées (upper high schools) will still not reopen. Visits to the country’s hard-hit retirement homes would also be allowed.

Mass gatherings, however, would continue to be restricted.

The ban on travel from Schengen countries was lifted on June 15, and the one on non-EU countries will be lifted on July 1.

The country will hold the next round of its municipal elections, originally planned in March, on June 28.

Australia

With its Chief Medical Officer declaring the novel coronavirus “effectively eliminated” in parts of the country, the Australian government has said that it is on track to complete its ‘three-step’ process for loosening curbs by July.

The 100 person restriction on indoor gatherings has been removed, with no hard limits on the number of people attending. New rules stipulate one person per four sq metres.

Stadiums having 40,000 seating capacity would be allowed to host up to 10,000 people.

The specific restrictions for funerals have been removed, and these will now be treated like other gatherings. The rules for nightclubs, however, have not been relaxed.

In the Australian Capital Territory, cinemas, theatres, competitive sports will reopen, as will businesses with a maximum of 100 people at their premises.

Shoppers maintain social distancing as they walk in line to enter reopened Shibuya 109, a landmark and fashion building in Shibuya shopping district June 1, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo: Eugene Hoshiko)

Japan

After a sharp fall in new infections, Japan lifted its state of emergency on May 25.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is slated to deactivate its virus alert, and lift business closure requests on facilities such as karaoke establishments, bars, pachinko parlours, arcades and amusement parks, Japan Times reported. Restaurants and bars would also be allowed to stay open until midnight. Public events with 1,000 people would be permitted.

In the first phase of reopening, libraries, museums, cultural institutions were allowed to reopen, and gyms, movie theatres, and entertainment establishments having no history of cluster infections joined in phase two.

Live music venues and bars having close contact between consumers and staff will continue to remain closed, the report said. On June 16, Tokyo’s Yomiuriland amusement park partly reopened.

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