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Reopened countries lock down again amid fresh Covid-19 spikes

As several countries work to lift restrictions, some nations that thought they had the coronavirus under control have had to lock down again amid a new spike in infections.

South Korea
Citizens queue up at a coronavirus test centre in South Korea

Lebanon, South Korea, Germany, Iran and China are some of the countries that have had to reimpose restrictions after experiencing flare-ups.

Lebanon on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 became the latest country to reimpose restrictions after experiencing a surge of infections, almost exactly two weeks after it appeared to have contained the spread of the virus and began easing up. Authorities ordered a four-day, near-complete lockdown to allow officials time to assess the rise in numbers.

The re-emergence of coronavirus cases in many parts of Asia is also prompting a return to closures in places that had claimed success in battling the disease or appeared to have eradicated it altogether, including South Korea, regarded as one of the continent’s top success stories.

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South Korea last week rescinded a go-ahead for bars and clubs to reopen after a spike in cases, hours after officials announced the lifting of previous social distancing restrictions and the start of a “new everyday life with the coronavirus.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in warned his country on Sunday to “brace for the pandemic’s second wave,” calling the battle against covid-19 a “prolonged” fight.

In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic first emerged, authorities on Tuesday ordered the testing of all 11 million inhabitants after a cluster of six new infections emerged, five weeks after the city had apparently rid itself of the disease.

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Germany, which is widely regarded as the model in Europe of a balanced coronavirus response, is warning that some areas may have to reinstate restrictions after localized outbreaks caused a rise in cases.

“We always have to be aware that we are still at the beginning of the pandemic,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel cautioned last week as a cluster of new cases in a meatpacking plant raised fears of an intensified outbreak. “And there’s still a long way in dealing with this virus in front of us.”

Iran, the epicentre of the disease in the Middle East, with more than 110,000 reported cases, has ordered a county in the southwestern province of Khuzestan to reimpose a lockdown after cases spiked there. But the government is still planning to proceed with the reopening of schools later this week, despite a marked jump in new infections since restrictions were eased in late April.

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Such resurgence of cases had been widely predicted by experts, but these increasing numbers come as a sobering reminder of the challenges ahead as countries chafing under the social and economic burdens of keeping their citizens indoors weigh the pros and cons of allowing people to move around again.

Courtesy: The Washington Post

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