Reopened Countries Begin To Quickly Lock Down Again
14 May 2020
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As many countries across the globe explore ways to ease restrictions aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19, those that had already opened up are closing down again after the surge of infection cases.

The renewed increase of cases had been widely predicted by health experts but due to the social and economic challenges faced by many countries as a result of keeping their citizens behind closed doors, it was necessary to reopen.

The new spikes underscore the question of when or whether it will ever be safe for coronavirus-stricken countries to lift their lockdowns. Maybe this should send a reminder to countries that are on the verge of reopening of what they should expect from the infectious coronavirus.

Lebanon is the latest country to reimpose restrictions after experiencing a renewed surge of infections. The Asian country which had announced the resumption of their normal life after successfully containing the spread of the virus has now come up with very strict measures to its citizens.

The new restrictions which are not far from a lockdown will be functional for the next four days and are aimed at giving time to health experts to assess the situation and advise accordingly on what should be done.

The World Health Organization had warned governments against lifting containment steps before the spread of the virus is successfully controlled as this could lead to a new wave of infections. However, investors and economic analysts claimed that a prolonged lockdown could adversely affect the global economy.

In the Asian continent, where the first coronavirus case was reported, many countries have now reported the rising number of COVID-19 infection cases after lifting restrictions. In some instances, authorities have had to reimpose measures that restrict interactions among people to once again fight the virus spread. 

South Korea which is regarded as one of the most successful countries in handling the pandemic has revoked a go-ahead for bars, clubs and other social places to reopen. This is after the country reporting the highest daily increase in infections in a month which are linked to the social contact of people in bars and clubs.

The South Korean government has since then started a tracing exercise on those people that visited the clubs. At the same time, authorities have entered into serious deliberations on whether it will be right to reopen schools as earlier stated.

In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first case of infection was reported, authorities have ordered the testing of all the city residents after a total of six new infections emerged. Remember this is a few weeks after the city reported to have successfully controlled the virus.

In the Middle East, Iran which is the epicenter of the disease, with more than a hundred thousand cases it has ordered a county in its southwestern region to reimpose a lockdown after a spike in COVID-19 cases. Surprisingly the government has not changed its view on reopening schools despite the increasing cases of the infection since restrictions were lifted.

Some public health experts argue that lockdowns are just a means to allow a country to strategize and gain control over the virus or devise measures that can help control the virus in case it comes back. However, this is not the case in many nations as lifting lockdowns is accompanied by a message of success and an assurance of being in control.

There may also be cases of resumed local transmission, perhaps originating from people who were asymptomatic but have been silently spreading the virus. Flouting of restrictions and social distancing rules that have been put in place protect the citizens shall not be taken lightly by COVID-19. Lifting lockdowns is a good initiative but in countries where people don’t adhere to social distancing, the infection cases are likely to go even higher.