Reactivation Of Economies Creates New Challenges

ROME (AP) – New outbreaks of coronavirus in slaughterhouses in Germany and new cases in South Korea linked to a man who went to several nightclubs highlighted the challenges authorities face in trying to revive their economies.

Meanwhile, in Belarus, which has not imposed quarantine despite the increasing number of cases, tens of thousands of people came out to celebrate Victory Day in World War II. In contrast, Russia held a discreet celebration in a deserted Red Square.


Germany and South Korea, whose extensive testing and contact tracing have garnered them praise, have avoided the huge amounts of deaths that have overwhelmed other countries in their regions. But even there, authorities find it difficult to strike a balance between saving lives and saving jobs.

The United States, Brazil and Italy are also debating how to ease restrictions on productive and public activities.

Meanwhile, responses are required from governments on their management of the pandemic. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Europe must acknowledge that it “was not well prepared” for the coronavirus pandemic. However, he maintained that solidarity is increasing and that the European Union has “matured in the crisis”.

In the United States, confidential government emails obtained by The Associated Press reveal that a decision to hide a detailed guide to reopening locations prepared by leading disease control experts came from the highest levels of the White House.

Health officials in Germany were seeking to contain further outbreaks of the coronavirus at three slaughterhouses, two in the west of the country and one in the north.

The response tests the government’s new strategy of getting local authorities to deal with new outbreaks, agreed Wednesday as part of a plan to gradually ease restrictions and return to normal.

South Korea reported 18 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday after a spike in infections that led authorities to close more than 2,100 bars and nightclubs to close. Authorities had eased social distancing rules and announced plans to reopen schools on Wednesday.

In Italy, people returned to the streets for traditional snacks and to enjoy the good weather as restrictions are eased, although in excess according to some authorities.

Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala warned that “a handful of madmen” jeopardized the city’s economic recovery and threatened to close the fashionable Navigli district, where crowds of young people were ignoring the rules of estrangement at the aperitif hour.

In Rome, the Campo dei Fiori flower and vegetable market was crowded on Saturday, the first weekend that Italians are allowed to take to the streets for more than just essential jobs or grocery shopping. Some bars opened to attend to the parents of boys who were cycling around the piazza.

Worldwide, the virus has infected at least 3.9 million people and killed more than 275,000, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University based on data reported by governments.

Pakistan gave in to economic pressure and allowed some businesses to reopen despite an increase in cases. It allowed the reopening of factories, works and some businesses, while reporting 1,637 new cases and 24 deaths. The infection data approached its daily maximum, reached on Thursday with 1,764, and raised the country’s total to 27,474.

Prime Minister Imran Khan explained that his government has quarantined because it cannot support the millions of families who depend on wages for a living. The government warned that it will reimpose controls if the population does not meet the guidelines for social distance.

For its part, the United States government reported its worst unemployment data since the Great Depression in the 1930s on Friday, something that will fuel controversy over when to ease restrictions that have closed businesses.

The Labor Department reported an unemployment rate of 14.7% after the disappearance of some 20.5 million jobs in April. Citing errors in the count of some workers by its pollsters, the department said the actual number may be closer to 20%. Some analysts pointed out that the total could even reach 23.6%, not far from the record of 25% in 1939.

Its president, Donald Trump, who will seek reelection in the midst of the economic crisis, is pressing state governors to allow factories, restaurants and shops to reopen despite warnings that this could lead to the lethal spike in infections. .

The vice president’s secretary, Mike Pence, was the second person to test positive for the virus in the White House after a military man who works for Trump.

China, where the pandemic began in December, announced plans to reopen more schools in the capital, Beijing.

More than 84,200 first-year high school students and 13,200 teachers will return to classrooms on Monday, authorities announced. About 50,000 high school students returned to teach on April 27.

China was the first economy in the world to be paralyzed by the virus, and the first to revive after the ruling Communist Party declared in March that the outbreak was low. Controls, including those that check temperature, are still in effect in apartment complexes and other public buildings in the capital.

In Brazil, the fifth largest city in the country, Fortaleza, began a quarantine on Friday for the increase in infections, while the president, Jair Bolsonaro, asked the Supreme Court to order the states to lift restrictions on business.

Fortaleza, a city of 2.7 million inhabitants, registered 727 deaths from the pandemic and authorities expect 4,000 until the end of May. Brazil has more than 140,000 confirmed cases and 9,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.


McDonald reported from Beijing. Journalists from The Associated Press around the world contributed to this report.