Countries in Asia Experience a Resurgence in Coronavirus Cases as others Consider Lifting Lockdowns
Economic News: As countries around the world consider lifting lockdowns, some countries have reported a resurgence in cases. The resurgence has prompted fears of a new wave of infections.
Public health experts including those in WHO have severally warned authorities against lifting lockdowns too early. It could cause a rebound in reinfections.
Meanwhile, analysts and investors say another lockdown would escalate the damage already affecting the global economy.
In Asia, several countries such as China and South Korea have experienced a resurgence after they eased restrictions. Asia is where coronavirus first hit.
Authorities in some countries have had to reimpose measures to restrict interactions between people to fight the pandemic once again.
According to Jonathan Garner, a new wave of infections could be a recurring theme facing investors globally in the coming months. It will materially change the behaviour and pattern of global economics.
Jonathan is Chief Asia and emerging market equity strategists at Morgan Stanley.
Here are the Asian countries reporting a resurgence in cases.
China is the world’s second-largest economy and the first country to report the first positive case of Covid-19.
It implemented some of the hardest lockdown measures globally. Authorities shut off transportation links from cities like Wuhan – China’s epicentre and closed businesses and schools.
The country was gradually easing those measures and ended a total lockdown on Wuhan on April 8 after 11 weeks.
In the past few months, China started consistently reporting small numbers of daily new cases – most “imported”. However, health authorities recently said there were new local clusters of infections in Wuhan and Shulan.
Health officials raised the risk level of Shulan from medium to high and reimposed lockdown measures. Measures include closing public spaces such as libraries, sporting facilities, and halting train services in and out of the city.
It’s not the first time China has had to reintroduce measures to contain the pandemic after lifting them. Last month, they tightened restrictions in Harban city after a hike in imported cases. Authorities also ordered gyms in Beijing to shut down again after resuming operations.
Unlike China, South Korea managed to flatten the curve without extensively locking down the country.
Instead, the government responded quickly by ramping up testing, contact tracing, and isolating potential cases.
They introduced social distancing measures which restricted gatherings and closed schools and workplaces.
New cases dropped from hundreds a day to single-digit levels in the past two weeks as South Korea started lifting social-distancing measures.
But last weekend, South Korea reported its biggest daily hike in infections in the month. According to WHO data, most of the new cases link to several nightclubs and bars in its capital city of Seoul.
South Korean authorities are now tracking down thousands of people who went to those night clubs.
Park Neung, South Korea’s health minister, said the government would decide whether to pursue its plans to reopen schools in stages starting Wednesday.
Japan experiences its second wave of coronavirus before the latest jump in South Korea and China.
Late February, the northern island of Hokkaido was the first to declare a state of emergency in Japan after recording the highest number of coronavirus infections then.
Authorities closed schools, asked people to stay home, and cancelled gatherings.
Measures were working until mid – March when Hokkaido lifted measures after the number of new cases declined.
But on April 12 – less than a month, authorities declared another state of emergency after a spike in the number of new infections.
Early in May, Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, extended the nationwide state of emergency to May 31. However, Yasutoshi Nishimura the country’s Economic Minister reportedly said they could lift the declaration in some regions this week if the numbers remain under control.
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