Countries struggle to define 'new normal'

Updated: May 21, 2020, 07:54 IST | Agencies | Rome

What a return to normal looks like varies widely. In Italy, where good food is an essential part of life itself, once-packed restaurants and cafes are facing a huge financial hit as they reopen with strict social distancing rules

Servicemen of Russia's Emergencies Ministry disinfect Moscow's Leningradsky railway station. As on Wednesday, COVID-19 cases in Russia reach 3,08,705, with 8,764 cases in the past 24 hours, and death toll stands at 2,972 with 135 new casualties. Pic/AFP
Servicemen of Russia's Emergencies Ministry disinfect Moscow's Leningradsky railway station. As on Wednesday, COVID-19 cases in Russia reach 3,08,705, with 8,764 cases in the past 24 hours, and death toll stands at 2,972 with 135 new casualties. Pic/AFP

As nations around the world loosen restrictions, people are discovering that "the new normal" is anything but. Yet some realities have emerged: schools, offices, public transport, bars and restaurants are now on the front lines of post-lockdown life.

What a return to normal looks like varies widely. In Italy, where good food is an essential part of life itself, once-packed restaurants and cafes are facing a huge financial hit as they reopen with strict social distancing rules. The losses are forecast to pile up to $32 billion this year.

Education is also facing a radical rethink. Cambridge became the first university in the UK to cancel all face-to-face lectures for the upcoming school year. In South Korea, high school seniors had their temperatures checked and used hand sanitisers as they returned to school on Wednesday. Many governments, including several US states, are in fierce disagreement over what the new normal should even be.

Pak records 1,932 new cases, 48 deaths

Pakistan recorded 1,932 new COVID-19 cases and 46 fatalities during the last 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to 45,898 with 985 deaths, the health ministry said on Wednesday. Pakistan has started easing in phases the Coronavirus lockdown and partially resumed its domestic air services.

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