New Zealand reopens some businesses today, PM says 'worst avoided'

Updated: Apr 28, 2020, 08:19 IST | Agencies | Wellington

She said it would continue to hunt down the last few cases. From midnight, certain businesses such as construction will be allowed to reopen, but social distancing rules will still apply

People enjoy the beach amid the pandemic in Huntington Beach, California.  In the US, Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana and Tennessee are joining several other states in reopening businesses despite warnings from the health experts to not hurry. Pic/AFP
People enjoy the beach amid the pandemic in Huntington Beach, California. In the US, Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana and Tennessee are joining several other states in reopening businesses despite warnings from the health experts to not hurry. Pic/AFP

New Zealand reported five new Coronavirus cases Monday as the nation got ready to ease the rules on a strict lockdown from midnight. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there hasn't been widespread community transmission of the virus and the country has so far managed to avoid the worst scenarios for an outbreak.

She said it would continue to hunt down the last few cases. From midnight, certain businesses such as construction will be allowed to reopen, but social distancing rules will still apply. Ardern said the nation was opening up the economy, but not people's social lives.

S Korea to reopen schools
South Korea reported only 10 new cases, its 26th straight day below 100 as officials mulled reopening schools amid the slowing caseload. The figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday brought the national totals to 10,738 cases and 243 deaths.

At least 1,044 infections have been linked to international arrivals, but such cases have also declined in recent weeks amid tightened border controls.

Prime Minster Chung Sye-kyun during a virus meeting Monday instructed education officials to prepare measures to ensure hygiene and enforce distance between students at schools so the government could announce a timeline for reopening schools no later than early May.

More US states to reopen
In the US, Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana and Tennessee are also preparing to reopen economy, Reuters reported. Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska and South Carolina had already started easing restrictions. "I would stay home if the government encouraged that, but they're not. They're saying, 'Hey, the best thing to do is go back to work, even though it might be risky,'" Royal Rose, 39, owner of a tattoo studio in Greeley, Colorado, told Reuters.

According to reports, the states have started easing lockdown without ensuring measures to trace the asymptomatic cases. Several health experts have warned that a hurry in easing lockdown may lead to a fresh wave of infections. Meanwhile, the White House said the jobless rate would be 16 per cent or higher this month. A record 26.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment since mid-March.

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