Coronavirus: The lockdown debate in other countries

PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP, EPA-EFE

More people are being infected and dying from the coronavirus, even with half the global population under lockdown. Here's a look at how the virus has wrought pandemonium in different parts of the world.

Coronavirus: Malaysia backtracks on allowing barbers, optometrists to open during shutdown

Malaysia's movement control order has shut schools and non-essential businesses. PHOTO: REUTERS

Malaysia has rescinded its earlier decision to allow hairdressers, beauty salons and optometrists to operate while its movement controls to curb the coronavirus outbreak are in force, said Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Monday (April 13).

He said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin made the decision following advice from health experts and the authorities, and after listening to concerns raised by non-governmental organisations and the general public.

"We are aware the decision to allow hair salons and barbershops to operate has been an issue. The government listens to the people and in line with this, the Prime Minister has decided not to allow these businesses to operate throughout the MCO," said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, referring to the movement control order.

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Coronavirus: 'Social unrest possible' in India if economy's still stuck

The world's smallest living woman, Ms Jyoti Amge, greeting a police officer in Nagpur yesterday as she urged citizens to stay at home during India's government-imposed nationwide lockdown. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Key industries in India are warning of social unrest unless Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes concessions when he announces any extension today to a three-week pandemic lockdown for the country's 1.3 billion people.

The lockdown ends at midnight today, but several state chief ministers have already said they plan to extend it for at least two more weeks. With time running out, the government has not laid out any national plan.

Mr Modi, who is to make an address at 10am today, is caught between growing fears over the pandemic - cases have surged in recent days to more than 9,200 with over 330 deaths - and the need to get the economy moving again.

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Coronavirus: US could start reopening in May, says White House health advisor Fauci

Dr Anthony Fauci speaks at a coronavirus briefing at the White House, on April 10, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

The United States may be ready to start gradually reopening next month, the government's top infectious diseases expert has said, as signs grew that the coronavirus pandemic in the country was peaking.

President Donald Trump had earlier wanted the world's largest economy to be "raring to go" by Easter Sunday, but most of the country had remained at a standstill to halt the spread of the virus that has killed more than 22,000 people in the US.

Mr Trump has cast the decision on when to ease the lockdown as the biggest of his presidency as he faces competing pressures from public health experts and businesses along with some conservative allies who want a swift return to normality.

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New Zealand, Australia say too soon to ease restrictions despite coronavirus slowdown

A beach closed sign is seen in Sydney on April 12, 2020. Australia is tightly restricting many activities. PHOTO: EPA - EFE

Officials in New Zealand and Australia, hailed globally for their early signs of success in combating the spread of the coronavirus, said on Monday (April 13) that it was too soon to start easing social distancing rules or reopening their economies.

The rate of new coronavirus cases has abated significantly in both countries without straining the capacity of their health systems. New Zealand has enforced a wide-ranging lockdown and Australia is also tightly restricting many activities.

New Zealand recorded its fifth death due to coronavirus on Monday, but new confirmed cases in the Pacific nation of about five million rose only by 15, a sixth of what was seen in early April, bringing the total of cases to 1,064.

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Coronavirus: Spain restarting some sectors; Italy, France, UK remain guarded

Milan's Piazza Duomo being disinfected on March 31. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is seeking a tentative restart to commercial and public life after the lockdown ends on May 3. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Spain, one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus epidemic, yesterday started to ease tough lockdown restrictions that have kept people confined to their homes for more than a month and put a brake on economic activity.

Spain's death toll from the virus rose to 17,489 yesterday, up 517 from 16,972 on Sunday, the Health Ministry said. Confirmed cases totalled 169,496, up from 166,019 the previous day.

However, this was the smallest proportional daily increase in the number of deaths and new cases.

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