The Scotsman

Concern as China and South Korea see post-lockdown spike

● Health officials anxiously watch to see just how much infection rates rise

- By FRANK JORDANS

China and South Korea have reported new spikes in coronaviru­s cases, setting off fresh concerns in countries where outbreaks had been in dramatic decline.

Worldwide, health officials are anxiously watching to see just how much infection rates rise in a second wave as nations and states emerge from varying degrees of lockdown.

China reported 14 new cases on Sunday, its first doubledigi­t rise in 10 days. Eleven of 12 domestic infections were in the northeaste­rn province of Jilin, which prompted authoritie­s to raise the threat level in one of its counties, Shulan, to high risk, just days after downgradin­g all regions to low risk.

Authoritie­s said the Shulan outbreak originated with a 45-year-old woman who had no recent travel or exposure history but spread it to her husband, her three sisters and other family members.

Train services in the county were being suspended.

“Epidemic control and prevention is a serious and complicate­d matter, and local authoritie­s should never be overly optimistic, war-weary or off-guard,” said the Jilin Communist Party secretary, Bayin Chaolu.

Jilin also shares a border with North Korea, which insists it has no virus cases, much to the disbelief of internatio­nal health authoritie­s.

South Korea reported 34 more cases as new infections linked to nightclub-goers threatens the country’s hardwon gains against the virus.

It was the first time that South Korea’s daily infections were above 30 in about a month.

President Moon Jae-in said citizens must neither panic nor let down their guard, but warned that “the damage to our economy is indeed colossal as well”.

Across Europe, many nations were easing lockdowns even further today even as they prepared to clamp down on any new infections.

Germany, which managed to push daily new infections below 1,000 before deciding to loosen restrictio­ns, has seen regional spikes in cases linked to slaughterh­ouses and nursing homes.

By Saturday, the country’s public health authority said new infections were above 1,000 again.

German officials have expressed concerns about the growing number of large demonstrat­ions, including one in the southweste­rn city of Stuttgart that drew thousands of participan­ts.

Police in Berlin stepped in on Saturday after hundreds of people failed to respect social distancing measures at antilockdo­wn rallies in the German capital.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the governors of Germany’s 16 states last week cleared the way for restaurant­s, hotels and remaining stores to reopen.

The country’s football league resumes next week, despite a number of profession­al players testing positive for Covid-19, and more students are returning to school beginning on Monday.

France, which has a similar number of infections as Germany but a far higher death toll, is also letting some younger students return to school Monday after almost two months out.

Attendance will not be compulsory right away, leaving parents to make the difficult decision of whether it is safe to send their children back to school or not.

Residents in some Spanish regions will be able to enjoy limited seating at bars, restaurant­s and other public places beginning on Monday but Madrid and Barcelona, the country’s largest cities, will remain shut down.

In the United States, former President Barack Obama harshly criticised his successor Donald Trump’s handling of the coronaviru­s pandemic as an “absolute chaotic disaster”. The United States has seen nearly 80,000 deaths.

 ??  ?? 0 A Kim Jong-un impersonat­or jokes with people drinking at bars in Hong Kong as the region eased social distancing laws allowing some businesses to open up
0 A Kim Jong-un impersonat­or jokes with people drinking at bars in Hong Kong as the region eased social distancing laws allowing some businesses to open up
 ??  ?? 0 A man in a face mask walks past a closed night club in Seoul
0 A man in a face mask walks past a closed night club in Seoul

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