Coun­tries wary

U.K. con­struc­tion, other work­ers get nod to go to work

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - FRONT PAGE - BY FRANK JOR­DANS AND NO­MAAN MER­CHANT

As curbs ease, na­tions fear virus resur­gence.

Na­tions strug­gled to bal­ance pub­lic and eco­nomic health Sun­day, feel­ing pres­sure to re­open shut­tered busi­nesses and as­pects of life amid wor­ries that re­lax­ing re­stric­tions too much could ig­nite a sec­ond wave of coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions.

South Korea, China and Ger­many, all seen as na­tions with suc­cess in clamp­ing down on COVID-19, have seen small upticks. Yet Ger­many, like much of Europe, is con­tin­u­ing to loosen re­stric­tions.

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter

Boris John­son an­nounced a mod­est eas­ing of the coun­try’s coro­n­avirus lock­down, say­ing those in the con­struc­tion or man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries or other jobs that can’t be done at home “should be ac­tively en­cour­aged to go to work” this week.

John­son, who has taken a tougher line af­ter fall­ing ill him­self with what he called “this dev­il­ish ill­ness,” set a goal of June

1 to be­gin re-open­ing schools and shops if the U.K. can con­trol new in­fec­tions and the trans­mis­sion rate of each in­fected per­son. The coun­try has recorded the most virus deaths in Europe at over 31,900.

“We will be driven not by mere hope or eco­nomic ne­ces­sity,” he said. “We’re go­ing to be driven by the sci­ence, the data, and pub­lic health.”

He also said he would soon im­pose a quar­an­tine for some air trav­el­ers en­ter­ing the U.K., but gave no start date or other de­tails.

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

Ger­man of­fi­cials ex­pressed con­cerns about the grow­ing num­ber of large demon­stra­tions, in­clud­ing one in the south­west­ern city of Stuttgart that drew thou­sands. Po­lice in Berlin stepped in Satur­day af­ter hun­dreds of peo­ple failed to re­spect so­cial dis­tanc­ing mea­sures at anti-lock­down ral­lies.

France, which has a sim­i­lar num­ber of in­fec­tions as Ger­many but a far higher death toll at over 26,300, is let­ting some younger stu­dents go back to school Mon­day af­ter al­most two months out. At­ten­dance won’t be com­pul­sory right away, al­low­ing par­ents to de­cide if it’s safe or not.

Ital­ian ho­tel own­ers, tour guides, beach re­sorts and others who de­pend heav­ily on tourism are press­ing to know when cit­i­zens can travel across the coun­try. In a news­pa­per in­ter­view, Pre­mier Giuseppe Conte promised that the re­stric­tion on in­ter-re­gional move­ment would be lifted, but only af­ter au­thor­i­ties bet­ter de­ter­mine how the virus out­break evolves.

Res­i­dents in some Span­ish re­gions will be able to en­joy lim­ited seat

ing at bars, restau­rants and other pub­lic places Mon­day, but Madrid and Barcelona, the coun­try’s largest cities, will re­main shut down. Spain re­ported 143 new deaths from the virus, the low­est daily in­crease since March 19.

Rus­sia, in con­trast, is still re­port­ing ris­ing in­fec­tions. Fig­ures on Sun­day recorded 11,012 new cases, the high­est one­day tally yet, for a to­tal of nearly 210,000 cases and 1,915 re­ported deaths. Rus­sian of­fi­cials at­tribute the sharp rise in part to increased test­ing, but health ex­perts say Rus­sia’s coro­n­avirus data has been sig­nif­i­cantly un­der-re­ported.

China re­ported 14 new cases Sun­day, its first dou­ble-digit rise in 10 days. Eleven of 12 do­mes­tic in­fec­tions were in the north­east­ern prov­ince of Jilin, prompt­ing 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, three sis­ters and other rel­a­tives. Train ser­vices in the county were 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 Jilin Com­mu­nist Party sec­re­tary Bayin Chaolu.

Jilin shares a bor­der with North Korea, which in­sists it has no virus cases.

South Korea re­ported 34 more cases as new in­fec­tions linked to night­clubs threaten its hard-won gains against the virus. It was the first time that

South Korea’s daily in­fec­tions were above 30 in about a month.

The U.S. has seen 1.3 mil­lion in­fec­tions and nearly 80,000 deaths — the most in the world by far, ac­cord­ing to a tally by Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity.

New York City has de­tected 38 cases of “pe­di­atric multi-sys­tem in­flam­ma­tory syn­drome” — an alarm­ing con­di­tion linked with COVID-19, claim­ing one young life in the Big Ap­ple so far — Mayor Bill de Bla­sio said Sun­day.

“There is a rare con­di­tion which we’re see­ing more of just in the last days and it is caus­ing tremen­dous con­cern,” he said at a news con­fer­ence. “Our health lead­er­ship is deeply con­cerned.”

The case num­ber of 38 is up from the last count, when there were 15 in­stances of the con­di­tion, de Bla­sio said.

Symp­toms in­clude per­sis­tent fever, rash, ab­dom­i­nal pain and vom­it­ing, health of­fi­cials said,

A 5-year-old New York City boy died of the syn­drome Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials, with two other young New York­ers dy­ing out­side the city.

An ad­di­tional two deaths are un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Gov. An­drew Cuomo said Sun­day.

Cuomo also an­nounced two pol­icy re­ver­sals a day af­ter an As­so­ci­ated Press re­port in which res­i­dents’ rel­a­tives, watch­dog groups and politi­cians from both par­ties al­leged he was not do­ing enough to counter the surge of deaths in nurs­ing homes, where about 5,300 res­i­dents have died. Nurs­ing home staff in New York will now have to un­dergo COVID-19 tests twice a week, and fa­cil­i­ties will no longer be re­quired to take in hos­pi­tal pa­tients who were in­fected.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The faith­ful gath­ered out­side St. Peter’s Square at the Vat­i­can on Sun­day as Pope Fran­cis de­liv­ered his bless­ing from the win­dow of his stu­dio be­cause of lock­down mea­sures re­sult­ing from the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

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