Nations starting to ease COVID-19 restrictions

Published June 26, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

E CARTOON JUN 27, 2020Some nations around the world are  now  beginning  to relax the restrictions they imposed on their people when  COVID-19 emerged as a major threat around March this year.

All 50 states of the United States have now  ended  their  lockdowns,  allowing people to gather once more in parks and  beaches. US President Donald Trump himself led an  election campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, although the 19,000-seat auditorium was not filled to capacity as in  previous gatherings of his loyal followers.

In Europe,  the French people gathered in  two districts of Paris last Monday  to dance and sing  in celebration of the annual midsummer  Festival  of Music – Fete de la Musique — that is traditionally  celebrated all over  the country. On the same day,   France took a big step  back to the old normal  as millions of children returned to school.  In England, the  government  announced that  moviehouses,  museums, and galleries would reopen July 4.

Most of the world’s nations, however,  chose  to retain their  restrictions. Saudi Arabia announced it would allow only a “very limited” number of pilgrims for the annual hajj which normally draws 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world, including the Philippines.

In South America, Mexico delayed plans for a  reopening of the economy. Coronavirus  deaths continued to rise in Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Argentina.  The pandemic  is still accelerating, said World Health Organization  Director General  Tedros Adhanom  Ghebreyesus.

This is the world today —  a mixture of self-confidence  and hope  in some countries  and continuing fear and despair in other countries.  Scientists  all  over  the world are striving to develop vaccines and cures, but the  best expectation  is  that  a vaccine will be ready  only by the end  of the year.

In the mass gatherings in the US and in France, it was noted the people were not wearing face masks. Many who watched the crowds in Paris were horrified and   took to social media to voice fears of a  second  wave of COVID-19 infections.

The Philippines is carefully managing its own COVID-19 cases, lifting restrictions in  areas  where  cases are down.  In general, cases are down  except for Cebu City where the severe  restrictions remain. It  has now  been  established  that  ultimately, the spread of the virus depends upon  the people themselves — whether they comply with orders to  wear face masks, keep  a  one-meter distance  from the next  person, and  maintain the highest  levels  of personal hygiene. Today, in the streets of Metro Manila,  for example,  everyone wears a  face mask of some kind.

Let  other people throw caution  to the winds after being cooped up for so long.  We will follow our own carefully studied  plans for phased  lifting of restrictions,  with the people themselves knowing their  fate in this pandemic is  — to a very great  extent — largely in their own  hands.