After nearly a month of shutdown, the Bangladesh government on Sunday allowed several hundred export-oriented industrial units across the country to reopen to reduce the economic costs of the coronavirus pandemic. The government has also reopened public offices involved in providing emergency services. The decision to ease the shutdown comes despite 497 deaths being recorded on Monday, and seven new deaths, taking the total tally to 152 deaths and 5,913 infections in Bangladesh.
Globally, as of Monday, 2,973,264 people have been infected and 206,569 have died. There are however, signs new infection rates are falling. Although some experts have warned against premature resumption of daily activities, many countries are either beginning to reanimate their economies or are in the process of planning to do so. The economic costs of continued shutdown are not just weighing upon developing countries, but even in developed countries such as the United States there are regular protesting calling for shutdowns to be lifted.
As Bangladesh tentatively opens its doors, we take a look at what the rest of the world is doing.
India went on countrywide lockdown from March 25, implementing strict measures against those who failed to follow the order. After a month's strict lockdown, the Indian government allowed limited reopening of shops in neighbourhoods and residential areas from Saturday.
Late on Friday the federal home ministry said retail shops could start operations with the staff number reduced by 50%, while also requiring appropriate social distancing, wearing of masks and gloves during work.
India has reported more than 27,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 850 deaths till Monday.
In Pakistan, the government extended the nationwide lockdown that started on March 25, till May 9. However, it is switching to a so-called "smart lockdown" from Saturday for targeted tracking and tracing of cases while allowing some industrial and commercial activities to begin under safety guidelines.
Prayer congregations for Ramadan have also been allowed in Pakistan with the exception of the southern province of Sindh.
It was from China that the coronavirus spread and the country went into official lockdown from January 23, 2020 though the first case of Covid-19 was detected back November 2019. And after staying more than one and half months in strict lockdown,
China gradually started to ease off the lockdown and started opening shops from the middle of March. Currently no towns in China is under any official lockdown and the public transportation system has opened as well.
Though the people in China need to maintain social distancing when they are working, on Monday, children in China's two most important cities went back to school. Shanghai students in their final year of middle and high school were allowed back into their classrooms, while in Beijing only high school seniors were back on campus.
Vietnam on April 1 implemented strict social distancing rules nationwide for 15 days to curb the spread of COVID-19. The measures include self-isolation and restricting people from leaving homes except for food and medicines.
Some industries and businesses were given permission to resume operations from April 16. Taxis, buses, Grab services and inter-provincial transport have also resumed though with restrictions. Additionally, the Ministry of Transport has allowed increase in the frequency of domestic flights on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route as well as the reopening of other domestic routes.
Vietnam ended the social isolation guidelines at the end of April 22, though restrictions will continue in some high-risk areas. While the social isolation guidelines in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have also been lifted, some restrictions continue to remain for bars, clubs, spas, theaters, sports centers, and others, while a gathering of more than 20 people is prohibited. Restaurants and eateries that operate must comply with strict guidelines from local authorities.
United States of America
Lock downs around the US varied from state to state and eight states, led by Republican governors - Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming - never issued mandatory orders to stay at home.
Salons, retailers and other businesses in several US states started to reopen over the weekend, as governors began easing restrictions in some sectors in an effort to begin to repair the battered economy.
The moves in the US come as the rate of growth in infections in some parts of the country appeared to slow. Still, the number of confirmed infections neared 1 million in the U.S., according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. Public-health officials warned social-distancing measures would likely continue through the summer and a return to normalcy could prove fitful.
States including Alaska, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and South Carolina began easing shutdown orders in recent days, prompting businesses to slowly reopen with social-distancing guidelines and other restrictions in place.
Italy has outlined plans to ease the strict restrictions imposed on March 9 to curb the spread of the coronavirus as it recorded its lowest daily death toll since mid-March.
Italian premier Giuseppe Conte said curbs would be relaxed from May 4, with people being allowed to visit their relatives in small numbers, in masks. The parks will reopen as well but there will be no school until September.
The Italian government also gave directives that funerals are set to resume, but with a maximum of 15 people attending, and ideally to be carried out outdoors, individual athletes can resume training, and people can do sports not only in the vicinity of their homes but in wider areas. Bars and restaurants will reopen for takeaway service from May 4 -not just delivery as now - but food must be consumed at home or in an office. Hairdressers, beauty salons and restaurants are expected to reopen for dine-in service from June 1 and more retail shops not already opened under the earliest easing measures will reopen on May 18 along with museums and libraries.
With recorded 260 new virus-related deaths on Sunday, the lowest daily figure since 14 March, Italy has reopened bookshops, laundries, stationers, and children's clothes stores in some regions. Forestry workers and IT manufacturers have been allowed back to work.
The total number of death in the country is now at 26,644, Europe's highest official toll, and confirmed 197,675 cases of the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the disease globally.
The countrywide lockdown in Spain started on March 15. Recently, the European country with the highest number of deaths after Italy - reported its lowest daily death toll in more than five weeks on Sunday, with 288 new fatalities. On Sunday, children could go outside for the first time in six weeks.
Spain has endured 185,000 infections and nearly 20,000 deaths and some factory and construction workers have been allowed back to work. The prime minister of Spain also said that the government is close to completing a plan to start rolling back the full measures gradually. Spain's lockdown is set to end on April 27.
After the first death on March 9, on 22 March, the German government announced the imposition of a national curfew which allows people to leave their homes for certain activities only, including commuting to work, exercising or purchasing groceries in groups not exceeding two people, unless they are from the same household.
German chancellor Angela Merkel announced this week that schools across the country would reopen on May 4, initially for students in their final years of primary or secondary school. Hairdressers will also be allowed to reopen on the same day if they undertake precautions to guarantee hygiene for customers and staff. Shops of up to 800 square metres in size, as well as bookshops, bike stores and car dealerships, opened again from April 20.
Social distancing measures will remain in force until May 3 and large cultural events, such as concerts and beer festivals, are banned until the end of August. Merkel "urgently recommended" people wear protective masks on public transport and while shopping, but has not made them compulsory.
On March 8, the Saudi Arabian government announced that it was temporarily halting all transport in and out of the Qatif Governorate, though residents of the area would be permitted to enter the city. The country's Ministry of Interior stated that all individuals with confirmed cases in the country were from Qatif.
On March 24, a nation-wide curfew was put into place with movement restricted to between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. On 30 March, the Jeddah Governorate was subjected to a curfew by the Ministry of Interior, with all movement to and from the city suspended.
The holy cities of Makkah and Madinah were subjected to a 24-hour curfew starting 2 April.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman has issued an order to partially lift the curfew in all regions of the kingdom while keeping a 24-hour curfew in Mecca and in previously isolated neighbourhoods, state news agency (SPA) said early on Sunday.
The curfew will be lifted between 9am and 5pm from Sunday onwards, while malls, wholesale and retail shops will be allowed to reopen from the sixth day of Ramadan to the 20th day of the holy month - April 29 to May 13.
As of Sunday morning, Saudi Arabia recorded 16,299 infections and 136 deaths, the highest among the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Iran went for a lockdown for a short time, but a strict one, from 12 March which ended on April 4.
Following that, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country's regions would be divided into three zones: white, yellow and red. If a region has seen no new infections or deaths for at least two weeks, it will be classified as white and allowed to lift lockdown measures, including on religious sites.
Lockdown in Australia started from the third week of March and recently their prime minister, in an expansive press conference, outlined the three key criteria that will guide Australia's path back from Covid-19.
• An increased capacity to test and a more extensive "sentinel testing" regime, which means testing rapidly and widely, including people who are asymptomatic, to understand just how widespread the virus is.
• Contact tracing "lifted to an industrial capability", in the words of the prime minister, to find and isolate all of the contacts of a known infection. A key part of this will be encouraging Australians to download to their phones a tracing app, currently in production, modelled on Singapore's TraceTogether App, which uses bluetooth to alert users when they come into contact with a confirmed case.
• Strengthened "local response capabilities" – essentially the ability to lock down hotspots where outbreaks occur, such as the one in north-west Tasmania this week. This will include multiple layers of government agencies, including, potentially, the military.
Till now at least 1.3 million Australians have downloaded the government's COVIDsafe tracing app, as support for Prime Minister Scott Morrison surges thanks to his handling of the outbreak.
In Australia's Queensland state, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said stay-at-home restrictions would ease starting May 2. Queenslanders will be able to leave their homes for some recreational activities.
New Zealand entered one of the world's strictest lockdowns early, on 23 March, before a single death from the virus in the country. It closed schools, and all shops, save for essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, service stations, hospitals and banks.
Non-essential movement was prohibited, travel between islands and gatherings stopped, and all indoor and outdoor events cancelled indefinitely. Even partners who lived apart were stopped from seeing each other.
On Monday, Ardern's cabinet will meet to discuss winding back its lockdown measures, from "level four" to "level three". If there is no spike in infection numbers before Monday, Ardern told New Zealanders, an easing of restrictions will mean "you can expand your bubble a small amount".
Early childhood centres and schools will reopen for students up to year 10 under level three, but attendance would remain voluntary. Funerals, tangi and weddings with up to 10 people would be allowed under the relaxed regime. Electricians and plumbers can go back to work, but must keep their distance from customers. Cafes, restaurants, malls and retail shops must stay closed but food delivery, drive-through services and online shopping will be allowed.