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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020
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Some countries have already reimposed restrictions after lifting them

It’s a delicate balancing act that countries are attempting to navigate.

People spraying disinfectant as a precaution in Seoul.
People spraying disinfectant as a precaution in Seoul.
Image: Im Hwa-young/PA Images

IRELAND IS HOPING the enter the first phase of the country’s five-stage process for reopening the country on Monday.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that he is “increasingly confident that” the country can begin easing measures in five days times.

Ireland’s five-stage process is a moveable feast however, with some elements potentially moving faster than others.

Health officials have also cautioned that some eased measures could be reimposed if required. Something which has happened in other countries.

South Korea 

Concerns over a second wave of coronavirus have been growing South Korea after a spike of cases were recorded after nightclubs reopened.

The country’s government had felt confident enough to reopen much of its economy after several weeks of seeing cases increase by just a handful each day.

But on Monday, new cases jumped by at least 35 after the outbreak in the nightclubs, which have been temporarily closed down again.

Authorities are combing through credit card and mobile phone records, and security camera footage, to track thousands of people who visited a popular Seoul entertainment district in recent weeks.

The spike forced authorities to delay this week’s planned re-opening of schools. 

Germany

Local authorities in Germany re-introduced some restrictions in meat processing plants due to spikes in the virus. 

Meat processing plants have caused concern due to numerous clusters in Ireland too

In Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the regional government said last week that there had been a spike in cases at a slaughterhouse in the district of Coesfeld, where over 150 of the 1,200 employees tested positive for the virus.

The region’s health minister ordered the temporary closure of the slaughterhouse and said employees at all of the state’s meat processing plants would now undergo testing for the novel coronavirus.

The outbreak also meant that district would be forced to postpone by one week the planned reopening of restaurants, tourist spots and fitness studios that was to take place on Monday.   

China 

Residents of China’s pandemic epicentre of Wuhan queued up across the city to be tested for the coronavirus yesterday after a new cluster of cases sparked a mass screening campaign.

Official figures recorded that more 3,800 people have died from Covid-19 in the city, accounting for the vast majority of fatalities in China.

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Quarantine was only fully lifted in early April but locals were given a fresh jolt when several new local infections emerged last weekend. It came after more than a month in which none were reported.

Fearful of a reliving the virus nightmare, officials have launched a drive to conduct nucleic acid tests on the city’s entire population.

Men, women, children and the elderly filed forward to medical workers in head-to-toe white protective suits and plastic face shields, who recorded their personal details before quickly jabbing a swab into the backs of their throats.  

- With reporting by PA and © – AFP 2020

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Rónán Duffy

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