Even as virus cases mount, leaders across the world — particularly in developing countries — say they cannot sustain punishing lockdowns without risking economic catastrophe, The New York Times reported.
In India, Mexico, Russia, Iran and Pakistan, among other countries, officials say they have had no choice but to prioritize the economy and relax lockdowns.
A glimpse from the streets reveals a sharp rise in person-to-person contact in recent days even as the World Health Organization is warning that daily infections from this highly contagious virus are reaching new peaks.
- India is now reporting more new daily infections, around 10,000, than all but two countries: the United States and Brazil. New Delhi and Mumbai, the two biggest cities, are overloaded with infections, and experts said the peak was several weeks away. Government officials have proposed commandeering some of New Delhi’s fanciest hotels to turn into hospitals.
- In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador kicked off the reopening in early June with a tour of the country. “We have to head toward the new normality, because the national economy and the well-being of the people depends on it,” he said during a stop in Cancún.
- Health experts say Pakistan will soon be overwhelmed with cases, but it has relaxed restrictions. Outside the cities, almost no one is trying to socially distance, and testing remains scarce. Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote on Twitter in April, “We sought a total lockdown without thinking about the consequences for the daily wage earners, the street vendors, the laborers, all of whom face poverty and hunger.”
- Iran decided to open up last month in an attempt to salvage its economy, which was already suffering under international sanctions and huge budget deficits. Iran’s leaders said the pandemic was a reality that Iranians had to learn to live with. Now a second surge of infections has arrived.
- The number of new infections in Russia has hovered around 8,000 to 9,000 each day. But the mayor of Moscow, a hot spot that had been under a strict lockdown, lifted many restrictions this week. Analysts said the reopening was partly aimed at ensuring high turnout for a July 1 vote on an amendment to extend President Vladimir V. Putin’s rule.