May brings reopenings around the globe as virus toll climbs

NEW YORK: May is bringing cautious reopens of coronavirus blocks, from Beijing's Forbidden City to shopping malls in Texas, as the gloomy economic cost of the pandemic increases.
Many communities around the world are slowly moving towards normality without being sure whether the virus outbreaks have expired. But grim new figures released Thursday underscored the pain inflicted by the disease and increased pressure on leaders to end the closings.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits surpassed a staggering 30 million and the European economy fell a record 3.8% in the first quarter as hotels, restaurants, construction sites and manufacturing froze due to blockades.
As bad as those and other numbers are, some are outdated due to delayed data collection, so the real situation is undoubtedly much worse.
Still, analysts saw a glimmer of hope in the way new jobless claims have declined for four consecutive weeks. Andrew Stettner, a senior member of the Century Foundation, said the wave of layoffs at vulnerable businesses such as restaurants, hotels and shops may have run its course.
"Fortunately, for now, the economic contagion appears to have stagnated," Stettner said. "But we are still at a level that is a deadly threat to the financial well-being of the nation."
The layoffs amount to 1 in 6 American workers and cover more people than the entire population of Texas. Some economists say the U.S. unemployment rate for April can reach 20%, a figure not seen since the Depression of the 1930s, when unemployment reached 25%.
The ancient and majestic Forbidden City of China reopened on Friday with all tickets for the holiday period from May 1 to 5 sold out, and a limit of 5,000 visitors per day, below the previous high of 80,000.
The Chinese capital reopened its parks and museums, with controlled entrances, approximately three months after hundreds of millions of people were ordered to almost shut down when the coronavirus outbreak broke out in the central city of Wuhan.
China reported 12 new cases on Friday, six of them brought from abroad, and there were no new deaths by day 16.
In the USA In the USA, where large numbers of people continue to die from COVID-19, health officials have warned of the danger of a second wave of infection, and some employers and employees have expressed fear of returning to work.
Lacey Ward, an Omaha stylist, said she is concerned that the Nebraska governor's decision to allow the reopening of salons on May 4 could put her and her family at risk. She would prefer to collect unemployment until the danger disappears.
"I feel like we are literally guinea pigs in this situation," he said.
Finding enough workers willing to return is proving challenging for Jennifer Holliday, a restaurant manager in Oklahoma City who will reopen her dining room on Friday. Many of their employees are not answering calls or messages.
In some states, authorities are taking a more cautious stance: California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the beaches in Orange County to be closed until further notice after tens of thousands of people flocked to the arena last weekend. .
Still, many states and countries are moving forward, relaxing restrictions on staying home amid impatience among those who complain about the loss of livelihoods and say their rights are being trampled.
Simon Property Group Inc, the largest operator of shopping centers in the USA. In the US, it plans to open 49 shopping malls on Friday in 10 states, including Texas, Indiana and Georgia.
Shopping malls will keep workers masked and limit the number of shoppers. Some stores may only partially open at first or just have a curb pickup.
The death toll from Texas coronavirus peaked at 50 days on Thursday as the state prepared for a slow restart by reopening retailers, restaurants, shopping malls and movie theaters to a limited number of customers. The 119 deaths in the past three days mark the deadliest stretch since the state's first death in the pandemic was recorded on March 17.
In other parts of the world, closings are decreasing, with caution.
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said most commercial activities will reopen starting Monday, days before a two-month blockade ends, after infections fell sharply in recent weeks.
Thailand was preparing to reopen parks and some retailers, beauty salons, and restaurants, maintaining a 10 p.m. curfew. at 4 a.m. and extending its ban on alcohol sales.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who recently recovered from COVID-19, said the UK is "beyond the peak" and "on a downward slope" in its outbreak, but was expected to extend precautions, while established Germany, Portugal and the Czech Republic. to start loosening your restrictions.
With signs that the outbreak has stabilized in some places, and after news that the economy contracted at an annual rate of 4.8% in the first three months of the year with an overwhelming drop of 40% projected for this quarter, President Donald Trump decided not to extend the White House's social distancing guidelines expired Thursday.
Those guidelines encouraged people to work from home and avoid restaurants, groups, and nonessential travel.
The virus has killed more than 230,000 people worldwide, including more than 61,000 in the United States, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed infections worldwide exceeded 3.2 million, with 1 million of them in the US. But the actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to limited evidence, differences in the death count, and concealment by some governments.

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