Spain Allowing Some Workers to Return to Jobs

Spain is loosening some of its coronavirus restrictions Monday with workers in the manufacturing and construction sectors allowed to go back to work. With the threat of spreading the virus still present, companies are required to provide employees with protective equipment and make sure they maintain the recommended two meters of spacing from other workers. Spain has been one of the hardest-hit countries with more than 165,000 confirmed cases and 17,000 deaths.  Much of the country has been on lockdown for about a month. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Sunday the pandemic is a threat not only in terms of its impacts on health, but also economically and socially. “Therefore, the response requires combining measures that prevent contagion, that allow the recovery of our health system and that at the same time prevent paralysis and the collapse of our economy with the harmful effects it may have on employment in our country,” Sanchez said. The balance between how long to keep in place stay-at-home measures and when to send people back to work to restore economic function is one being weighed by governments all over the world. South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Monday officials were discussing potential new guidelines that would keep in place social distancing rules while allowing some “economic and social activity.” Couples enjoy the view while practicing social distancing during the global spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at an observatory near “N Seoul Tower” located atop Mt. Namsan in Seoul, South Korea, April 7, 2020.South Korea has seen its number of daily new cases steadily fall, with the government reporting Monday 25 new cases. U.S. President Donald Trump has signaled his desire for economic activity to return to normal as soon as possible.  His administration has advised people to stay home if they can through the end of the month, while the governors of most of the country’s 50 states have gone further and ordered lockdowns with exceptions for activities such as exercise and grocery shopping. Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a CNN interview Sunday that he thinks some of those measures could be lifted as early as next month. “We are hoping that, at the end of the month, we could look around and say, OK, is there any element here that we can safely and cautiously start pulling back on? If so, do it. If not, then just continue to hunker down,” Fauci said. He added that a key piece will be the ability to quickly identify anyone who becomes infected, isolate them, and track down who they have been in contact with, and that any reopening efforts would depend on the specific situation in different parts of the country. As of early Monday, there were 1.85 million confirmed cases worldwide, with 114,000 deaths, according Johns Hopkins University statistics.  The United States accounted for more than 550,000 cases. 

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