Tens of millions of French and Spanish people began to regain part of their freedom of movement on Monday, but the fear of a second wave of the pandemic remains unresolved in Europe as in the United States, where the coronavirus now directly affects the White House.
Calls to continue to favor telework, wearing a mandatory mask in transport, social distancing: governments have tried to promote a smooth recovery after two months of activity in neutral or almost.
But, Monday morning, the Paris metro experienced a peak in traffic almost similar to the days before the confinement. “It will be impossible,” annoyed Brigitte, on a line serving the center of the French capital.
The joy of reconnecting with a semblance of social life is however very present in these two countries, among the most bereaved by the pandemic which has caused more 100 000 dead in the world since its end appearance 2019 in China.
“After so much time locked up with us, we are enjoying our reunion in the sun”, says Marcos Maimó, 29 years , toasting with three friends in the Spanish city of Tarragona, south of Barcelona.
Monday evening in Paris, a crowd came to celebrate, bottles in hand, the end of confinement on the banks of a canal which was usually very busy had to be dispersed by the police.
In France, where more than 26 600 People perished, the leaders also warned that an “emergency reconfiguration” was possible if necessary. “Thanks to you, the virus has receded. But it is still there. Save lives stay cautious, “President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.
80 000 dead in the United States
In Spain, in order to limit the risks of spread, only part of the country was deconfined on Monday. Several large cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona, remain subject to severe restrictions in this country which also deplores more 26 000 dead.
These deconfinements are made possible by a certain ebb of the pandemic, as evidenced in Italy, a number of people in intensive care passed under the symbolic bar of 1000 sick for the first time since 10 March.
But COVID disease – 19 continues to kill despite everything.
In the United States, the most bereaved country, the bar of 80 000 death has been crossed and that of 100 000 dead could be reached by the beginning of June according to several epidemiological models.
Certain regions of New York will be able to revive their economy as of 15 May, but not New York City itself, badly affected and where containment is expected to last until June.
Sign of an epidemic difficult to control, the coronavirus appeared in the White House, where a close collaborator of the vice-president Mike Pence and a soldier in the service of Donald Trump were declared positive at the end of last week.
The President of the United States raised the possibility of limiting his contacts with his Vice-President.
“This is something that we will probably talk about during this quarantine period,” he said, seeming to confirm a form of isolation for Mike Pence, who, however, received a negative diagnosis.
Despite this alert at the heart of the power of the first world power, the republican billionaire continues to call on the American states to restart their activity to revive the economy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has once again called for “extreme vigilance” when lifting the restrictions.
“If the disease persists at a low level in countries which do not have the capacity to study the outbreaks, to identify them, there is always the risk that the disease will start again,” warned his manager of the questions of health emergency, Michael Ryan.
In South Korea, where the epidemic had been brought under control, the capital, Seoul, ordered the closing of bars and nightclubs after a resurgence of COVID disease – 19. Thirty-five new cases were identified on Monday.
In Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus had started to strike, authorities announced a new case on Sunday and five Monday, after more than a month of respite following draconian confinement.
In Germany, a country often cited as an example for the efficiency of its crisis management, the critical threshold for 50 new contamination for 100 000 inhabitants a been crossed in three cantons.
Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed on television on Monday that in this “new phase of the pandemic”, it was “very important” that people respect barrier gestures.
Balance “difficult to find”
In this context, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, himself a survivor of the disease, extended at least until June 1 the confinement of the United Kingdom, the second most affected country in the world with more 32 000 dead .
However, he presented on Monday a progressive deconfinement plan granting more possibilities of exits, on condition of maintaining his distances and staying between people of the same household.
“Our challenge is to find a way to move forward while preserving the hard-won gains, while reducing the burden of containment. I will be frank: it is an extremely difficult balance to find, “he said.
It also set the objective of sending primary school pupils back to school for one month, before the summer holidays, and paves the way for a restart of the sports season behind closed doors on June 1, before possible reopening of non-essential businesses from July 4
Schools reopened on Monday in Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands. “The children really wanted to go back to school, they jumped everywhere seeing their friends,” says Manon, mother of three toddlers in The Hague.
Our challenge is to find a way to move forward while preserving the hard-won gains, while reducing the weight of confinement
– Boris Johnson