When we first heard about the novel coronavirus, it was just a piece of news coming from China in the papers. Nobody expected this sneaky little piece of RNA to become a problem for the entire world. Right now, there is only one country that has demonstrably defeated the epidemic: New Zealand moved down to alert Level 1, removing all restrictions except border controls. It even held its first rugby match at a stadium filled with spectators.
Other countries are far from achieving what the island-state managed to do. In most European countries, the epidemic is slowly winding down, with the number of new infections decreasing day after day. In other parts of the world, the reopening is still pretty far away.
With more than 2 million recorded cases and over 100,000 casualties, the USA is the country hit hardest by the disease. Its case is special, though – different federal states have different case counts (with the bulk of the cases recorded on the East Coast). As such, different parts of the country are reopening already.
This is how it’s possible for Las Vegas to reopen its hotels and resorts after months after going dark, leaving American gamblers with little more than the online games and dreaming of the lights, the shows, and the delicious meals that made the city famous, while other areas are still under strict restrictions.
Canada didn’t implement stay-at-home orders, and businesses are edging toward reopening in most provinces and territories. Overall, the country had it pretty easy, with under 100,000 confirmed cases.
In many Latin American countries, the number of coronavirus cases is rising sharply as we speak. Brazil has the highest case count in the territory, and a significant death toll as well. The number of cases is high – and rising – in Ecuador and Peru, and Mexico’s death toll is also high. Here, the pandemic is yet to reach its peak – reopening is out of the question right now.
In Africa, the real proportion of the pandemic is hard to assess because many countries have limited testing capabilities. So far, the number of confirmed cases is around 250,000 (around 120,000 active cases), and the number of cases is rising. It has taken the territory 98 days to reach 100,000 cases, then 18 more for 100,000 more to appear. More than half of the African countries have reported community transmission at the end of May. In these, reopening is still far away.
As of June 15, Australia only had 150 active cases. The country is beginning to reopen its borders to international students and ease restrictions as we speak. It reportedly considers “travel bubbles” with safe countries like New Zealand and shortening quarantine for international students and business travelers from low-transmission countries.
Europe was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic – but some countries were much more affected than others. By far the most affected country is Russia, with more than 500,000 cases reported, and the least affected was the Åland Islands, the autonomous territory near Finland that only reported 12 cases, all of them recovered.
The first wave of the pandemic seems to have passed in most European countries so many of them are already reopening – with restrictions. In most countries, gatherings are still limited, and indoor restaurants and events are still banned. Italy, Greece and other countries that rely on tourism as an important part of their revenues are also reopening their borders to tourists – from selected countries, for now, and with restrictions and strict social distancing mandates.
Aside from North Korea and Turkmenistan, pretty much every Asian country has reported at least one COVID-19 case. The territory had close to 1.4 million cases but – as you might expect – different countries were affected in different measures by the disease, from India’s extended lockdown and 330,000 cases to East Timor’s 24.
The situation is varied – in Taiwan and South Korea, life is almost back to normal, while in India and other territories, lockdowns are still in place. Japan has ended its state of emergency in May, while the number of active cases is still on the rise in Saudi Arabia, for example.