Asia Minute: Regional Phases of Recovery

Apr 21, 2020

Discussions are underway about when the state may start to gradually re-open, although that will not be a sudden process. Governor Ige is expected to announce more details later this week. Across the Asia Pacific, some countries are facing different situations.

No new cases of novel coronavirus were reported in Hong Kong Monday — the first time that’s happened in nearly two months.

Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced Hong Kong’s social distancing rules would be extended for another two weeks. That includes a ban on public gatherings of more than four people. And while restaurants remain open, they are reduced to half their usual capacity, to allow for physical distancing.

In South Korea, the government eased some rules on Sunday — allowing facilities from bars to campgrounds to re-open if they enforce distancing rules. Other restrictions remain in force for at least another couple of weeks.

That gradual, phased approach is also being taken in New Zealand, which has been aggressive in testing. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says some restrictions will be lifted next Monday — some schools and businesses will re-open, but most people still must remain at home, and the entire situation will be reviewed in another two weeks potentially for another stage of loosening.

Ardern said she had considered easing some restrictions a bit earlier, but rejected that approach — saying, “we consider the longer we are in lockdown, the less likely it is we will need to go back.”