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Spain, Italy and Greece to begin to ease lockdown measures and reopen businesses

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Spain, Italy and Greece to begin to ease lockdown measures and reopen businesses

Masked people at the Colosseum in Rome
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli / Getty Images

With seemingly effective COVID-19 containment policies resulting in daily decreases in new cases and deaths, Spain, Italy and Greece will start easing their lockdowns today by gradually reopening shuttered businesses.

Greece has emerged with relatively few deaths—no more than 140 reported—though its economy is expected to contract by 10% this year. As case numbers fall, European leaders will have to implement strong economic responses alongside contact tracing of infected citizens to prevent a second resurgence, like that seen in Singapore. The city-state, initially lauded for its successful initial response, has seen a massive resurgence in COVID-19 cases and deaths; 80% of new cases are concentrated in the nation’s 300,000 largely poor migrant workers.

With 100,000 migrants and refugees in Greece in close proximity in overcrowded camps—and more than 3.6 million in neighbouring Turkey, many of whom are located near the border—similar resurgences as experienced in Singapore are a major concern. Greece will largely have to deal with this risk without the help of fellow EU member states. As the rest of Europe reopens, countries with large migrant groups, particularly in south and southeast Europe, might face similar resurgences if they cannot, at the bare minimum, enforce social distancing among and provide stable healthcare access to their working migrant and refugee populations.

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Photo: CNN Politics

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