A fresh coronavirus outbreak in China, new cases in New Zealand and record infections in parts of the United States show that the pandemic is far from over.
Across Europe and much of the United States, the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions has provided a sense that the immediate health crisis has passed.
Parisians were finally allowed to return to their beloved cafes this week, nonessential shops in the United Kingdom have begun to reopen and German tourists have boarded flights to Spain, eager to enjoy a sun-filled holiday.
In New York, throngs of people congregated outside bars over the weekend, enjoying drinks, sunshine and the company of friends.
Even as people begin to celebrate a return to normalcy, however, recent days have produced troubling reminders that the pandemic is not yet over, and that even if daily cases fall to zero, the virus can return at a moment’s notice.
In China, an outbreak of coronavirus infections linked to a major Beijing food market has sparked fears of a second wave of COVID-19. More than 100 cases have been identified over the past week, and the city has implemented harsh restrictions, closing schools and locking down residential neighborhoods in an attempt to contain the spread.
The two airports in Beijing have canceled more than 1,000 flights following the outbreak, and the city urged its 21 million residents to avoid nonessential travel outside the city.
Last week, New Zealand fully lifted its lockdown restrictions, save for border controls, after health officials declared the country to be virus-free — one of the first countries in the world to eliminate COVID-19 and return to pre-pandemic conditions.
The celebrations have proven to be short-lived, however.
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