O brave new world. It’s the week it opens the door and gingerly peers out


View from a house in Sarasota, Florida: The back garden slopes into the river and old trees shade you from the world. Photo: Rashmee Roshan Lall

This is the week the world tries to recover its nerve even though we remain months away from a vaccine for Covid-19 and still have no cure. As 15-year-old Miranda said in Act V of The Tempest:

“How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in’t!”

Indeed, rather a brave attempt at re-opening is getting underway. Consider the following:

** Seven weeks after imposing a national lockdown, Britain’s Boris Johnson is dropping his “stay at home” message for “stay alert”, which is, if you think about it, a pretty meaningless slogan for a microbe.

** Public transport will resume and places of worship allowed to reopen on Monday, May 11 in Djibouti, which has the highest prevalence of coronavirus cases in East Africa.

** McDonald’s will resume limited operations in the UK.

** Apple will reopen many of its US stores. On Monday, the Apple store in Boise, Idaho throws open its doors. Others in South Carolina, Alabama and Alaska will follow suit a few days later.

** Disneyland in Shanghai reopens Monday but with attendance capped well below the 30 per cent of capacity decreed by the Chinese government.

** Restaurants and bars in parts of Spain except for Madrid, Barcelona and other badly-hit areas will reopen Monday but patrons will have to sit (or stand) outdoors. Shops selling non-essential items will also reopen. Parties of 10 or less are allowed in people’s homes.

** France and Belgium will allow many more stores to open, albeit with appropriate social distancing measures.

** It’s back to school for children in Switzerland.