The world is taking baby steps to what may broadly be described as normality. After nearly two years of restrictions and lockdowns, countries are lifting some of those curbs.
The UAE ended all capacity restrictions from February 15 in the wake of a decline in Omicron-driven Covid cases. On Monday, February 21, only 651 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the UAE, marking a big drop from the last few weeks.
This is in line with nations like the UK, where legal requirement to self-isolate after catching Covid-19 is expected to be dropped from next week. All remaining virus restrictions in Britain are also set to end in the coming days. While remaining coronavirus rules in Northern Ireland too have been lifted, Wales is currently at its lowest level of restrictions.
In Australia, vaccinated tourists and other visa holders, are now allowed entry — a full two years after the country sealed its borders. Australia, which had one of the world’s strictest border controls throughout the coronavirus pandemic, is among the world’s most immunised countries at present.
Cause for cheer
There is cause for cheer in the US too as the number of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations continues to fall. Many American cities and states are loosening vaccine and mask requirements.
India’s central government has asked states to ease, or even do away with, restrictive measures that had been imposed to deal with the third wave of the pandemic.
The decision to drop the Covid-19 PCR test requirement for passengers flying from UAE to India (who have received the two doses of vaccine in India) is likely to result in a substantial boost in passenger traffic flow between the two countries.
While there is much cause for optimism on ending restrictions around Covid-19, with lives potentially on the line, no one should think this is a slam-dunk decision. People must continue to wear masks and sanitise on a regular basis.
With daily coronavirus cases on the decline and all indicators signalling a steady return to the pre-Covid situation, there are real issues for many people worn down while dealing with the ongoing pandemic.
Many have felt the economic effects of the crisis — be it job losses, wage reductions, layoffs or closures of small businesses.
Reports of a ‘return to normality’ — albeit gradually — should come as a relief to everyone.