Satoshi Ikeuchi, Professor, Religion and Global Security, University of Tokyo

Countries are searching for the way back to normal, cautiously probing the possibility of reopening economy, after two months of lockdowns and curfews.

South Korea, which was hit by a huge outbreak originating from clusters of infections within a Protestant cult in Daegu, recorded zero new domestic cases in April 29, for the first time since its outbreak began to worsen in February. South Korea has partially eased restrictions on gatherings on April 19 and plans to relax more if the period of chain of holidays at the late April and early May ends without any upticks of infections.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared on April 19 that the country won the battle against the widespread community transmission of the coronavirus, easing the Alert Level from Four to Three to make way for the cautious reopening of economy.

France and Germany are looking to ease lockdown measures gradually in May and June. 

US President Trump also seeks for a quick reboot of economy, even though US states are still recording high number of new infections and deaths every day.

There are legitimate fears of the second wave of outbreaks and highly probably, we will be hit again and again by the waves of infections. We expect to experience stop-and-go closedowns of economy in the foreseeable future. 

Yes, we have to stay at home to suppress the spread of virus in community, but it’s also true that we can’t do it indefinitely if we are to maintain the community.

In view of the elderly population’s unproportionate vulnerability to COVID-19 diseases and probable higher transmissibility to others, eventually there comes a time when the younger generation have to go out for work, taking part in economic activities and shouldering more burdens of responsibility.

We can’t say for sure, for the moment, what kind of shape the “Post-Corona” world would take. We can’t even say when this new era would come. What is for sure now is, to keep sustaining the health care and nursing systems which are critical for the well-being of older generations, more participation to economy by younger generations are inevitable.

It might accelerate the generational change and innovation. At least we might have hope for that and bet on that.