Lifting restrictions for COVID-19: Implications for New Brunswick

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New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training


The purpose of this rapid review (Part 2 in a 2-part series) is to examine the literature on the various steps being taken around the world to lift restrictions implemented to suppress the spread of COVID-19 – including social restrictions, such as those related to physical distancing, and economic restrictions, such as those affecting the closure of non-essential stores and other businesses. We find that some restrictions, such the closure of schools and non-essential stores and services, are more commonly among the first to be lifted – though this is done so gradually and with accompanying physical distancing and hygiene requirements. Countries around the world have also begun to ease and/or recommend measures impacting travel, recreation, and sectors of the workforce. While it is too soon to observe the outcomes for many of these measures, modelling studies and observations of case trajectories in Asia suggest a COVID-19 resurgence is likely to occur as restrictions are eased – but if appropriate measures are in place to monitor further infection and reinstate intermittent restrictions, future resurgence could be managed. The information presented herein on the experiences of other locations ahead of New Brunswick in their COVID trajectories and in the process of reopening their economies can provide valuable insights into the steps this province could take when lifting its own restrictions in future. For Part 2 of this report, we propose to supplement the current work with a qualitative review of the outcomes of easing restrictions, as well as quantitative metrics on the indicators leading up to lifting restrictions – both of which will be used to guide a discussion of implications for scaling back COVID-19 restrictions in New Brunswick