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Reopening national economies: What five countries have done

There’s no single playbook for reopening economies after COVID-19 lockdowns. This McKinsey webinar provides a comparative look at five countries’ reopening approaches—and the common power of data.

Around the world, government leaders at every level are devising and, in some instances, implementing plans to reopen their economies. While specific guidelines and milestones vary widely, the fundamental challenge is the same from locale to locale: how to protect lives and public health while reinvigorating economic growth and employment. In this McKinsey webinar, partners Leah Pollack and Andrew Pickersgill discuss examples of five different national approaches:

  • China, one of the first countries to start reopening, began by considering which sectors were most important to its economy and then looked at the risks of transmitting the virus in those sectors.
  • Denmark reopened childcare facilities and schools first, since people couldn’t return to work if their children had nowhere to go.
  • Germany focused on understanding and managing the infection vulnerability and economic impact of different job types.
  • Switzerland began reopening in the sectors with the lowest degree of customer-employee interaction.
  • New Zealand opted to target the total elimination of new cases before reopening.

The pace of reopening will generally vary by population segment, geography, sector, and occupation type, but one common thread runs through many approaches. That is collecting and monitoring data that are granular, near-real-time, and drawn from both public and private sources. Reliance on good-quality data can increase compliance with health and safety protocols, gauge the success of the reopening process, and make improvements along the way.

To learn more about strategies for reopening, please read “How to restart national economies during the coronavirus crisis.”

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