Countries grapple with how to re-open economies amid COVID-19 pandemic

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South Korea‘s parliamentary elections went ahead Wednesday under the supervision of masked poll workers armed with thermometers and sanitizing spray, highlighting that even as the coronavirus pandemic eases, health precautions will still be needed if countries move forward with plans to scale back social distancing guidelines.

When and how to reopen battered economies has been a matter of intense debate, especially in the United States, where governors have begun sketching out plans to do so in a slow and methodical process to prevent the coronavirus from rebounding. President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed his desire to see the U.S. reopened for business quickly, though on Tuesday he appeared to back off his claim of absolute authority to determine when that happens.

In Italy, Spain and other places around Europe where infections and deaths have begun stabilizing, the process is already underway, with certain businesses and industries allowed to start back up. In South Korea, authorities resisted calls to postpone Wednesday’s vote and instead drew up a deliberate set of preventive measures to reduce risks of the virus being transmitted.

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Tape or stickers marked a meter of social distancing space from nearby streets to ballot booths.

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