The central government announced today that it would be lifting prior quarantine orders and begin allowing citizens to return to the outer districts.
The statement comes one month after titans breached Wall Maria and quickly began rampaging throughout towns located near the outer wall. A state of emergency was declared and all citizens within affected areas were ordered to quarantine within the inner walls until further notice. Nearly 1700 have been confirmed dead due to the titan outbreak so far with the economy grinding to a halt as businesses closed their doors and people remained in a high state of alert.
Since the evacuation, the amount of titan sightings have begun to steadily decline. With no humans around, many of the titans eventually became bored and wandered back outside through the gap in the wall. On Thursday, the central government stated that it believed the rate of titan encounters had peaked and that it was ready to begin lifting lockdown orders on the outer districts.
The decision received criticism from scientists who stated that it would be a mistake to reopen the districts this early into the crisis.
“If you return people back to the outer districts at this stage, the titans will just reappear again,” said titan researcher Dieter Strauss. “Titans actively seek out areas with large groups of people. Until the hole in the wall is sealed and all titans within the infected area are eliminated, it is not safe for the public to be outside.”
Others continued to pressure the government to reopen, fearing that extended quarantines would be severely detrimental to the economy.
“With the street markets all closed, my sales have really suffered,” said local trader Steffen Drescher. “I think they are really overstating things. Every year, hundreds die from wild wolf attacks and yet we don’t close the entire city every time someone spots a pack of wolves.”
“This isn’t just a regular group of rampaging rabid animals,” Strauss told reporters. “Titan attacks are much more deadly and spread destruction at a much faster rate. It is important not to ignore the severity of the situation.”
The central government has insisted that it will reopen the outer districts in a controlled manner. Essential workers, such as military personnel, healthcare workers, and farmers, would be the first to return to their positions. Young workers, considered less at risk due to their greater ability to outrun the flesh-eating behemoths, would also be allowed to return.
While the government stated that ODM gear kits would be available, shortages if the kits have still been ongoing. The central government received criticism during the early days of the outbreak when it failed to provide enough kits to soldiers who needed them. Many military members worried that they would not have the supplies necessary to respond if the outbreak worsened.
“They said they would be sending more ODM gear, but where are the kits?” stated Arnold Frey of the Scout Regiment. “We’ve been forced to purchase kits from other districts to keep up with the demand, but we still don’t have enough for everyone in the field. We’ve been asking for more supplies for weeks, but so far it feels like we are still on our own.”
Despite the criticisms, plans have begun to move forward with the district scheduled to reopen next week. The government assured citizens that it would be closely monitoring the amount of people eaten and would respond accordingly in the unlikely case of the situation worsening.