As the official death toll passes 650,000, officials around the world reintroduced a list of restrictions on Monday, from beach closures to quarantine, in an attempt to curb the coronavirus hotspots.
European countries struggle to balance keeping the lifeline of tourism open and repair the economic damage caused by the earlier lockdowns while at the same time, attempt to prevent another wave of infections.
London’s decision to reintroduced quarantine for British citizens returning to the country has caused British travellers and one major tour operator to cancel flights to Spain adding more misery to their tourism sector.
Wearing of masks in public was made mandatory in Hong Kong due to a new wave of infections. Social distancing measures has been tightened in Belgium in an attempt to halt what one expert called a “worrying” surge in cases.
US National security advisor Robert O’Brien, a senior administration figure, had contracted Covid-19 as was announced by the White House. However, the World Health Organisation argued against a wholesale closing of border even though the death toll and infections kept rolling in.
Michael Ryan, WHO emergencies director, says that this was “not necessarily a sustainable strategy for the world’s economy, for the world’s poor, or for anybody else.”
As outbreaks were developing differently in different countries, a “global one-size-fits-all policy” was impossible added Ryan. The emergency committee of the WHO will meet later this week to discuss the crisis, which would be six months after the pandemic was declared by the organisation as an international public health emergency.
According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University on Monday, the global death toll from the pandemic reached over 650,000, with European deaths taking up nearly a third of the total.
Since July 9, over 100,000 deaths were recorded and the global toll has doubled in just over two months. Part of a staggering increase of infections hitting Asia and Europe is due to the recent high number of coronavirus cases in China.
On Monday, the 100,000th coronavirus case in Indonesia was confirmed as the Red Cross warned that the epidemic in the world’s fourth most-populous country risked “spiralling out of control”.
A further setback was inflicted to Spain after major European tour operator TUI cancelled all their British holiday packages to mainland Spain from Monday until August 9th, further worsening the situation for the country after it had one of the highest death tolls and suffered economic losses during the pandemic.
On Saturday Britain made the decision requiring travellers returning from Spain to quarantine for two weeks, which has been the main reason for many tour cancellations.
Emilio Gallego, secretary general of Spain’s hotels association said that “There have already been cancellations and more are expected.” “Nobody is going to come here for a week’s holiday and then spend 14 days shut away when they get back home.”
On Monday, Irish no-frills budget airline Ryanair stated the pandemic had grounded its fleet for nearly four months, putting the airline into the red in the first quarter of the year.
A company statement said “The past quarter was the most challenging in Ryanair’s 35-year history.” In the midst of the rising coronavirus cases, other countries took a different approach.
On Monday, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said coronavirus tests will be mandatory for German travellers returning from risk areas. Spahn wrote on Twitter, “We must prevent returning travellers from infecting others unnoticed and thus triggering new chains of infection.”
28th July 18:20
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