EU reopens to visitors as virus surges in US

Agence France-Presse . Corfu, Greece | Published: 23:55, Jul 01,2020


The European Union reopened its borders on Wednesday to visitors from 15 countries but excluded the United States, where deaths are spiking once again and a top health official warned the country was heading in the ‘wrong direction’.

The final list of nations safe enough to allow residents to enter the EU did not include Russia, Brazil or the US, where the daily death toll passed 1,000 on Tuesday for the first time since June 10.

US infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said the United States could see 1,00,000 cases a day if the current trend continued, and several US states imposed 14-day quarantines on travellers from other states.

The EU hopes relaxing restrictions on countries from Algeria to Uruguay will breathe life into its tourism sector, which has been choked by a ban on non-essential travel since mid-March.

Travellers from China, where the virus first emerged late last year, will be allowed to enter the bloc only if Beijing reciprocates and opens the door to EU residents.

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 5,11,312 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Wednesday.

At least 1,05,09,550 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 53,02,100 are now considered recovered.

The United States is the worst-hit country with 1,27,425 deaths from 26,36,538 cases. At least 7,20,631 people have been declared recovered.

After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 59,594 deaths from 14,02,041 cases, the United Kingdom with 43,730 deaths from 3,12,654 cases, Italy with 34,767 deaths from 2,40,578 cases, and France with 29,843 deaths from 201,208 cases.

India has registered nearly four lakh coronavirus infections in the month of June, according to data from States and the Centre. The country has seen over 5.85 lakh cases till June 30 — this means that over 67 per cent of total cases were registered in the past 30 days, reports Hindustan Times.

The coronavirus tally in Pakistan reached 2,13,470 with the detection of 4,133 new cases in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

The viral infection has claimed 91 more lives in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 4,395. Another 2,741 patients are in critical condition, the ministry said, reports The Economic Times.

Greece, which has suffered fewer than 200 virus deaths, has seen its economy hit hard by lockdowns and travel restrictions — all but ending its lucrative tourism season before it began.

On Wednesday, hoteliers, restaurateurs and other business owners were nervously waiting for the return of mass tourism, particularly in island resorts.

Romanian Cojan Dragos was ‘the first tourist’ in one Corfu hotel. He drove with his wife and daughter and said: ‘We have the whole hotel just for us.’

‘It’s empty, there’s not a single tourist, the restaurants, the shops are closed, it’s sad,’ he said, hoping for some excitement when other tourists arrive.

Russians will be absent from Europe’s tourist hot-spots as they have not been included in the list of approved countries.

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has extended a lockdown on a district hit hard by a slaughterhouse outbreak and the British city of Leicester has also been locked down again.

A spike in cases in parts of the Australian city of Melbourne spurred new stay-at-home measures affecting some 3,00,000 people.

But in the Chinese capital, officials lifted several local lockdowns and reporting just three new cases following a cluster of a few hundred cases in recent weeks.

In the US, Fauci, a member of president Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, warned Congress Tuesday that officials were ‘not in total control right now’ and the country was going in ‘the wrong direction’.

‘I would not be surprised if it goes up to 1,00,000 a day if this does not turn around,’ he said.

Spikes in Texas and Florida are driving the national increase and need to be tamped down quickly, Fauci said.

Texas alone reported 6,975 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, its highest tally yet in an outbreak that has killed some 1,27,000 people nationwide — one-quarter of the global total.

The Pan American Health Organisation warned, meanwhile, that the death toll in Latin America and the Caribbean could quadruple to more than 4,00,000 by October without stricter public health measures.

The financial world continues to reel from the disease’s impact, with travel restrictions tearing through the aviation industry in particular.

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