Spain to lift quarantine for foreign tourists beginning July 1
Spain will lift a requirement for foreign tourists to undergo a two-week quarantine beginning July 1, the government said on Monday in a statement.
Under current restrictions, visitors from abroad must isolate themselves for two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya had previously said the measure would be relaxed in July, without specifying the date.
Italy calls for volunteers to help authorities enforce social distancing
Around 60,000 volunteers in Italy will be tasked with ensuring people follow the government’s social distancing guidelines under a new plan unveiled by the country’s Civil Protection Agency.
Volunteers, or “civilian assistants” as they’ll be called, won’t have the authority to impose fines, but will patrol public spaces like parks and beaches and remind people to practice social distancing.
They will be allowed to work a maximum of three days a week, for no more than 16 hours per week. The Italian Civil Protection Agency called on the unemployed, retirees and people signed on to the government’s basic income scheme to volunteer, and will announce further details later in the week.
War-ravaged Syria reports 20 new coronavirus cases in largest single day increase
Syria reported 20 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the largest single-day increase to date, the Health Ministry announced.
The war-torn country has recorded 106 infections and four deaths so far, and new cases have increased in recent days with the return of Syrians from abroad, the ministry said. Syria has kept an overnight curfew in place but has begun to open some of its economy after a lockdown. Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by nine years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.
Health Minister Nizar Yazigi said last week that “coercive and unfair” Western sanctions were hitting medical services needed to cope with coronavirus and he called for their removal.
Shoppers report empty sympathy card shelves
Sympathy cards are selling out in many stores across the U.S. with shoppers sharing photos on social media of striking gaps where the cards would usually be found on greeting card displays.
“At a time when the graduation card rack should be empty, it’s the sympathy cards that are sold out,” wrote one Twitter user.
Google searches in the United States for “virtual sympathy cards” have increased 200 percent, while “how to sign a sympathy card” searches are up 180 percent in the last year.
More than 100 new coronavirus infections linked to German church service
At least 107 people have tested positive for coronavirus following a church service in Frankfurt, Germany earlier this month.
Worshipers from the Rhine-Hesse area were among the infected, the state of Hesse Health Minister Kai Klose said in a statement on Sunday. State authorities are trying to trace everyone who attended the service at the Gospel Christians Baptists Frankfurt, which took place on May 10, according to reports by German newspaper, Frankfurter Rundschau.
In a statement posted on its website, the church said it was “deeply distraught” to learn of the outbreak and had moved all subsequent services online.
South Korea to send masks to Korean adoptees living abroad
South Korea will this week send 370,000 face masks to Korean adoptees living in 14 countries severely affected by the coronavirus, with about 60 percent going to the United States.
About 50 masks would be made available to each adoptee who had submitted a request via their consulate, the director-general for overseas Koreans and Consular Affairs Bureau of South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, Byun Chul Hwan, told NBC News.
“Currently, it is illegal in South Korea to export masks to overseas except when you have families in South Korea, in which case a limited number of masks can be sent. But, it is difficult for adoptees to receive masks as their immediate families cannot be reached,” Byun said. Of the 167,000 South Koreans adopted overseas around 110,000 live in the United States. Other countries include France, Denmark, Sweden and Australia.
Japan to lift state of emergency on Tokyo and four remaining areas
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday that Japan will lift a state of emergency for Tokyo and four remaining areas later in the day but that it could be reimposed if the pace of infections picked up.
Social distancing curbs were loosened for most of the country on May 14 as new infections fell, but the government has kept Tokyo and four other prefectures under watch. He added that Japan had managed to get the coronavirus infection under control in just one and a half months, in its own way, and that this showed the strength of the “Japan model.”
The world’s third-largest economy has escaped an explosive outbreak with more than 16,600 infections and 839 deaths so far, according to NHK public broadcaster; however, the epidemic has tipped it into a recession and plunged Abe’s popularity to multi-year lows.
Countries try ‘travel bubbles’ to save post-lockdown tourist season
Never heard of “travel bubbles” or “air bridges”? Read on because what you learn just might save your summer vacation now that we are in the coronavirus era.
With little clarity on when the pandemic might end, many Europeans have already given up on the idea of a summer getaway.
But some countries, desperate to salvage this year’s travel season — and eager to jump-start their economies — are slowly reopening their borders and offering a glimpse of what travel might look like now.
Read the full story here.
European security experts warn of bioterror risk after coronavirus pandemic
Security experts from the Council of Europe human rights organization have warned against the increased risk of bioterrorism after the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement released on Monday, the Secretariat of the Committee on Counter-Terrorism, said terrorist groups were already experimenting with biological weapons, and cautioned that the intentional use of agents such as viruses and bacteria could cause both human and economic damage “on a far grander scale than traditional terrorist attacks.”
The council’s experts called for a “coordinated” response to this threat and urged all 47 Council of Europe member states to develop common legal standards and implement training exercises to prepare civil security and health experts for a possible attack.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson under fire after supporting aide who traveled during lockdown
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced rising anger among lawmakers in his own party, bishops and the public at large after he supported an aide who drove hundreds of miles out of London during the lockdown.
Johnson said on Sunday that adviser Dominic Cummings acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity” to ensure that his son could be cared for “at the moment both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus.” The response on social media was fierce, with people tweeting stories of how they managed to obey lockdown in difficult circumstances.
Britain is the worst-hit country in Europe by coronavirus with more than 36,000 deaths and the fourth highest number of reported cases in the world.
Russia’s confirmed coronavirus cases top 350,000
Russian health authorities reported 8,946 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the nationwide total to more than 350,000 cases since the start of the outbreak. It has the third highest number of reported cases in the world, behind only the U.S. and Brazil.
Though nationwide confirmed case growth appears more or less stable, the daily case count continues to rise outside of Moscow — Russia’s epicenter — and into the rest of the country. Moscow reported just 2,560 cases overnight, the lowest the capital has seen in over a month, while the rest of the country reported a combined total of 6,386, a record high.
Fatalities dropped to 92 on Monday after authorities reported a nationwide record of 153 deaths on Sunday. The country has recorded 3,633 coronavirus deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.