Some countries move to cautiously reopen borders while others see COVID-19 spikes
The Associated Press · Posted: Jun 14, 2020
Countries around the world moved to cautiously reopen their borders on Sunday as others are seeing spikes of COVID-19 infections and deaths.
France announced on Sunday that it’s opening its borders with other European countries at midnight for the first time since shutting them amid virus fears three months ago, and will start opening up to visitors from other continents July 1.
It’s among several European countries opening borders first thing Monday — though it’s not clear how many Europeans are ready to travel again. The French government has urged fellow EU members to co-ordinate their border rules, and is sticking to calendar recommendations from the European Commission last week.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Sunday the country will also open its borders to travellers from Europe’s Schengen travel areas except Portugal on June 21, moving up the original date by 10 days.
Spain will drop its requirement for people arriving from abroad to stay in quarantine, either at home or in a hotel, for 14 days on arrival, when it reopens on that day.
Sanchez said Sunday that Spain and Portugal will keep their border closed to non-essential crossings until July 1.
Spain’s government had already announced that on June 21 it will end the nation’s state of emergency to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. From then on, Spaniards will be able to move freely around the country without restrictions, but face masks will remain obligatory in public transport and crowded spaces.
On Monday, Spain’s Balearic Islands test their reopening strategy by accepting the first flights from Germany of tourists who will be exempt from a quarantine. The islands plan to welcome up to 10,900 Germans during the trial.
In Egypt, the civil aviation minister said on Sunday the country will reopen all its airports on July 1 after suspending regular international flights in March.
Aviation Minister Mohamed Manar Anba said foreign tourism would be limited to resorts in three coastal provinces, after the government said on Thursday it would reopen Egypt’s main seaside resorts for international flights and foreign tourists from July 1.
The announcement came as Egypt’s Health Ministry announced 1,677 new confirmed cases — the highest 24-hour infection total since the virus was first detected in the country in mid-February. The ministry also reported 62 deaths from COVID-19, the disease that can be caused by the virus.
The global number of confirmed COVID-19 cases exceeded 7.8 million as of Sunday morning, with over 431,000 fatalities, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada
As of 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, there were 98,733 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases in Canada, with 60,237 cases considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,196.
In the two provinces with the most cases, the rate of new infections continues to decrease.
Ontario reported 197 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the second day in a week that the province has reported fewer than 200 new cases. Quebec added 128 cases on Sunday, the lowest number of new infections since March 21.
Read on to see what’s happening around the world.
China reported its highest daily total of coronavirus cases in two months after the capital’s biggest wholesale food market was shut down following a resurgence in local infections. Officials say there were 57 confirmed cases in the 24 hours through midnight Saturday. That was the highest daily total since mid-April and included 36 new cases in Beijing.
The Xinfadi market on Beijing’s southeast side was closed Saturday and 11 neighbouring residential compounds locked down after more then 50 people in the capital tested positive for the virus. They were the first confirmed cases in 50 days in the city of 20 million people.
China had relaxed most of its anti-virus controls after the ruling Communist Party declared victory over the disease in March.
In the U.S., a number of states have recorded record new cases and hospitalizations, as most pushed ahead with reopening and President Donald Trump plans an indoor rally in Tulsa, Okla.
Alabama, Florida and South Carolina reported a record number of new cases for the third day in a row on Saturday, which many state health officials partly attribute to gatherings over the Memorial Day holiday weekend in late May. Arizona and Nevada reported a near-record number of new cases.
Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas and Utah all had a record number of patients enter the hospital on Saturday. In South Carolina, 69 to 77 per cent of hospital beds are occupied, depending on the region.
As cases of COVID-19 trend upward in several U.S. states, some experts blame reopening too soon. 2:01
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday the country was emerging from the pandemic with minimal losses, having handled it better than the U.S. where he said party political interests got in the way.
With 528,964 confirmed cases, Russia has the third-highest number of infections after Brazil and the United States.
Its official death toll stands at 6,948, much lower than in many other countries, including the United States which has had over 115,000 deaths. The veracity of Russian statistics has sometimes been the focus of fierce debate however.
Russia’s largest cities remain officially locked down at least until the end of June, but CBC News discovered a thriving sub-culture of bars, gyms and other services that continue to operate clandestinely. 4:00
Bangladesh reported 3,141 new cases and 32 more deaths from the coronavirus on Sunday, raising its total caseload to 87,520, including 1,171 fatalities.
Nasima Sultana, additional director general of the Health Directorate, said a junior minister from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Cabinet and a former health minister and close aide to Hasina both died of the virus on Saturday in Dhaka, the capital.
Bangladesh’s main state-run hospitals are overwhelmed, with many critical COVID-19 patients being deprived of intensive care beds and ventilators.
North Macedonia reported a new record day of fatalities from the coronavius.
The Health Ministry announced Sunday nine deaths from COVID-19 and 162 new cases over the past 24 hours, which brings the total number of infected to 4,064 with 188 deaths.
The figures place the small Balkan nation of about 2 million people at the top of the list of infections and deaths in the region.
With files from CBC News and Reuters