Germany has declared nearly all of Spain, including the island of Mallorca, as risky areas following a spike of coronavirus cases in the south European country. Only the Canary Islands — which lie of the coast of North Africa — are exempted. Travelers returning from high-risk areas would be required to undergo testing and wait for the result in self-isolation which would last for up to two weeks.
The decision was made in coordination between Germany’s interior, foreign, and health ministries, and was reported by several news agencies and German media on Friday. The foreign ministry later updated its travel advice to include the warning.
“The at-risk label is not a closing of borders and is not a ban on travel,” the health ministry was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
Even so, the move is likely to be an immense blow for tourism in Mallorca, Ibiza and other Balearic islands, which see normally see millions of German visitors every season. Some 4.3 million Germans visited Mallorca alone in 2018. Spain has been seeing thousands of new cases per day, but the numbers have so far remained low in the Balearic region.
With coronavirus infections surging in France, health authorities have declared Paris and coastal metropolis of Marseille at-risk zones. Senior health official Jerome Salomon warned that “the situation is deteriorating week to week” in the country. Speaking on France Inter radio, Salomon said clusters emerge every day following family reunions, big parties, and similar events during summer holidays. He also warned there were “more and more people arriving in hospitals” and the authorities needed to react.
The United Kingdom said Thursday it will reimpose a mandatory two-week quarantine on travelers arriving in the country from France or the Netherlands. Monaco and Malta — as well as the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos and Aruba — also join the travel quarantine list. The Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps wrote on his official Twitter account that it will go into effect at 04:00 local time Saturday.
More than 500,000 Britons are holidaying in France — and the announcement is likely to lead many to cut their trips short. France’s junior minister for European affairs, Clement Beaune, said it was “a British decision we regret and which will lead to a reciprocal measure.”
The presumptive US Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, has called for a nationwide mask mandate to curb the coronavirus outbreak. “Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately and we will save lives, he said, adding that the plan could save more than 40,000 lives over the next three months. President Donald Trump resisted the idea, saying it was “playing politics with the virus.”
Peru passed 500,000 coronavirus cases and recorded more than 25,600 deaths, according to the Health Ministry, as the government struggles to contain a recent surge of infections. The country has the worst death rate in Latin America with 78.6 deaths per 100,000 people, according to a Reuters tally.
Two cities in China found traces of the coronavirus in imported frozen food from Brazil and Ecuador. Viruses can survive at temperatures of up to minus 20 degrees Celsius for up to two years, but experts have said there is little risk of getting sick from food. “People should not fear food, food packaging or delivery of food,” said WHO’s head of emergencies program, Mike Ryan.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un lifted a lockdown in Kaesong, a major city near the South Korea border, where thousands were quarantined over coronavirus fears. Kim insisted during a ruling party meeting the country will keep its borders shut and reject any outside help to stem the virus.
The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said Thursday that it began a continent-wide study of antibodies against the virus. The continent hit the 1 million cases mark last week, with more than 24,000 deaths recorded — but health experts are concerned the figures are higher. “What is important is far fewer people are coming down with the disease,” said Africa CDC director John Nkengasong. “How many people are infected and asymptomatic on our continent? We don’t know that.”
Some believe that the relative youth of Africa’s population, which has a median age of 19, might be keeping the numbers down.
New Zealand’s first known community outbreak in more than three months jumped to 17 cases. The number of infections is expected to increase. Health officials were still trying to determine where the virus came from. Before the new local outbreak, there were no locally transmitted cases in 102 days.Health officials also expanded the lockdown of Auckland, the country’s largest to August 26
In Australia, there were fewer new infections in Victoria, but the leader urged continued vigilance against the spread amid the second outbreak. The latest reports from the state of Victoria showed 14 more deaths and 372 new infections on Friday coming from a Melbourne outbreak. This marks a significant jump from Thursday when 278 infections and eight deaths were reported.
kbd/stb (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)