As the world braced for a possible second wave of Covid-19 infections, new travel restrictions were imposed in countries in Asia on Monday, while Europe’s summer reopening was thrown into disarray after a sudden directive on travelers from Spain imposed by the United Kingdom.
And the most senior official to test positive in the administration of the United States president Donald Trump national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, as the country still battles a rise in cases from the first wave of the pandemic with the number of infections increasing since June. Trump had not interacted with him in days and was not at risk, the White House said.
Several countries that had previously appeared to have the virus under control have started reporting a surge in Covid-19 infections.
While a record rise in daily Cvoid-19 cases was reported by Australia, tens of thousands of tourists were being forced to vacate the central city of Danang in Vietnam. The most locally transmitted cases since early March was reported from Mainland China, where the virus first emerged late last year.
Banning of gatherings of more than two people, closure of dining at restaurants and mandating wearing of face masks in public has been done in Hong Kong.
All travelers from Spain, another early epicenter of the pandemic, were ordered for mandatory quarantine for two weeks by the British government after a surge in cases in the country which significantly upended plans in Europe to reopen its tourism industry albeit partially.
Its advice against non-essential travel to mainland Spain to include the Balearic and Canary Islands was extended by the British Foreign Office on Monday.
Travel restrictions were not a long-term answer, said the World Health Organization (WHO). In order to halt the spread of the pandemic, it is necessary to implement proven strategies such as social distancing and face covering, WHO said.
“It is going to be almost impossible for individual countries to keep their borders shut for the foreseeable future. Economies have to open up, people have to work, trade has to resume,” WHO emergencies programme director Mike Ryan said.
Local measures instead of nationwide shutdowns would be more effective for containing new local outbreak of the virus, said officials in some European and Asian countries where there are signs of the virus spreading again.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday that Britain’s quarantine was an “error”.
He said that in Spain, the resurgence of the infections is isolated in two regions. He added: “In most of Spain, the incidence (of the disease) is very much inferior to even the numbers registered in the United Kingdom.”
A further delay in reopening of businesses for be fatal, say airlines and travel businesses that managed to get through the first wave of the pandemic.
On Monday, its annual passenger target was cut by a quarter by Europe’s biggest airline, Ryanair, while also issuing warning that in the event of a second wave of Cvoid-19, it would be forced to lower that target further.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)