– In Italy, Rome’s Colosseum has reopened to visitors, along with the leaning tower of Pisa
The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 371,000
– Brazil’s total number of infections has surpassed 500,000, with 29,314 deaths
– In a bid to revive its ailing economy, South Africa partially lifts its coronavirus lockdown
All times in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT)
20:45 The Czech Republic has opened up its borders and is further rolling back on coronavirus restrictions. Czechs are now allowed to travel to most European countries without proving they are COVID-19 negative upon return.
“We can start travelling around Europe from June 15,” Health Minister Adam Vojtech tweeted
The Eastern European country has 9,286 confirmed cases of the virus and 321 deaths. The Czech government began to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions in April. Vojtech said theatres and cinemas would also be allowed to ease social distancing measures starting next week. He also announced that the maximum number of people allowed at mass events will be raised to 500 as of June 8.
The Czech government considers Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Finland and the Baltics as the “safest” countries during the global pandemic and has listed Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain as countries with elevated risk. Britain and Sweden have been named as countries of high risk.
20:30 German beaches were forced to implement crowd control after too many people headed to sunbathe on a sunny public holiday. On the island of Sylt in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein police tried to break up crowds while also putting in place extra portable toilets.
In the nearby towns of Haffkrug and Scharbeutz temporary bans were put in place on day tourists, German broadcaster NDR reported. Parking lots had a maximum capacity of 70%: once this capacity was reached, more cars were diverted from coming near the beaches.
Meanwhile in mountainous Bavaria, some hiking trails were closed off by authorities who were scared of large crowds. Police reported a large number of cars parked illegally in national parks and protected areas.
20:15 A specially-chartered flight has transported several German police trainers and one soldier from Afghanistan back to Germany after they were infected with coronavirus. The health system in Afghanistan has been struggling to cope with the pandemic.
The Luftwaffe, the German air force, charted two planes that landed in Cologne early in the hours of Monday morning. The personnel went straight into quarantine.
19:47 Italy announced the smallest daily number of new coronavirus infections since February, the country’s Civil Protection Agency said in a statement.
The latest figures gives a glimmer of hope two days before the scheduled reopening of internal boundaries as well as borders with EU countries and the Schengen area.
Italy’s official tally of new cases increased by 178 in 24 hours, bringing the total to 233,197. The daily number of new cases was 516 Friday, 416 Saturday and 355 Sunday. The number of deaths in the past 24 hours was also low compared to the recent average with 60 fatalities registered throughout the country for a total of 33,475 deaths, while the number of people in intensive care, currently 424, continues to drop.
The northern region of Lombardy remains the most affected region with 16,131 deaths and 89,018 infections, but it registered only 50 new cases on Monday from a total population of approximately 10 million.
Italy has been relaxing its lockdown since the beginning of May, with restrictions on movement and business activities easing gradually.
Also on Monday, Italy released a controversial mobile app to trace coronavirus infections in four regions despite widespread criticisms over privacy violations.
This is the first large amusement park in the world to resume operations. Rules are: Facemasks must be worn in the queue and every second seat must be left empty. More than 2.5 million tickets have already been requested online for the coming weeks. The Europapark Rust, located in the triangle of Germany, France and Switzerland, attracted 5.7 million visitors last year.
The 14 cruise ships of the German Rostock-based shipping company Aida Cruises will remain in port until July 31. In many holiday destination countries the regulations for international tourism are still being discussed, the company announced. The Italian shipping company Costa is also extending the cruise suspension for its fleet until July 31.
Rome’s 2,000-year-old landmark can finally be visited again from June 1, and the Vatican Museums will also reopen on that day. Ancient Pompeii, south of Naples at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, is already welcoming visitors again, but only those from within the country. From June 3, however, foreign tourists will be able to return to Italy and visit the ancient sites.
From today (May 26) one of the most sacred places of Christianity will be open to the public again. Only 50 people can enter the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem; wearing facemasks is compulsory. While Jews have already been allowed to pray again at the Western Wall also known as the Wailing Wall, in Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount is to open to Muslims at the end of the week.
From Monday (May 25), Greece’s islands will be accessible again by plane and ferry for domestic tourists. Taverns, bars and cafes are reopening nationwide. Ferries are to sell only 50% of their tickets, and taverns are only allowed to occupy half of their tables. The list of countries from which foreign tourists can enter Greece without a two-week quarantine will be announced at the end of May.
Starting on May 22, visitors will again be allowed on to the viewing platform and restaurant of the Berlin TV tower. Only about 50 people are allowed in at any one time, masks are mandatory, and tickets must be reserved online. At 368 meters (1207 ft.), the Berlin Television Tower is the tallest building in Germany and a popular tourist hotspot.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese authorities have imposed a climbing ban on Mount Fuji on May 18, and all four routes on the mountain have been closed. Normally during the climbing season in summer, which lasts only two months, thousands of people climb the slopes of the volcano daily in single file. At 3,776 meters (12,389 feet), the mountain is the highest in Japan.
In Greece, all beaches in the country were reopened on May 16. According to media reports, strict regulations were observed: The distance between parasols had to be four meters and only two sunbeds per parasol were allowed. Beach bars could only sell packaged food and not serve alcohol. Is this a preview of summer holidays in Europe despite the coronavirus pandemic?
From May 15, people entering North Rhine-Westphalia from other EU countries and Schengen states no longer have to go into a 14-day home quarantine. The other German states are to follow in the next few days. Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are also exempt from the quarantine regulations, making travel to neighboring countries much easier.
On May 16, Germany opened its borders to neighboring countries France, Austria and Switzerland. There will only be random checks, and no more checks at all for Luxembourg. However, there must still be “good” reasons for crossing the border. And love is accepted as such. For example, German-Swiss couples at Lake Constance (photo) — can visit each other again.
The Austrian government has announced that the border with Germany will be opened on June 15. Tourism in Austria has been effectively suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. On May 29, hotels and other accommodation in Austria will be allowed to reopen. Austrian tourism is heavily dependent on guests from Germany.
Borkum, Juist (photo) and the other East Frisian islands are happy to be able to greet tourists again, even if it’s a limited surge of visitors. Since May 11, overnight stays in holiday apartments and camping sites throughout Lower Saxony have been allowed again. Holidaymakers must stay at least one week. However, day tourists and hotel overnight stays are still prohibited.
Thuringians are pioneers. Weimar is the first city in Germany to reopen restaurants and cafés. Since May 6, people have been sitting in the sun with a coffee or beer and enjoying a step back towards normality — while keeping their distance. Restaurants and hotels in the other federal states will also resume their limited operations by the end of May.
Holidaymakers might also be able to travel to the Balearic or Greek Islands in summer. “If there are very few new infections there and the medical care works, one could also think about a summer holiday in those places”, the government’s commissioner for tourism, Thomas Bareiss, told the Tagesspiegel newpaper. Long-distance travel, however, is likely to be cancelled this summer.
On May 18, the coronavirus lockdown for Bavaria’s outdoor gastronomy ended and the beer gardens have reopened. Of course under strict conditions — waiters have to wear masks, for example. On May 25, indoor gastronomy is to follow, restaurants and cafes, with a limited number of guests. From May 30, the operation of hotels, and holiday homes in Bavaria will be allowed again.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is the first federal state to reopen to tourists from all over Germany: From May 25th they can again stay in hotels, guest houses and holiday homes. 60 percent of the bed capacity will be released for this purpose. This means that the tourist season can start with the Whitsun holidays in popular holiday regions like the Baltic Sea and the Mecklenburg Lake District.
One of Beijing’s most important sights can be visited again after months of closure due to the coronavirus crisis. From Friday (May 1), visitors are allowed back into the palace complex on Tiananmen Square under strict security conditions. Instead of the previously usual 80,000 visitors, a maximum of 5,000 guests are to be admitted daily.
Germany extended on Wednesday (April 29) its worldwide travel warning due to the coronavirus crisis to at least June 14. The Federal Foreign Office said that “severe and drastic restrictions in international air and travel traffic and worldwide entry restrictions, quarantine measures and restrictions on public life in many countries can still be expected.”
Gastronomes have set up empty chairs in central locations in Germany, such as here in Düsseldorf, to draw attention to their situation in the coronavirus crisis. “Without direct financial aid, most of our businesses will not survive,” says Guido Zöllick, President of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association. “Suppliers and partners are also increasingly being drawn deeper into economic crisis.”
Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is confident that the border between Austria and Germany will soon be opened again for tourists. Both countries are on the right track in containing the spread of the coronavirus, Kurz told ARD television on Wednesday (April 22). This is the precondition for a revival of tourism. He did not name an exact date for the opening of borders.
“A normal holiday season with crowded beach bars and busy mountain huts will not be possible this summer. That would be unacceptable,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday (April 21). However, he did not rule out the possibility that borders for tourists could be reopened before the summer and that holiday travel with certain restrictions might be possible.
The Oktoberfest has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bavaria’s premier Markus Söder and Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter announced the decision on Tuesday (April 21). ”It pains us, and it is a great pity”, said Söder. But in times of the coronavirus, the danger of infection at the folk festival, which attracts about six million visitors annually, would just be too great.
The Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, hopes that tourism on the North and Baltic Seas will be revived in the summer. Despite the coronavirus crisis, he “definitely did not write off the summer tourism business,” he said on April 19. While they are now proscribed, stays in secondary residences, holiday homes and finally hotels could be made possible again in three steps.
The government resolutions (April 15th) stipulate that people in Germany should continue to refrain from making private trips. The worldwide travel warning is to be upheld. Accommodation offers are only available for necessary and explicitly non-touristic purposes. Restaurants will also remain closed. Tourism is one of the industries that has been hit hardest in the coronavirus crisis.
The entry ban imposed by the USA on foreign nationals from Europe will remain in place for the time being. Italy and Spain are still struggling with the coronavirus crisis and France has just extended measures to contain infections by the virus, US President Donald Trump said on Monday (April 13). The entry ban will remain in force until the countries show signs of improvement, Trump said.
Hotels, cafes and souvenir shops are closed. It is unusually empty outside the Royal Palace in Palma (picture). The Easter season on the Spanish holiday island of Mallorca has been cancelled. The Majorcan hotel association now fears that due to the uncertain situation in the main markets of Germany and Great Britain, some hotels will remain closed even during the peak season.
By Sunday (April, 5) 205,000 travelers had been brought back to Germany, according to the federal government. Airplanes from Peru and Colombia were the most recent to take off. More than 40,000 Germans however are still stranded abroad. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter. ”We will continue our efforts to find solutions for the travelers who have not yet been able to return.”
Thousands of foreigners stranded in New Zealand because of the coronavirus crisis will be able to leave the Pacific state from Friday (April 3). On Thursday, the New Zealand government announced that it would allow the “safe and orderly departure of tens of thousands” of stranded people. Earlier it had stopped return flights by foreign governments.
A light installation on the Matterhorn in Switzerland is giving a sign of solidarity and hope in the fight against the corona virus. Encouraging messages are also being projected on to many other tourist landmarks around the world. “Stay safe”, “Stay at home” could be see on Monday evening on the Great Pyramid in Giza near the Egyptian capital Cairo.
The repatriation process for Germans stranded abroad is ongoing. Until now, main destinations such as Egypt or Morocco have been addressed. “It will be more difficult with countries that only have small groups of scattered adventure vacationers,” said the crisis manager of the German Foreign Office. Tourists in the Pacific Islands must first be rounded up in New Zealand and then flown out.
After long delays Thailand closed its borders on Thursday (March 26). The authorities had delayed the decision for a long time to safeguard the tourism sector. Now tens of thousands of tourists are stuck in the Southeast Asian tourist country. The German government has so far not organized a repatriation for German tourists, as Thailand is not considered a risk region.
The German foreign ministry announced on Wednesday (March 25) that, together with tour operators, it had brought back more than 150,000 Germans from abroad. Tour operator TUI added that almost 95 percent of the tourists who were stranded because of the coronavirus pandemic are now back in Germany. They were mainly flown out from Egypt, Spain, Portugal and the Cape Verde Islands.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that the warning against traveling abroad will remain in effect until the end of April. “This includes the Easter holidays,” he said on Twitter. “Stay at home! Protect yourself and your fellow human beings,” he appealed to the population. Many tour operators have also extended their travel ban until the end of April.
The EU Commission is supporting the return to Europe of tens of thousands of long-distance travellers. It intends to cover a large part of the costs, since most of the flight connections have been cancelled. “We are here to help them return,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video message.
African countries have also ordered numerous measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. South Africa, for example, has banned access to the country for people coming from risk areas. Nigeria is monitoring the temperature of travelers at airports, ports and borders. Cameroon has closed its borders indefinitely.
The Australian government has imposed an indefinite ban on all foreign travel by its citizens. Prime Minister Scott Morrison also called on all Australians who are abroad to return home. A 14-day compulsory quarantine for all people entering the country has already been in place for some time. Here, too, it has become quiet in the cities.
The coronavirus crisis is impacting travelers and the tourism industry with full force. Several tour operators, including TUI, has cancelled trips, and some airlines are shutting down. Germany’s federal and state governments decided that overnight stays should only be used for “necessary and explicitly not for touristic purposes”. Germans are to “no longer take holiday trips at home and abroad”.
The EU has closed its entire external borders for 30 days as from Tuesday (March 17, 2020). “All travel between non-European countries and the European Union will be suspended for 30 days,” French President Macron said in a television address on Monday (March 16,2020) evening. The Schengen Area, which includes several non-EU countries, has also closed its external borders.
More and more countries are sealing their borders, and many flights are cancelled. With special flights Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings want to bring up to 6,500 stranded holidaymakers from the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and on Mallorca back to Germany. In Morocco, the German government is assisting German tourists who are stranded there due to their return flights being cancelled.
On Monday morning (March 16, 2020), Germany introduced entry controls at the borders with the five neighboring countries: France, Denmark, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland. Border crossings will be reduced to what is strictly necessary. Goods can continue to pass through, including commuters, but not travelers without good reason. The duration of the measures remains open.
Whether Spiekeroog, Sylt or Rügen: Vacation on the northern German islands in the North and Baltic Sea is no longer possible as of March 16, 2020. Those who had already moved into their accommodation have been asked to return home. The health systems of the islands are not equipped to deal with large numbers of infected people. Regulations are to follow for mainland tourism.
Disneyland Paris and Disney World Florida have closed until the end of the month. Disney Cruise Line have also suspended all new departure through the same period. The company said the decision was made “with great caution” to protect guests and employees. The company said the parks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai, which had already been closed, will also remain shut.
All ski areas in the Austrian provinces of Salzburg and Tyrol are ending the winter season early. Cable car operation will be discontinued as of Sunday (March 15, 2020). Hotels and accommodations will be closed from Monday. The provincial governments said that this should slow down the spread of the virus in the Alpine country. The two provinces account for most leading Austrian ski areas.
Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the USA is imposing a general 30-day travel ban on people from Europe. The entry ban comes into force on Friday (March 13, 2020) at midnight (local time). It does not apply to US citizens residing in Europe who have tested negative for the pathogen.
India has declared all tourist visas invalid for 1 month because of the corona virus. Only travelers who are already in the country are allowed to stay, the Indian Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday (March 11, 2020). The entry ban is to last until April 15 for the time being.
Climbing Mount Everest via the north side has been forbidden by Chinese authorities. The necessary permits for expeditions to the world’s highest mountain were withdrawn on Thursday (March 12, 2020).
In order to reduce the spread, the border into neighboring Austria can only be crossed from Italy with a medical certificate. Slovenia has closed its border, and Albania has banned Italian air and ferry traffic. Many airlines have cancelled flights to Italy until at least 3 April. Germany, the UK, and Ireland tightened travel recommendations and called on their citizens to leave.
The Costa Crociere shipping company is cancelling all cruises in the Mediterranean for the time being. The cruises will be suspended until April 3, the Italian company announced on Tuesday (March 10). The measure affects thousands of passengers. Ships still operating in the Mediterranean will only call at Italian ports to let passengers disembark.
The dome and roof terrace of the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin have been closed to visitors since Tuesday (March 10, 2020) until further notice to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus. The walkable dome and the roof terrace are visited by more than 2 million people every year, according to the Bundestag.
All ski facilities in Italy have been closed since Tuesday (March 10, 2020) due to the corona crisis. Prior to this, hoteliers and cable car operators in the South Tyrol region (photo) had already agreed to close their facilities. South Tyrol is particularly popular with winter sports tourists from Germany and Eastern Europe. The closure is effective until at least April 3.
The Czech Republic (picture) and Poland are carrying out checks at the border with Germany to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. Since Monday (March 9), travelers have faced random temperature checks. The German government has warned against travelling to risk areas. And air passengers from China, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy will have to expect controls when entering Germany.
On March 8 the Italian government issued an entry and exit ban for the more than 15 million inhabitants of the northern Italian regions, which include the key business center Milan and the tourist magnet of Venice (photo). Cultural, sporting and religious events are also banned for visitors. Museums, cinemas and theaters remain closed nationwide.
Repeatedly cruise ships have to be quarantined or prevented from docking. After cancellations in Thailand and Malaysia, the Costa Fortuna (photo) with 2,000 passengers, including 64 Italians, has been allowed to enter the port of Singapore. In Oakland, California, 2,000 passengers and 1,100 crew members of the Grand Princess are quarantined because 19 of them have tested positive for COVID-19.
Sights in Asia are particularly affected by travel restrictions for Chinese tourists. Hotspots such as the Senso-ji temple (picture) in Tokyo and the temple complexes of Angkor Wat in Cambodia are reporting a sharp drop in visitors. On March 9, the Ministry of Tourism in Thailand reported a 44% drop for February. Tourism accounts for 11% of the gross domestic product.
19:17 Brazilian soccer club Vasco da Game has said 16 of its players had tested positive for the coronavirus with a further three already recovered from the disease.
The announcement comes a day before the state of Rio de Janeiro’s soccer clubs are due to resume training after a two-month coronavirus shutdown.
According to the Rio-based club, the 16 players – out of 43 tested – would be put in isolation.
“This only proves that we are taking great action, identifying infection in our athletes as quickly as possible,” Vasco da Gama said in a statement. “This allows us to stop the virus being spread.”
Rio soccer club players will be allowed to undergo physical examinations and take individual training from Monday but contract training is still not authorized.
The state championship was suspended in mid-March.
Other states in the country must still decide when soccer clubs can restart full training.
Brazil has registered over 514,800 coronavirus cases with over 29,000 deaths – the fourth highest in the global pandemic after the US, the UK and Italy.
18:42 Nigeria’s presidential task force for COVID-19 announced a series of relaxations on coronavirus restrictions from Tuesday onwards, including on places of worship.
Boss Mustapha, Nigeria’s most senior civil servant, also said that the northern city of Kano will start easing its lockdown measures as of Tuesday.
“Nigeria has not reached the peak of confirmed cases,” Mustapha told reporters.
Nigeria – Africa’s most populous country and where both Christianity and Islam are widely practiced – has registered 10,162 confirmed cases and 287 deaths.
Another official said domestic flights could possibly resume from June 21, adding that from Tuesday a national curfew would also be shortened to 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. from its current 8 p.m to 6 a.m.
Sani Aliyu, the national coordinator for the task force assigned to combat COVID-19, said Nigeria’s financial sector will also be able to resume normal working hours.
Interstate travel is still forbidden unless for essential purposes including work-related reasons. Face masks are still mandatory in public.
18:05 Albania has reopened its land borders but large-scale activities are still banned until June 23.
After 79 days of coronavirus restrictions, people in the Balkan country are now allowed to move around freely.
Also on Monday, the country – heavily dependent on tourism – opened its beaches with hotels, allowing ethnic Albanians to visit for tourism purposes.
Sports matches such as soccer will resume this week, but still without fans. Parks, gyms and internet cafes also opened on Monday but hygiene practices are still in place.
Cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, mass public transport, swimming pools, weddings, conferences and public hearings won’t reopen until June 23.
Despite a spike in daily infections last week, the situation was “stable”, a health official announced.
With a population of 2.8 million, Albania has reported 1,143 coronavirus infections and 33 deaths.
People are disinfected before entering a market in Tirana
17:42 Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has announced an inquiry into the country’s handling of the pandemic before the summer.
The probe comes amid rising criticism from opposition parties on both the right and left.
Lofven had previously said a special commission would be appointed once the pandemic is over but he and his Social Democrats party – which rule in coalition with the Greens – have faced mounting pressure to take action sooner.
Read more: Sweden launches probe into handling of pandemic
Sweden has lost more than 4,000 people to the pandemic, with roughly half of them having been nursing home residents.
Testing in Sweden has also been significantly lower than in other Scandinavian countries – reaching only a third of the
government’s target of 100,000 tests per week.
While the mortality rate over the course of the coronavirus outbreak has been lower than in some countries which had stricter measurements to contain the virus, Sweden had the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths in Europe relative to the size of the population through parts of May.
The Nordic country has made global headlines for its more liberal approach to handling the coronavirus. Sweden has relied on voluntary measures based on hygiene and social distancing practices and kept most businesses, restaurants and schools open even during the peak of the pandemic.
16:52 Despite a surge in COVID-19 infections, the Indian government plans to lift lockdown measures, which were imposed to contain the virus spread.
The Indian Interior Ministry said the lockdown would be extended in high-risk “containment areas” until June 30. Read more from DW’s Asia desk.
India has so far recorded over 190,000 coronavirus cases. The country registered its highest single-day tally on Sunday with 8,380 new infections, according to figures released by Johns Hopkins University.
16:15 The coronavirus crisis has severely impacted the treatment and care of people suffering from other diseases worldwide, according to a survey by the WHO.
The survey showed that 31% of the countries had to restrict or completely suspend care for acute cardiovascular problems, 42% cut care in cancer patients, 49% in diabetes patients and more than half were unable to maintain care for people with high blood pressure.
Read more: Coronavirus severely disrupts cancer, diabetes care – WHO
Rehabilitation programs have been cut back in 63% of countries while prevention programs such as breast cancer examinations were also affected.
Health appointments were mostly canceled due to the reallocation of medical workers to the frontline to deal with COVID-19 patients or due to lockdown restrictions.
“It’s vital that countries find innovative ways to ensure that essential services for non-communicable diseases continue, even as they fight COVID-19,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The survey also found that cuts in healthcare for non-coronavirus related diseases were more severe in low-income countries.
WHO estimates that 41 million people die from non-communicable diseases each year, making up 71% of deaths globally.
15:50 Only one in two Germans would be vaccinated against coronavirus if a vaccine became available, according to a survey released by pollster YouGov. A further one in four would perhaps get the vaccine, while one in five of the 2,056 respondents said they would not be vaccinated.
Read more: Survey: Half of Germans would vaccinate against coronavirus
Germans are generally divided about the need for vaccination against coronavirus: While 44% of those surveyed advocated for it, 40% opposed it. No vaccine against the virus is currently available, while experts believe that it could take over a year for one to be safely developed and approved. The government has also stressed that when a vaccine is available, it will not be made compulsory.
According to the German Infection Protection Act, mandatory vaccinations cannot be imposed by the federal government but can only be decided jointly by the federal and state governments to protect “threatened sections of the population.”
15:23 Japan has begun conducting blood tests to find out what percentage of its population has developed antibodies – an indicator of past coronavirus infections.
The Japanese health ministry is carrying out tests on 10,000 randomly selected people aged 20 or older in Tokyo and Osaka – the country’s two most infected prefectures. Around 3,000 people will be tested in each area with the results expected at the end of June.
Due to its lack of testing capability and a lack of resources, Japan as until recently begun limiting access to testing in an attempt to decrease the number of fatalities.
14:45 Here’s the latest from around Europe:
The first day of June has seen lockdown restrictions eased in a number of European countries, with residents from Athens to Amsterdam flocking to museums and bars for the first time in months. Many countries are eager to kick off the tourist season on Pentecost Monday, a public holiday in several European countries.
In Italy, Rome’s Colosseum has reopened to visitors, along with the Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel. Visitors will have to maintain strict social distancing and crowd control limits the amount of guests.
Tourists have lunch at a restaurant by the Grand Canal in Venice
“We are reopening a symbol. A symbol of Rome, a symbol of Italy,” said Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum’s archaeological park. Tourism accounts for 13% of the Italian economy. Italy was among the first countries to put a strict lockdown in place, and has over 230,000 confirmed cases while 33,415 people have died.
The Netherlands celebrated a public holiday by heading back to bars and beaches. New rules allow bars and restaurants to serve up to 30 people inside, but social distancing must be observed and no reservations are compulsory.
Concerns were raised about the risk of overcrowding at beaches as thousands went to enjoy the sun. Museums also reopened. The Netherlands has over 46,000 confirmed cases and nearly 6,000 people have died.
In the United Kingdom, social distancing restrictions were eased and some elementary school classes returned to the classroom for the first time in over two months. Health experts have cast doubt on the government’s decision to speed up the easing of the restrictions as cases continue to rise every day and the R number stays close to 1.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that those at high risk who have been told to “shield” can also go outside to meet family and friends for the first time in over two months. The UK has over 38,000 dead, the highest number in Europe and second-highest in the world.
Greece, shortly after confirming that they will welcome summer tourists from a number of European countries, have lifted lockdown measures for hotels, campsites, public swimming pools and golf courses. Elementary school children also returned to the classroom.
The Mediterranean country has fared relatively well during the pandemic with less than 3,000 cases and 175 dead. However, the economy has taken a beating owing to lockdown restrictions and authorities are hoping that the economy will get a boost from the lucrative summer tourists trade.
After declaring itself the first European country to be “coronavirus-free,” Montenegro opened up the border to foreign tourists on Monday. The government published a list of 131 countries, mostly with relatively low numbers of coronavirus cases, whose citizens can visit the Balkan state. Montenegro’s government said on Twitter that tourists from Western Europe began arriving straight after midnight.
Montenegro has had 324 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 9 people have died, with no active cases reported in the country for several weeks.
In Spain, the government has released figures showing that there were zero international visitors during April. In comparison, in April 2019, 7 million tourists spent €7 billion ($7.9 billion). Unlike many other European countries, Spain is waiting until July to reopen its borders, but authorities are encouraging Spaniards to take domestic vacations.
Spain’s economy is expected to shrink by 9% and unemployment to reach 19% without the tourist trade. The infection rate continues to drop in the country that was once the epicenter of Europe’s pandemic. Almost 240,000 cases have been confirmed in Spain and over 27,000 people are dead.
14:15 In a bid to revive its ailing economy, South Africa has started partially lifting its coronavirus lockdown, letting people travel to work, worship services and shopping, and allowing mines and factories to run at full capacity.
The measures, which have been in place since the end of March, have pummeled the country’s economy, which was already in recession before the coronavirus.
“We are taking a gradual approach, guided by the advice of our scientists and led by the realities on the ground,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement.
The country’s central bank expects the economy to contract by 7% this year. However, some have criticized the move to ease lockdown measures as being too hasty.
Meanwhile, although classrooms for the last years of primary and secondary school are reopening, unions have urged staff to stay away, saying that schools are not equipped to enforce proper social distancing or effectively manage an outbreak.
South Africa has recorded 32,683 cases of coronavirus, with a death toll of 683.
13:35 Hundreds of people in the Afghan capital of Kabul have been rushing to a private hospital for an alleged cure for the coronavirus.
A controversial local herbalist – only known by the name Alkozai – claims to have cured 38,000 people using a product not yet approved by health authorities. Many – including local politicians – have endorsed the herbalist and his product on social media.
“We have taken his drug to the lab and will share the result after it has been analyzed,” said Kabul health director Khushal Nabizada, adding that claims of the product’s healing abilities were untrue.
13:12: An outbreak of 36 coronavirus cases, including one serious case, in the German city of Göttingen in Lower Saxony was traced back to a hookah bar that should not have been open, city officials confirmed.
The shisha bar had entertained more than 300 people before it was forced to close. Whether people were smoking on the same pipes is still unclear.
“The bar was closed and now a fine is being considered,” city spokeswoman Cordula Dankert said.
Many of the infected people lived in a housing complex in northern Göttingen. The entire complex and its more than 700 residents have been placed under quarantine.
12:30 For the first time in three years, Hong Kong has barred the annual Tiananmen Square vigil from taking place, citing coronavirus concerns.
The vigil has taken place on June 4 every year since 1990 to commemorate a 1989 government crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen square. But police rejected a permit request from the Hong Kong Alliance because the event would “constitute a major threat to the life and health of the general public.”
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam recently extended social distancing measure to June 4, a move organizers have criticized as “political suppression.”
The banned vigil also comes as mainland China has proposed a Hong Kong security law aimed at banning suppression, subversion and foreign interference.
11:02 German President Frank Walter Steinmeier praised German children for their discipline during the coronavirus pandemic. “You couldn’t visit friends and relatives, you couldn’t go outside and play, you couldn’t go out into the countryside, daycares and schools were closed,” Steinmeier said on the German children’s channel Kika.
“I think it’s great that you stuck to the rules so well in spite of all that, and for that, I say thank you very much.”
10:48 Iran on Monday said it had almost 3,000 new COVID-19 infections, its highest daily count in two months. The latest figures come as Health Minister Saeed Namaki said the country risks a second wave if people ignore guidance and social distancing rules.
“The outbreak is not over yet and at any moment it may come back stronger than before,” Namaki said in a news conference.
The Islamic republic has been one of the hardest-hit Middle Eastern nations by the pandemic, reporting 154,445 total infections and 7,878 deaths. The government eased lockdown measures in April after a decline in infection and death rates, but May saw an uptick in infections that the government has said was caused by increased testing.
07:36 Russia reported 9,035 new cases of coronavirus, and 162 deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 414,878 and death toll to 4,855, according to official figures. That marks a decrease of 233 reported cases and an increase of 24 deaths when compared to the day prior.
Although Russia has the world’s third-highest case count after the US and Brazil, Moscow, the epicenter of the country’s virus outbreak, is still going ahead with an easing of lockdown measures this week. Shopping malls and parks are reopening in the city, while residents are now allowed to leave their homes for non-essential reasons for the first time since March 30. Previously, Muscovites could only leave their homes to shop for food, walk dogs or travel to essential jobs with a permit.
Residents of the capital are not seeing their full range of freedoms returned to them, however. As a two-week test measure, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said people will be allowed to take walks according to a staggered schedule, based on their home address.
“Regular walks are allowed between 9am and 9pm but no more than three times a week – twice on weekdays and once on a weekend,” Sobyanin said in his blog. People can now jog or exercise between 5am and 9am, but must wear masks, according to the new rules.
Additionally, mass gatherings are still banned until the city-wide quarantine, which can still be extended, officially expires on June 14.
06:30 Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in a said he has tested positive for coronavirus.
“I didn’t have any symptoms, I decided to take a test as I was planning to visit the frontline,” he said, adding that his whole family was also infected.
Armenia, which has a population of 3 million, has reported 9,282 cases and 131 deaths due to coronavirus.
05:35 The Netherlands has lifted several of its coronavirus-related restrictions, including opening schools, theaters, museums, restaurants and cafes.
Restaurants, theaters and cafes are only able to accommodate up to 30 people for the time being, while patrons must maintain a distance of 1.5 meters. The next phase of reopening is expected to take place on July 1. The Netherlands has 46,645 confirmed cases and a death toll of 5,975.
04:54 Despite months of strict lockdown restrictions, Peru reported 8,800 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, setting its highest daily record for new cases. The country’s death toll is now at 4,506, which is the third-highest in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico.
The spike is concentrated around the capital Lima, and has seen Peru pegged as the new regional hotspot of the disease.
Meanwhile, neighboring Chile reported 57 new fatalities — a record daily death count that brings the total to 1,054. Health authorities have also reported a sharp increase in cases over the past two weeks.
“We are facing the largest pandemic of the past 100 years,” said Deputy Health Minister Paula Daza. “It is a tremendous challenge; we are living very difficult times in our country.”
In Santiago, where 80% of the virus cases were reported, 96% of emergency room beds were taken, officials said.
04:33 Turkey has reopened restaurants, cafes and other establishments, and lifted inter-city travel restrictions as the country eases coronavirus-related measures.
Under the newly eased restrictions, restaurants, cafes, gyms, swimming pools, beaches, parks, libraries, museums, daycare centers and kindergartens are resuming operations. However, restrictions on the movements of people aged over 65 and under 18 will continue.
The government has been gradually easing restrictions over the past few weeks, as authorities say the outbreak is now under control. Turkey has almost 164,000 confirmed cases, with a death toll of 4,540.
03:56 Several coronavirus-related restrictions have been lifted in New South Wales (NSW), the Australian state with the highest number of cases.
Restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs and cafes will be allowed to host up to 50 people at a time, while some restrictions on non-essential travel within state borders were also lifted. Additionally, the number of people allowed to attend weddings and funerals went up to 20 and 50 respectively.
Libraries, art galleries, museums, zoos and parks are also reopening.
“Today, we are opening up regional NSW for travel,” said NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Twitter.
However, public social distancing rules will continue to apply, with police conducting patrols and random health checks to monitor adherence to the regulations. “As restrictions ease, it’s absolutely critical to come forward and get tested even with the mildest symptoms,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejeklian said on Twitter.
Australia has recorded 7,195 cases of coronavirus, with the most — 3,098 — in NSW, which also saw almost half of the country’s 103 fatalities.
03:40 North Korea is set to reopen schools this month as coronavirus restrictions are eased across the world.
“New semesters will begin at elementary, middle and high schools nationwide from early June, and quarantine measures have been put in place for the reopening of nurseries and kindergartens,” Yonhap news agency reported, citing North Korean state radio.
“Education authorities have been asked to furnish thermometers and hand sanitisers at every gate of schools and classrooms and offices, while workers at schools and nurseries have been advised to stick to anti-virus principles,” the report added.
While there have been no official confirmed cases of coronavirus in North Korea, Pyongyang has imposed strict restrictions and placed thousands of people in isolation. However, analysts fear that there may be a large number of cases that weren’t reported and that North Korea’s health system may not be equipped to deal with a major outbreak.
03:17 Hong Kong has reported its first locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 in more than two weeks, according to the island’s Centre for Health Protection. The infections involve a 34-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man, neither of whom had a travel history during the virus’ incubation or infection period.
The new cases have raised concerns over coronavirus spreading in Hong Kong as its government eases lockdown restrictions. There have been 1,085 infections so far on the island, with four deaths.
Hong Kong last reported a locally transmitted case on May 14.
02:29 Germany has reported 333 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 181,815, according to the latest figures from the Robert Koch Institute. There have been 8,511 COVID-19 deaths in Germany.
01:38 China has registered 16 new cases of the virus, the highest daily increase in close to three weeks. The country had reported only two cases a day earlier.
The jump in numbers has been linked to imported cases. Eleven of the 16 cases were reported in Sichuan province and linked to an incoming flight from Egypt. The flight also had six asymptomatic cases, which are not considered confirmed COVID-19 infections in China.
00:25 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro met crowds of supporters outside the government palace in the capital, Brasilia, even as the country registered over half a million cases of the virus.
Despite having the second-largest caseload of the virus in the world, Brazil has been deeply divided in terms of response. Supporters of the president chanted “myth! Myth! myth!” in Brasilia, in line with Bolsonaro’s dismissal of the pandemic.
At the same time, hundreds of demonstrators stepped out to protest the president’s inaction in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. Local police said they used tear gas to disperse the crowds when groups for and against the president came close to clashing with each other.
The anti-Bolsonaro march was the largest demonstration against the president since Brazil became a virus hotspot. However, supporters of the president have been stepping out each week to back his demands for easing coronavirus-related restrictions in the country.
Bolsonaro met supporters on horseback in Brasilia on Sunday
00:00 You can catch up on Sunday’s updates here
see/dr (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)
In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real-time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information.
Germany’s national statistics are compiled by its public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These figures depend on data transmission from state and local levels and are updated around once a day, which can lead to deviation from JHU.