By the Associated Press
BERLIN: Europeans and Americans absorb sunlight where they can, taking advantage of the first weekend holiday since the coronavirus restriction, while European governments wrestle with how and when to safely let foreign tourists to save the vital summer holiday season .
But even as long-distance social rules spread family and friends out Sunday at the beach and park, viruses remain a constant threat. The United States is on track to surpass 100,000 deaths from the corona virus in the next few days, while Europe has seen more than 169,000 deaths, according to calculations by Johns Hopkins University.
The New York Times marked the horror by pouring the entire front page of Sunday to a long list of names of those who had died in a pandemic in the US under the heading that called it “Uncountable Losses.”
President Donald Trump played golf on one of his courses during Memorial Day weekend when he urged US states to reopen the lock on their coronavirus. However, many Americans are cautious because the number of confirmed cases exceeds 1.6 million nationally.
Throughout Europe, limited travel accidents seem to be on the horizon, often depending on where travelers live and what passports they carry. Germany, France and other European countries aim to open their borders for European travel in mid-June but it is not clear when intercontinental travel will continue.
Spain, one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic and also one of the world’s main destinations for international travelers, said the country would not be reopened for foreign tourists until July. To boost the economy, the country’s leader has encouraged Spaniards to “start planning their holidays” for the end of June in Spain.
“Coming in July, we will allow the arrival of foreign tourists to Spain in safe conditions,” said Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. “We will guarantee that tourists are not at risk and that they do not represent risks (to Spain).”
For now, travel between the Spanish provinces is not permitted and many other restrictions remain – although on Monday, residents in Madrid and Barcelona who are most severely able to join other parts of the country to dine outdoors in bars and restaurants, which can offer only 50% of the usual table.
Also Monday, sunbathers and local swimmers will be allowed in several coastal provinces of Spain. The number of beach visitors will be limited and the umbrella must be at least 4 meters (13 feet) apart.
In Germany, domestic tourists will be allowed to return Monday to the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania in the northeast – home to the country’s Baltic Sea coast – and to hotels in Berlin, the popular capital.
But tourism campaigns will require new approaches.
“We don’t think people want the hustle and bustle of a big city at the moment,” Burkhard Kieker, head of Berlin’s visit, told RBB Inforadio. The agency has launched a campaign that shows “how much green space and how much water is there” in Berlin.
In Paris, where all city parks remain closed, locals absorb sunlight along the embankments of the River Seine and relax on the banks outside the Tuileries Park. In some places, people sit safely apart. Elsewhere, groups of masks without masks clustered together, ignoring the rules of social distance.
Starting Monday, France has relaxed its border restrictions, allowing migrant workers and family visitors from other European countries. But it calls for a 14-day voluntary quarantine for people coming from Britain and Spain, because these countries impose the same conditions on France.
Italy, which plans to open regional and international borders on June 3 in an effort to improve tourism, is only now allowing local residents to return to shores in their own territory – with restrictions.
In the northwestern region of Liguria, people are allowed to swim in the sea and walk along the beach, but not sunbathe. In Savona, a dozen people were fined for violating the sun ban. Rimini, on the east coast of Italy, attracts beach visitors from dawn, and many sit in distant groups. However, the authorities must work to enforce distances on the popular beach in Palermo.
“We cannot forget that the virus exists and is currently circulating,” deputy health minister Pierpaolo Sileri told Sky TG24. “Even if the number of new cases is low, we must respect the rules.”
For the first time in months, believers at a good distance gathered at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican for the traditional papal blessing on Sunday. About 2,000 Muslims gathered for Eid prayer at a sports complex on the outskirts of Paris’s Levallois-Perret, carefully 1 meter away and wearing a mask.
Coastal communities along the coast of England urged Londoners and others to stay away after rules were relaxed to allow people to drive long distances for sports or recreation. The southern coastal city of Brighton said: “If you were here – but not yet.” Wales continues to carry out the “Later” tourism campaign, reminding people that hotels, restaurants and tourist sites are still closed.
In the U.S., restrictions are easing state by country even though hundreds are still dying from COVID-19 every day. New Orleans bounced back after several well-known restaurants and businesses opened for the first time in more than two months. In California, where many businesses and leisure activities reopened, officials in Los Angeles County said they would maintain strict restrictions until July 4.
The state of New York reported the lowest number of deaths from the daily corona virus – 84 – in a few weeks in what was described by Governor Andrew Cuomo as a critical benchmark.
Officials in China, where COVID-19 was first detected late last year, responded to criticism in the country. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said any lawsuits filed against China over the virus had “zero factual basis in international law or priority.”
Wang told reporters on Sunday that China was a pandemic victim along with other countries.
“We regret that, besides the raging new coronavirus, a political virus is also spreading in the US, which is taking every opportunity to attack and discredit China,” Wang said. “Some U.S. politicians, who don’t know the basic facts, have fabricated too many lies and planned too many conspiracies.”
The director of the Wuhan Virology Institute said the claim that the pandemic originated from “pure fabrication”.
“We don’t even know about the presence of the virus, so how can it leak from our lab when we don’t have it?” Wang Yanyi was quoted as saying by state media.
Trump and Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo have repeatedly said they suspect the virus was somehow released from a laboratory in Wuhan. Most scientists say the pathogen is transmitted from bats to humans through intermediary species that were likely sold at a market in Wuhan late last year.
Worldwide, more than 5.3 million people have been infected and 342,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins calculations that experts say that the actual number of pandemics does not count for a number of reasons.
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