Coronavirus digest: France imposes restrictions after record cases

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a series of new restrictions, including shutting of bars and restaurants in some cities. Business owners and local politicians have opposed these actions.

The French government has imposed new restrictions in major cities after France reported a new record surge in daily cases.

According to statistics from Public Health France, 16,096 people tested positive for COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, making a new record.

President Emmanuel Macron announced a series of measures to curb the spread, including the closure of all bars and restaurants in Marseille, and shorter opening hours for Paris and other cities.

Public gatherings in a few cities have been limited to 10 people, and sports events or concerts can only host up to 1,000 people.

The measures have been met with opposition from several business owners and local politicians. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said, “It is hard to understand: How will it prevent the spread of the virus? How will the fact that we can no longer exercise help us, while sport is an important part of keeping us healthy with strong immune systems?” 

Europe

Austria hasannounced new measures ahead of the start of the ski season, including a 10 p.m. curfew in the tourist states of Tirol, Vorarlberg and Salzburg. Kurz pointed out that skiing, shopping, dining, wellness and culture events would still be available despite the pandemic.

However, visitors would not be able to take part in the popular apres-ski parties, which involve dancing, drinking, and socializing once skiing is done.

Britain recorded a record number of daily infections, with 6,634 new cases on Thursday. A second wave of infections has gripped the country, but officials said the level of testing is much higher than the first wave.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said during an interview, “We estimate that it’s under 10,000 people a day getting the disease. That’s too high, but it’s still much lower than in the peak.” Britain has seen the highest death toll in Europe.

Americas

A Brazilian football club, Flamengo, is trying to postpone a league game after 16 players tested positive for COVID-19. The club was previously pushing for an early reopening. 

Flamengo’s vice president for legal affairs, Rodrigo Dunshee, said he hoped the Brazilian football confederation will agree to postpone Sunday’s Brazilian championship game against Palmeiras. In June, Flamengo had joined President Jair Bolsonaro in reopening local football leagues. 

Asia-Pacific

As the threat of the virus recedes, China will start allowing foreigners holding certain types of visas and residence permits to return. Foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas and residence permits for work, personal matters and family reunions will be permitted to enter China without needing to apply for new visas, starting Monday. 

Those returning must follow a 14-day quarantine and other measures to contain the spread. 

The Asia-Pacific region has been the worst affected by the global downturn in tourism due to the pandemic, according to data from the United Nations tourism body. 

International arrivals have dropped by 72%, and arrivals in June were down 99% year-on-year. Countries imposed travel bans as the pandemic worsened in order to contain the spread of the virus.

China, Japan, and South Korea have been the worst affected, as these countries had suspended all but essential travel. Southeast Asian countries, which heavily rely on tourism for their economy, saw arrivals fall 64%. 

tg/stb (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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