Berlin: On Thursday, the global number of coronavirus cases exceeded 19 million, as European countries have increased concerns about the new wave of infections and imposed new travel restrictions and containment measures.
AFP’s global figures compiled by official sources at 2300 GMT were driven by the surge in Latin America and India-and the African continent reached a new milestone of one million cases.
Since the virus first appeared in China at the end of last year, the number of deaths due to the pandemic in Europe has exceeded 700,000. Europe is still the hardest-hit region in the world, with more than 200,000 deaths.
More than half of the cases in Africa are in South Africa, which is second only to the United States, Brazil, India and Russia in the number of infections, ranking fifth in the world.
However, according to official data, the African continent is still one of the least affected countries, and only Oceania has fewer COVID-19 cases.
As governments around the world are working to save economies that have been hit hard by months of blockade, many countries have been forced to find new measures to curb the COVID-19 outbreak since the initial containment order was lifted.
In Australia, Melbourne, the second largest city, entered the country’s toughest lockdown so far on Thursday, shutting down unnecessary businesses and asking thousands of people to stay at home.
The pandemic has caused at least 712,315 deaths globally, with the United States having the largest number of deaths at nearly 160,000, followed by Brazil with nearly 100,000. Globally, 40% of all cases have been recorded in both countries.
Germany is the latest agency to conduct mandatory inspections for passengers returning from designated risk areas, starting from Saturday, due to concerns about the increase in the number of outbreaks during summer vacation and local outbreaks.
Germany’s list of “risk zones” currently includes most non-EU countries as well as certain provinces in Belgium and Spain.
Neighboring Austria announced on Thursday that it will issue a travel warning to the Spanish mainland, the latest country in another EU member state that has seen an increase in new coronavirus cases.
Finland has also adopted new control measures for the entry of some EU countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands and Andorra, to stop tourists arriving there and impose a 14-day quarantine on other returnees.
“The situation is very delicate,” said Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, Director of Strategy at the Ministry of Health. “The second phase has already begun.”
“Whether we expect larger or smaller fluctuations depends on how we react.”
The United Kingdom has quarantined travelers from Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas.
Norway announced on Thursday that France will be considered a red zone due to the recurrence of coronavirus cases there, which means that all travelers arriving from France will face a mandatory 10-day quarantine.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Switzerland, Monaco and the Czech Republic, as well as two Swedish regions, are also subject to similar restrictions.
Foreign Secretary Ine Eriksen Soreide (Ine Eriksen Soreide) said: “Infectious diseases can be changed quickly, and restrictions can be changed.”
Despite the surge in the number of deaths in the United States itself, the United States has bucked the trend and cancelled a comprehensive warning for all foreign travel.
The State Department said in a statement: “The health and safety conditions in some countries are improving, while in others it is likely to deteriorate.”
Many countries/regions are experiencing new outbreaks, forcing local or citywide lockdown measures and other quarantine measures.
With the infection rate reaching a new high, Poland will reinstall mandatory masks in all public places in 9 regions.
The restriction will take effect on Saturday and will also affect sports and cultural activities in those areas (mainly the south and east).
On Wednesday, the Greek government announced a “wake-up week” for COVID-19 and tightened restrictions after most domestic infections have steadily increased.
Officials attribute the increase to overcrowding in clubs and social events.
The new virus outbreak is forcing officials to make an uncomfortable trade-off between public health and the need to rejuvenate the economy.
Lufthansa German Airlines became the latest airline to disclose the impact of the pandemic on Thursday, announcing forced layoffs and a loss of 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in the second quarter.
Lufthansa announced that this was the worst quarter in the company’s history. He said that in the three months to June, its number of passengers dropped by 96% compared to last year.