Coronavirus latest: Germany to partially close borders with several countries
German authorities have decided to reimpose controls on the nation's borders with France, Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. Commuters would still be allowed to travel. Follow DW for the latest.
- The German government is set to partially close borders with France, Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Switzerland on Monday
- Over 1,000 new cases have been registered in Germany in the last 24 hours
- US restrictions on travelers from Europe cause chaos, hours-long delays at US airports
- Over 100 people were reported dead in Spain during the last 24 hours, with another 368 deaths in Italy
- Countries across Europe are suspending public life to fight the pandemic
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
00:00 This concludes our live updates on the coronavirus outbreak for the moment. More information on the outbreak is available on our page and on DW TV. Thank you for joining us.
23:12 Colombian schools and universities will be closed from Monday to contain the spread of COVID-19, President Ivan Duque said.
The South American country has so far 34 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has introduced a series of measures, including closing its border with Venezuela and stopping foreign visitors from entering.
The Colombian government will then decide on April 20 whether or not classes will begin once more or continue to be taught online, President Duque said on twitter.
22:56 Costa Rica has released its official figures relating to the outbreak, reporting its worst day thus far. "Today is the day that we have confirmed the most cases," the health ministry said on Twitter. The country now has 35 infections.
22:31 Guatemala has reported its first death from COVID-19, according to the country's health ministry. Health Minister Hugo Monroy said the 85-year-old man had recently visited Madrid.
22:20 The United States Federal Reserve has taken drastic action to help the economy withstand the coronavirus by cutting its benchmark interest rate to near zero and saying it would buy $700 billion (€627 billion) in Treasury and mortgage bonds.
The Fed has slashed the rate by a full percentage point to a range between zero and 0.25%, and said it would remain there until it feels confident that the economy can survive a sudden near-shutdown of economic activity in the US.
22:09 Two prisoners have been killed after a riot at a jail in Jordan, the country's state news agency said. The two perished in Irbid province after visits were banned for two weeks to tackle coronavirus, according to the Petra news agency.
Meanwhile, Jordanian Health Minister Saad Jaber announced six new cases of COVID-19, taking the total number of infections in the country to seven. Four French tourists were among the new infections, Jaber said.
22:04 Slovenia is following the European trend of taking drastic action. The country will shut down its air traffic from Tuesday in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus, government spokesman Jelko Kacin told reporters.
From Monday, all bars, restaurants, sports halls, hair salons, cinemas and a large number of retailers will be shut. Essentials, such as pharmacies and food shops, will remain open but will be able to admit only a certain number of customers at a time.
21:43 Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has requested a "collective quarantine" in seven states, including the capital Caracas, from 5:00 a.m. Monday.
All activities are to be suspended from 5:00 am, except distribution of food, health services, transport and security, Maduro said in a televised address.
The total number of cases in the Latin American country has risen to 17.
20:53 Slovakia became the latest country to declare a state of emergency, ordering most businesses to be closed on Monday but keeping food stores, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, and post offices open.
20:33 Germany's carmaking giant Volkswagen will shut down its plant in Slovakia's capital Bratislava on Monday.
"We hoped that the situation regarding the coronavirus would calm down over the weekend, but that did not happen," Volkswagen Slovakia Chairman of the Board Oliver Grunberg said.
20:09 Cannabis smokers in the Netherlands were lining up in front of marijuana shops on Sunday before their expected closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"For maybe for the next two months we're not able to get some weed so it should be nice to at least have some in the house," a shopper in The Hague told the AFP news agency.
20:03 The governor of the US territory of Puerto Rico has ordered all businesses and non-essential government offices to close. Shops selling food and takeout restaurants will remain open as well as businesses linked with medicine and finance. The closure also does not apply to gas stations.
19:55 Following reports that the US has tried to entice Germany's CureVac lab to develop a coronavirus exclusively for the US, Germany's Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that the issue will be raised at the top-level coronavirus emergency committee of the German government.
The minister stopped short of confirming that Washington has offered a large amount of money hoping to take control of the lab.
"I can only say that I've heard many times today that this is true from members of the government, and that we will talk about it tomorrow at the emergency committee meeting," he told reporters.
19:44 Military personnel in protective suits were deployed to disinfect train stations in Spain.
19:38 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro met with a crowd of supporters who gathered in front of the presidential palace on Sunday, celebrating and posing for selfies, according to a video posted to his official Facebook account. The 64-year-old president seemed to ignore medical advice to stay isolated after several of his aides tested positive for COVID-19. Bolsonaro himself tested negative.
19:28 Serbia has declared a state of emergency due to the pandemic.
The country's president, Aleksandar Vucic, said the new restrictions were necessary to "save our elderly." Serbia has so far reported some 50 cases.
"From tomorrow, there is no more school, no nurseries, no universities, everything closes, no training, sports... we will close down to save our lives, to save our parents," Vucic said.
19:22 The Iraqi government has imposed a curfew in Baghdad amid a coronavirus outbreak. The curfew will go into effect on Tuesday next week and remain in force at least for the next seven days.
19:18 NBA athlete Rudy Gobert, a 27-year-old Frenchman playing for Utah Jazz, said he wished he had taken coronavirus more seriously. Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19.
"It's all about protecting yourself and the people around you," Gobert said in an online video posted by the NBA. "I wish I would've taken this thing more seriously and I hope everyone else is going to do so because we can do it together.
19:13 The coronavirus death toll in France has reached 120, up from 91 yesterday, with the number of infected jumping from 4,449 on Saturday to over 5,400.
18:57 Norway is set to aid its economy with a support package of 100 billion Norwegian crowns ($9.7 billion €8.7 billion). The authorities are also postponing the payment of payroll taxes.
"The government will do what's needed and spend the necessary funds to secure the Norwegian economy and support Norwegian businesses, big and small," Prime Minister Erna Solberg said.
18:41 Germany's federal police chief, Dieter Romann, says that police officers have already been deployed and enough officers are available to monitor the borders.
"We are not closing the borders, that is what they do in North Korea," he told reporters. "We are controlling the border, that is something completely different."
18:22 Germany now has 4,838 confirmed coronavirus cases, a jump of over 1,000 compared to Saturday. The virus has so far killed 12 people, according to the Robert Koch Institute.
18:12 The coronavirus outbreak is advancing "quickly and aggressively" and has not yet reached its peak, according to German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.
18:11 German nationals and foreign nationals residing in Germany will be allowed to travel back to the country, officials said.
18:09 Germany's Interior Minister Horst Seehofer confirmed that the government would close borders with several neighboring countries, including France, Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. The crossing will stay open for people traveling to and from work, and transporters delivering goods.
18:00 Pope Francis has visited two Rome churches to pray for the end of the pandemic. The pontiff's trip outside the Vatican also included a brief walk in Rome, according to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.
17:44 As the Catholic Church prepares for Easter on April 12, the Vatican said that all "Liturgical Celebrations of Holy Week" will take place this year"without the physical presence of the faithful."
17:40 Scandinavian airline SAS will temporarily lay off some 10,000 employees, or 90% of its workforce, as the demand for plane tickets sinks due to the coronavirus.
17:31 The German state of Bavaria will be closing bars, cinemas and swimming pools on Tuesday, according to government sources cited by the DPA news agency. Many other businesses are to follow suit on Wednesday. However, food shops, pharmacies, banks, drugstores, and gas stations are set to stay open.
17:19 Italian officials say 368 people have died in the previous 24 hours, the biggest day-to-day jump since the outbreak reached the country.
17:01 French luxury giant LVMH, known for its flagship brand Louis Vuitton, said they would be making hydroalcoholic gel to help with the hand sanitizer shortages caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
"LVMH will use the production lines of its perfume and cosmetic brands ... to produce large quantities of hydroalcoholic gels from Monday," LVMH said in a statement quoted by the Reuters news agency.
"These gels will be delivered free of charge to the health authorities," LVMH added.
16:56 Italy will receive another 140 medicinal ventilators and 5 million face masks from China, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday. The latest shipment comes after China delivered some 30 tons of medical equipment, including masks and respirators, on Thursday.
16:39 Germany is set to close its border with Denmark on Monday, the premier of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, told the DPA news agency.
The German government has yet to comment on multiple reports that borders with France, Austria, and Switzerland would also be blocked starting Monday morning.
16:25 The US-based Johns Hopkins University has provided an interactive map for all those interested in live data on the coronavirus pandemic.
If you are unable to view the map, you can also access it on the Johns Hopkins University website.
16:20 The EU has announced controls on exporting masks and other protective medical equipment.
Such goods can now "only be exported to non-EU countries with the explicit authorization of the EU governments," said the head of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
16:18 Another 14 Britons have died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 35, UK health authorities said on Sunday. The country now has 1,372 diagnosed coronavirus patients.
16:13 Germany's flagship airline Lufthansa has set up charter flights to transport German holidaymakers and cruise ship passengers back home. Most of the German nationals would be flown from the Canary and Caribbean Islands.
16:06 The northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein has decided to ban tourists from the islands in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea starting on Monday morning, according to German media. The measures are being taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
15:58 Following reports that US President Donald Trump was trying to entice Germany's CureVac to create a vaccine only for the US, the head of CureVac's biggest investor told the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper such a deal was out of the question.
15:29 All schools in the Netherlands will close in order to curb the transmission of the coronavirus, according to Dutch public broadcaster NOS.
15:16 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the US was playing a "huge game of catch-up" and urged the Trump administration to take control of supply chain of medical products.
"If the federal government doesn't realize this is the equivalent of a war already, there's no way that the states and localities can make all the adjustments we need to," he told CNN.
15:14 Several popular sex clubs in Amsterdam were closed on Sunday as the country faces the coronavirus outbreak, according to the local Het Parool newspaper.
15:05 Tunisia has asked its citizens to donate to fighting the coronavirus outbreak in that country. The North African country has 18 confirmed coronavirus cases.
14:58 Residents of Austria should only make social contact "with the people with whom they live," said the country's chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.
"Austrians are being summoned to isolate themselves," he said in the statement. People who urgently need to go outside "may do so, but only alone or with people living in the same apartment," Kurz clarified in a separate statement to the APA news agency.
14:33 In Spain, the number of people infected with the novel coronavirus has grown by a third in the last 24 hours and is now at 7,753, authorities said on Sunday. Over 100 people have died during the previous day, with the death toll now at 288.
14:15 Germany's borders to Austria, Switzerland, and France will be closed starting Monday morning in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Spiegel magazine and the mass-circulation Bild newspaper. However, German authorities will keep the crossing open for commuters as well as the delivery of goods.
There was no immediate information on the possible closure of other border crossings, including those towards Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
13:51 The German premiere of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" set to be performed in Hamburg on Sunday, has been delayed over the coronavirus outbreak.
13:40 UK football star Wayne Rooney slammed the British government and football officials for treating players like "guinea pigs." The 34-year-old Rooney believes the authorities waited too long before halting football games in the England.
"Why did we wait until Friday? Why did it take (Arsenal coach) Mikel Arteta to get ill for the game in England to do the right thing?" he asked in a column for the Sunday Times.
13:23 Police in Greece have arrested 96 people for breaking coronavirus lockdown terms since Thursday. Bars and restaurants have been closed and Greece has started closing beach resorts. All tourism accomodation is to be closed until April 30.
13:13 Austria has begun enforcing a nationwide curfew on Sunday, according to the APA news agency, with police patrols deployed. Previously, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that gatherings of five or more people would be banned. Starting Monday, violators would face a fine of up to €2,000 ($2,220).
On December 31, 2019, China notifies the World Health Organization of a string of respiratory infections in the city of Wuhan, home to some 11 million people. The root virus is unknown and disease experts around the world begin working to identify it. The strain is traced to a seafood market in the city, which is quickly shut down. Some 40 people are initially reported to be infected.
On January 11, China announces the first death from the coronavirus — a 61-year-old man, who had shopped at the Wuhan market, dies from complications with pneumonia. Like SARS and the common cold, scientists identified that the new virus is in the coronavirus family. It is temporarily named 2019-nCoV. Symptoms include fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia.
China places Wuhan on quarantine on January 23 in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. Transportation is suspended and workers attempt to quickly build a new hospital to treat infected patients, which total over 830 by January 24, as the death toll climbs to 26. Officials eventually extend the lockdown to 13 other cities, affecting at least 36 million people.
More and more cases are confirmed outside of China, including in South Korea, the US, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. As the number of infections rises, the World Health Organization on January 23 determines that it's "too early" to declare a global public health emergency.
In the following days, countries such as Thailand and Japan begin to report cases of infections in people who had visited the same Wuhan market. In China, a second fatality is confirmed in the city. By January 20, three people have died in China and more than 200 are infected.
On January 24, French authorities confirm three cases of the new coronavirus within its borders, marking the disease's first appearance in Europe. Hours later, Australia confirms four people have been infected with the respiratory virus.
On January 27, Germany announces its first known case of the virus — a 33-year-old in Bavaria who contracted it during a workplace training with a visiting Chinese colleague. He is put under quarantine and observation at a Munich hospital. The following day, three of his colleagues are confirmed infected. The death toll in China reaches 132, with around 6,000 infected worldwide.
On January 30, the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) declares coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern in a bid to protect countries with "weaker health systems." However, WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus does not recommend trade and travel restrictions, saying these would be "an unnecessary disruption."
The first death linked to the novel coronavirus outside of China is reported in the Philippines on February 2. A 44-year-old Chinese man had traveled from Wuhan to Manila before falling ill and being taken to hospital, where he later died of pneumonia.
Also on February 3, the cruise ship Diamond Princess is quarantined off Yokohama in Japan after cases of the new coronavirus were found on board. As of February 17, the number of people infected has grown to more than 450, the largest cluster of cases outside of China. Several of the 3,700 passengers and crew onboard the ship are being or have been flown back to their home countries.
Cases in Italy rise dramatically, with 77 deaths and thousands of confirmed cases by March 3. Many countries instigate travel restrictions to northern Italy and tourist numbers plummet. On March 8, the Italian government put the entire Lombardy region into quarantine, affecting 16 million people. March 10 sees 168 fatalities in Italy, the highest in a single day.
European and US stock markets slump on March 6, leading to the worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. The effect on global business has been significant, with many companies reporting losses and the tourism industry and airlines badly hit. The EU pledge €7.5 billion ($8.4 billion) on March 10 in an investment fund to try to stop the Eurozone falling into a recession.
As of March 15, many countries impose strict travel bans or restrictions in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19. For example, New Zealand and Australia require all international passengers to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival in the country. The US extends a European travel ban to include the United Kingdom and Ireland.
On March 14, Spain joins Italy in imposing a near-total nationwide lockdown to prevent the virus spreading. The population of 46 million is told not to leave their homes unless for essential tasks. In France, cafés, restaurants and non-essential shops are closed as of March 15. Many public events in Germany are cancelled and schools close.
As worldwide cases top 127,000 and deaths pass 4,700, the World Health Organization designates the global outbreak as a "pandemic" on March 11. US President Donald Trump announces a travel restriction on people coming from the Schengen Zone in Europe, annoying the EU. German Chancellor Angela Merkel announces that in Germany, 70% of the population could get the virus.
On March 23rd Britain becomes the latest country to impose restrictions on personal freedoms, with people only allowed to leave their homes in a limited number of circumstances. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is diagnosed with the viruson March 27, as well as heir to the throne Prince Charles on March 25. Meanwhile, there are complaints that not everyone is taking social distancing seriously.
On March 27 the US overtakes China in terms of the number of people infected, making it the country with the most cases of COVID-19. This came as President Donald Trump claimed that the nation would get back to work "pretty quickly." At the same time, it emerged that more than 3 million Americans had lost their jobs due to the pandemic. New York is worst-hit, with a hospital ship sent to help out.
Spain also overtakes China in the number of COVID-19 cases on March 30, as the government toughens the severity of its lockdown. All non-essential activities are halted. Only Italy has a higher death toll than Spain. Most affected is the capital, Madrid. With funeral services overwhelmed, officials turn the Palacio de Hielo ice skating rink into a temporary morgue.
In a landmark televised address German Chancellor Angela Merkel announces far-reaching restrictions on everyday life on March 22, banning meetings between more than two people not from the same household outside of the workplace. The country has a surprisingly low death rate, a phenomenon attributed to a high level of testing, and a high number of intensive care beds.
On April 2nd the Johns Hopkins University announced on Thursday that there were more than a million confirmed coronavirus cases around the world. The US is the most affected with three times the number than China, where the virus emerged in December. Over 50.000 people have died — and the outlook remains grim.
The 55-year-old was admitted to the intensive care unit at London's St Thomas hospital on Monday evening (6.4.) and was given oxygen treatment after his condition worsened. He had been diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 27.
13:02 German rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) is cutting down on its regional train services as a result of the drop in commuters due to coronavirus, according to a DB spokeswoman. The official said tickets would also no longer be checked on regional trains to protect employees and passengers.
12:54 British food retailers have written an open letter asking customers to stop panic-buying.
"We understand your concerns but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without. There is enough for everyone if we all work together," the letter, signed by Tesco, Sainsbury's, Aldi, Lidl and others, said. Social media users over the past week have been uploading pictures of empty supermarket shelves, with toilet rolls, pasta and canned food especially in demand.
12:37 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his government plans to use anti-terrorism tracking technology to locate people who have been in contact with those infected by the coronavirus.
"We will very soon begin using technology ... digital means that we have been using in order to fight terrorism," Netanyahu said, describing the virus as an "invisible enemy that must be located."
Avner Pinchuk, a privacy expert with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, told Reuters that these cyber capabilities could include real-time tracking of patients' cellphones to identify quarantine breaches, as well as scanning metadata to find out where they had been and who they had been with.
"I am troubled by this announcement. I understand that we are in unique circumstances, but this seems potentially like overreach," Pinchuk said. "Much will depend on how intrusive the new measures are."
Netanyahu said he had requested approval from the Justice Ministry, as such measures could violate citizens' privacy.
Australian airline Qantas wants to introduce compulsory vaccination for intercontinental flights. "We will require international travelers to be vaccinated before we allow them on board," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce stated. The general terms and conditions would be adjusted accordingly. Whether this will also be a requirement for domestic flights has not yet been decided.
Both cities will launch a 'travel bubble' on November 22, which will allow people to move quarantine free in each direction, their governments announced on Wednesday (Nov 11), in a rare piece of good news for the pandemic-battered tourism industry. A quota of 200 residents from each city will be able to travel on one daily bubble flight to the other.
Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca city in the Peruvian Andes mountains, has reopened almost eight months after it was closed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Peruvian authorities organized an Inca ritual to mark the reopening. To allow for distancing, a maximum of 675 tourists per day are allowed to enter the old Inca city. That is less than a third of the normal number allowed.
Rio de Janeiro's famous annual Carnival spectacle will not go ahead in February. Organizers said the spread of the coronavirus in Brazil made it impossible to safely hold parades which with some seven million people celebrating are a cultural mainstay, tourism magnet and, for many, a source of livelihood. Brazil has the second highest death rate in the world after the United States and India.
To curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic the German government has announced though new measures to start Monday, November 2. The new restrictions effect the travel business as overnight stays in hotels for tourist purposes will be banned, entertainment facilities such as theaters and cinemas will be closed as will bars and restaurants, which will only be allowed to offer take out services.
The city announced on Monday (Oct.26) that this decision had been made in view of the rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases. The mayor explained that it was to be assumed that in the near future the Covid-19 traffic light in Nuremberg will change to dark red. "Against this background, we think it would be the wrong signal to go ahead with the annual Christkindlesmarkt Christmas market.
The Canary Islands are no longer on the list of corona risk areas, the Robert Koch Institute announced on Thursday (Oct. 22). The abolition of the travel warning for the Canary Islands should above all please tour operators. For them, the islands off the coast of Africa with their year-round summer climate are one of the most important sources of hope for the winter season.
Starting October 15, some of the Caribbean state have been reopened for international flights, with Havana a notable exception. Every visitor is tested for the coronavirus upon arrival, and a team of doctors is available in every hotel. The German vacation airline Condor plans to offer flights to Cuba's most popular tourist destination, the Varadero peninsula, starting October 31.
Discussions are underway between Australia and low-risk countries across Asia and the Pacific to lift coronavirus travel restrictions, but the government has warned that travel to the US and Europe may not be an option until 2022. From Friday, Australia will open its international borders for the first time since March, allowing visitors from New Zealand to travel to the country quarantine-free.
The cruise industry has decided to make coronavirus testing mandatory for all guests and crew members aboard cruise ships. The Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest such organization, announced on October 8 that passengers can only board ships by providing proof of a negative test result. All member shipping companies worldwide must now comply with this rule.
In the wake of significant increases in coronavirus infection figures in Europe, Berlin has announced further EU countries as risk areas for travelers. In addition to Belgium and Iceland, additional areas of France and Great Britain, including all of Northern Ireland and Wales, were also classified as risk areas on September 30.
Thailand is to receive its first foreign vacationers when a flight from China arrives next week, marking the gradual restart of a vital tourism sector battered by coronavirus travel curbs, a senior official said on Tuesday. The first flight will carry some 120 tourists from Guangzhou, flying directly to the resort island of Phuket.
India's most famous building was closed for six months, but since Monday ( September 21) it can be visited again, under strict restrictions. Only 5000 online tickets will be issued per day. There are temperature checks at the entrance. Selfies are allowed, group photos are prohibited. The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is normally visited by 8 million people every year.
The Foreign Ministry has reacted to higher numbers of coronavirus infections on September 16 by issuing further travel warnings, including Vienna and Budapest. The province of North Holland with Amsterdam as well as South Holland with the cities of The Hague and Rotterdam are also affected. New risk areas were also identified in the Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, France, and Switzerland.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism sector has suffered a loss of 460 billion dollars (388 billion euros) from January to June, the World Tourism Organization reported in Madrid. The loss of sales was five times higher than during the international financial and economic crisis of 2009, and the total number of tourists worldwide fell by 65 percent in the first half of the year.
Germany’s Foreign Office has warned against unnecessary tourism to Czech capital, Prague, and the Swiss cantons Geneva and Vaud (Vaud). This also applies to the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, the French regions Auvergne-Rhones-Alpes (around Lyon), Nouvelle-Aquitaine (around Bordeaux) and Occitania (around Toulouse) as well as more Croatian Adriatic areas, such as the city of Dubrovnik.
The German government has extended its travel warning for around 160 countries through September 30. The advisory applies to "third countries" — i.e. countries that are not members of the EU or associated with the Schengen area. From October 1st, a "differentiated system" will apply, in which individual travel and safety information will be given for each country.
Australia has extended its travel restrictions for a further three months. The borders will remain closed for visitors from abroad until at least December 17. However, the government announced that domestic travel will soon be allowed for residents of the country. An exception will be the state of Victoria, with its metropolis Melbourne, for which a lockdown has been in place since early July.
The German government has extended the travel warning for around 160 countries outside the European Union by two weeks until September 14. A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry explained the move on Wednesday (Aug 26) with rising coronavirus infection rates. "The situation will not relax sufficiently by mid-September to be able to lift the worldwide travel warning," she said.
With 2,500 instead of 6,000 passengers, the MSC Grandiosa left the port of Genoa on August 16. Stops on the seven-day voyage include Naples, Palermo and Valletta. Passengers and crew were tested for coronavirus before boarding, and body temperature is to be checked on a daily basis. Rival cruise company Costa will not be offering Mediterranean cruises again until September.
Germany's health and interior ministries have agreed that all of Spain — apart from the Canary Islands — is now a high-risk area due to a surge in cases. Spain said it was closing night clubs across the country. Restaurants, bars and similar venues would need to close by 1 a. m. and would not be allowed to take in new guests after midnight.
In the first six months of 2020, 59% fewer tourists came to Berlin than in the previous year. The Statistics Office said on August 10 that 2.7 million guests had visited Berlin, the lowest number since 2004. The slump was even worse for foreign tourists: two thirds stayed away. Since June, the figures have been recovering and are at 30 to 40% of the previous year.
Anyone entering Germany from a high-risk area must take a coronavirus test from August 8, after an order by Health Minister Jens Spahn. Currently, many countries are classified as risk areas, including the United States and Brazil. In the European Union, Luxembourg, the Belgian region of Antwerp and the Spanish regions of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre were risk areas as of early August.
Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten has stopped all cruises on August 3 until further notice after an outbreak of the coronavirus on one of its ships. At least 40 passengers and crew members on the Roald Amundsen tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, German cruise line Aida Cruises has also postponed its planned restart due to the lack of necessary permits.
Despite coronavirus uncertainty, Nepal has reopened Mount Everest for the autumn trekking and climbing season. To boost the struggling tourism sector the government will permit international flights to land in the country from August 17. The Himalayan country shut its borders in March just ahead of the busy spring season when hundreds of mountaineers usually flock to the country.
Concerned over a possible second wave of coronavirus, Amsterdam has requested that tourists not visit the Dutch capital on weekends. Potential day-trippers should come between Monday and Thursday, the city said on July 23. The tourist influx has swelled to such a degree that recommended social distancing of 1.5 meters between people is currently not possible in the city center.
In order to manage tourist throngs amid the pandemic, Bavaria's Economy Minister Hubert Aiwanger is planning a live digital guiding system for visitors. Clogged streets, wild campers and overcrowding on hiking trails in the Alps — this brings popular regions such as Lake Tegernsee (photo) to their limits. The live update system is primarily intended to redirect day-trippers to less full areas.
Holiday flights within Europe are on the move again, with passengers sitting close together. According to an opinion poll by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 62% of those questioned are afraid of being infected by passengers in the next seat. This was identified by IATA as the main reason for the decline in willingness to travel, which is now only 45%.
The Alhambra Castle in Granada in southern Spain opened its doors to tourists again on June 17. Initially, only 4,250 visitors were admitted at the same time — only half as many as usual. In addition, masks are mandatory. The Alhambra is considered the most important testimony to Arab architecture in Europe and is a World Heritage site.
Entry regulations, masks, quarantine? The new EU overview website "reopen.europa.eu" provides information on the coronavirus rules of individual EU countries — and in 24 languages. Tourists can enter their destination country on the website and find out about regulations that apply there. So far, the site contains information on 27 EU countries and is to be continuously updated.
12:29 Britain has advised against all nonessential travel to the United States over coronavirus concerns. The announcement came after the US said it would not accept travelers from the UK and Ireland from Tuesday.
12:03 Zimbabwe's defense minister has said the coronavirus outbreak is God's way of "punishing countries," in the West for imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe.
"They must feel the effects of coronavirus and understand our pain," Defense Minister Oppah Muchinguri said during a speech in the northern town of Chinhoyi. "They are now staying indoors. Their economies are screaming just like they did to our economy."
Zimbabwe has not yet confirmed any coronavirus cases, although neighboring South Africa has reported 51.
The US and the European Union first slapped sanctions on senior Zimbabwean officials over human rights abuses committed under ousted ex-President Robert Mugabe. The measures targeted senior regime officials and government institutions, including travel bans on Mugabe and his inner circle.
Many Zimbabweans reacted to the minister's comments on Twitter, saying they were appalled. "To say I'm gobsmacked is an understatement," wrote law professor Alex Magaisa. "How does a senior minister utter such rubbish?"
11:28 Turkey has set up quarantine stations to house more than 10,300 Muslims returning from pilgrimages to Islam's holy sites in Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims will be kept in isolation for 14 days in an effort to fight the coronavirus. Ankara has stepped up measures in recent days, such as shutting universities and schools, and halting flights to several countries. Turkey has confirmed six cases of the virus so far — the latest one was a returning pilgrim.
11:19 The coronavirus pandemic has caused huge disruptions to daily life, including in the world of sports. You can keep abreast of all the latest sports developments here.
11:05 The death toll from coronavirus in Iran has jumped to 724, with 113 new fatalities reported in the past 24 hours. The figures were announced in a tweet from a health ministry official, who also said the number of infected people had reached 13,938.
Ali Reza Zali, who is in charge of Iran's response to the outbreak, said the pandemic may overwhelm the country's health facilities: "If the trend continues, there will not be enough capacity,'' he was quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency as saying.
Read more: US restricts travel from EU: What you need to know
11:01 Austria's Tyrol province, which borders Italy, is ordering a one-week lockdown to stop the coronavirus from spreading. The new rules mean people will only be allowed to leave their homes to buy food and medicine, visit the doctor, walk the dog, or withdraw cash. Austria has 758 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one death, and Tyrol is one of the country's worst-hit regions.
10:52 Dozens of homeless people have been placed in quarantine in Hamburg after a coronavirus case was confirmed in one of the northern German city's shelters. According to German media reports, around 300 people now have to undergo 14 days of isolation at the facility, which is usually reserved only for overnight stays.
The local health department said the measure aimed "to provide the best possible care to particularly vulnerable people," adding that those with symptoms would undergo testing and, if necessary, be isolated within the shelter or given treatment.
Read more: Germany and US wrestle over coronavirus vaccine
10:43 Kazakhstan has declared a state of emergency barring all travel to and from the Central Asian country, with the exception of diplomats and those invited by the government. Kazakhstan has confirmed eight coronavirus cases.
10:37 France's government says it will gradually reduce plane, train and bus services between cities from Sunday to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The country has already closed universities, schools, cafes and restaurants, and urged people not to travel.
"We have to limit our movements as much as possible. Long distance trips must be kept to what is strictly necessary," Ecology Minister
Elisabeth Borne told journalists in Paris. Cargo services between cities, as well as city metro services, are expected to continue as normal.
10:24 British Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the government is planning further measures to tackle COVID-19, including isolating people aged over 70 for up to four months.
"We will be setting it out with more detail when it's the right time to do so because we absolutely appreciate that that is a very big ask of the elderly and the vulnerable and it's for their own self-protection," Hancock wrote in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
He said authorities were also ready to ban mass gatherings if necessary. The UK government has been criticized for not taking measures already implemented in other European countries, such as increasing social isolation and preventing public gatherings.
10:08 More than 25 million people in the US don't have health insurance, and many simply can't afford to skip work and stay home if they get sick. That's creating anxiety at a time when coronavirus is spreading rapidly. Read more here.
09:49 Malaysia's Health Ministry says the country's number of coronavirus cases has nearly doubled to 428, after 190 new infections were confirmed on Sunday. Most of the new diagnoses were linked to an Islamic ceremony attended by an estimated 15,000 people on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in late February, the ministry said.
All of the people who were at the event, as well as their close contacts, were expected to be placed under mandatory quarantine for 14 days. Singapore and neighboring Brunei also announced several infections linked to the same religious event.
09:41 The coronavirus is continuing to spread, with first cases reported in the Seychelles, Uzbekistan and the Republic of the Congo. Rwanda, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania all announced their first cases on Saturday.
Read more: Coronavirus: The lessons to learn from Ebola
09:30 The Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem will shut their doors indefinitely as a precaution against coronavirus.
The complex, which is the third holiest site for Muslims, will still be open for outdoor prayers, Al-Aqsa mosque director Omar Kiswani said.
"The Islamic Waqf department decided to shut down the enclosed prayer places inside the blessed Aqsa mosque until further notice as a protective measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus," Kiswani told Reuters.
09:22 Austria has announced further restrictions on public life, including an order to close restaurants and sports facilities from Tuesday. A statement from Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's office said gatherings of more than five people would be banned, while travelers from Britain, the Netherlands, Ukraine and Russia would no longer be allowed to enter the country unless they undertook two weeks of quarantine or had a health certificate
"Austrians are being summoned to isolate themselves," the statement said. "That means only making social contact with the people with whom they live."
09:07 Russian news agencies are reporting that state-run Russian Railways will halt international passenger trains to and from Latvia, Ukraine and Moldova from March 17 in an effort to stop coronavirus from spreading. Russia has so far announced 59 infections.
08:51 New restrictions in place in the United States are causing chaos at a number of airports, with incoming travelers from Europe forced to wait hours for medical screenings before being able to pass through customs.
Governor of the state of Illinois JB Pritzker said the long lines at Chicago's O'Hare airport were "unacceptable."
Acting Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf said it takes about one minute per screening, and that his office was working with airlines to expedite the checks.
08:48 Chinese state media is reporting that all international arrivals in the capital Beijing will be sent to quarantine facilities starting Monday.
08:33 German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer says the German military will help the country in its fight against coronavirus.
"We are planning at every level, so that we will be able to safely cover all critical areas — including administrative assistance," the minister told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. She added that reservists had been called up to report for service at Bundeswehr hospitals, she added.
08:25 Thai health authorities say the country has recorded its biggest daily jump in coronavirus cases since the outbreak began. Thailand's total tally is now 114, after 32 new infections were reported on Sunday. The Health Ministry's permanent secretary, Sukhum Kanchanapimai, said more than 50 people were still awaiting test results.
08:04 Millions of people in Italy have been living under lockdown for the past several days after the government announced an emergency decree. Journalist Megan Williams reports from her home in Rome on how residents are adjusting to their new way of life.
07:43 Taiwan has reported six new COVID-19 infections — its highest single-day increase since the outbreak began. All of the cases were linked to recent overseas trips to Egypt, Europe, Japan and Thailand. At a press conference on Sunday, Taiwanese Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung urged residents to avoid nonessential travel. Taiwan has so far reported 59 cases of coronavirus, including one death.
Read more: Coronavirus, cold, or flu symptoms: Should I see a doctor?
07:38 The central bank of the United Arab Emirates has announced a $27 billion (€24 billion) stimulus package to help the country's banks deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
07:21 While public life in Italy, France and Spain has been brought to a standstill, people in Germany are also restricting their activities in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Read more about what Germany is doing here.
07:12 Polling stations have opened in the German state of Bavaria, where local elections are taking place despite the coronavirus crisis. Some 10 million people are eligible to cast ballots to elect mayors and councilors. The southern state has recorded more than 680 cases of COVID-19 — the second-highest number in the country after North Rhine-Westphalia. Local elections are also underway in France.
07:07 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial will be postponed by two months because of coronavirus restrictions. The case, which had been scheduled for March 17, is now set to begin on May 24. Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister, faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He has denied any wrongdoing.
06:48 Nationwide local elections in France are going ahead, despite a fresh round of restrictions announced by the government. The vote on Sunday is a key test for President Emmanuel Macron, who says the polls to elect mayors and councils should proceed to assure democratic continuity. However, there are concerns that health fears mean some voters may choose to stay home.
06:41 The Vatican says its Easter week celebrations will be held without a congregation due to the spread of COVID-19.
06:33 Many coronavirus patients have died of sepsis. Read more about the organ dysfunction and how it occurs here.
06:23 South Korea's daily reporting of new coronavirus infections has fallen below 100 for the first time in more than three weeks, according to figures released by the country's health authorities. They said there were 76 new cases recorded on Saturday, bringing the total number of diagnosed people to 8,162. The number of deaths also increased by 3, to 75.
06:08 El Salvador has declared a state of emergency and approved a partial suspension of the constitution to fight the coronavirus. The country's Congress has approved a series of measures, including curbs on public gatherings and a restriction on free movement for 30 days. El Salvador has yet to record a confirmed case of COVID-19, but its announcement follows moves by other Central American countries, including Panama, Honduras and Guatemala, to ban public gatherings.
Read more: South Asia leaders to discuss how to tackle coronavirus
05:46 Passengers on a cruise ship that docked in southern New Zealand are being barred from disembarking while three people on board undergo testing for the coronavirus. The Golden Princess, which is carrying 3,700 people, stopped at the tourist town of Akaroa, near Christchurch, on Sunday. A health official said the three passengers were quarantined by the ship's doctor after one of them developed COVID-19 symptoms.
05:33 Police in the Philippines have started sealing off the capital to stop the coronavirus from spreading. Officers are checking temperatures and identification documents of people passing through dozens of checkpoints around Manila as part of a monthlong lockdown. All domestic flights to and from the densely populated city have been canceled. On Saturday, the country reported a total of 111 infections, including eight deaths.
03:40 Everyone who arrives in Australia will have to self-isolate for 14 days, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. The measure, which comes into force from midnight Sunday, is aimed at stopping the further spread of the new coronavirus in the country.
02:12 The British government has advised its citizens against all but essential travel to Spain amid the coronavirus outbreak. Spain on Saturday put its 47 million population under partial lockdown to combat the virus' spread. The UK also advised against travel to several other European countries including Poland and Estonia, as well as many countries in the Americas including Colombia and Panama. The US on Saturday extended its coronavirus travel ban to the UK and Ireland.
Panic-buying has left empty shelves in supermarkets — and food banks. With Germans snapping up canned goods and toilet paper to weather the outbreak, stores have fewer supplies left over to donate to the needy, said Jochen Brühl, head of Tafel Deutschland, which supports more than 1.5 million people with surplus groceries and other donations. Brühl encouraged those who had overreacted to donate.
After playing one match behind closed doors, the Bundesliga has suspended its season until at least April 2. The Germany football league had considered playing matches behind closed doors until Paderborn's coach Steffen Baumgart and defender Luca Kilian tested positive for COVID-19.
Cultural life has also taken a hit, with major fairs and trade shows canceled or postponed. Among the casualties were the Leipzig Book Fair and the Musikmesse Frankfurt, Europe's biggest music trade fair. Numerous clubs, galleries and museums have closed across the country, and the gala award show for the annual German film and television award, the Goldene Kamera, has been moved to November.
The Chinese origin of the virus has led to an increase in xenophobic sentiment in the places worst hit by the outbreak. Asian restaurants and stores — not just Chinese — have reported empty tables in countries hard hit by the pandemic, and people with Asian features have experienced discrimination. At a recent Bundesliga game in Leipzig, a group of Japanese fans was ejected from the stadium.
German airline Lufthansa has massively reduced its flight capacity as business and personal travel is cut back. The flagship carrier is now seeking state aid, according to a report from Germany business newspaper Handelsblatt. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr will be attending a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to government sources.
Car plants in China have been shut down since January, and major German automakers like Volkswagen and Daimler have said both sales and production have been hit by the epidemic. And with many automakers sourcing electric car parts from China, work at plants in Germany has also hit a stumbling block. Berlin has said it plans to financially support companies suffering coronavirus losses.
In an effort to prevent further spread, Germany has closed its borders with France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria and Denmark. Authorities in Poland and the Czech Republic had already begun spot checks, measuring the temperature of travelers crossing main road borders out of Germany.
"The consequences for the German tourism sector are serious," warned Guido Zöllick, head of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association. Already by the second week of March, 76.1% of members had reported a sharp decrease in bookings and a drop in revenue. The German parliament has banned tourists from visiting the glass dome of the Reichstag building until further notice.
Preschools and primary schools across Germany have shut. The closures have affected more than 2.2 million children up to age 16 countrywide, according to Germany's Federal Statistical Office. German television stations have adjusted their programming in response to the school closures.
02:09 More than half of the 300 coronavirus patients in intensive care units in France are aged under 60, according to the head of the country's public health agency. "It is urgent. Now is the time to change our behavior," Jerome Salomon said. As of Sunday, France began implementing widespread restrictions on public life.
01:32 China, where the outbreak started, is now reporting more cases coming from outside the country than inside. The National Health Commission reported that 16 of the 20 new cases detected on Sunday involved people arriving from overseas.
01:25 The latest figures for France, which as of midnight closed all restaurants, cafes, theaters and nonessential shops, are 4,480 confirmed cases and 91 deaths.
01:18 Spain, where emergency measures to halt the spread of the virus were announced Saturday, currently has 6,391 cases confirmed. That's an increase of more than 600 cases since Saturday. Spain has recorded 195 deaths.
00:40 DW's Washington correspondent Alexandra von Nahmen shares a White House statement saying that the US president has tested negative for COVID-19. Donald Trump was tested after several members of a Brazilian delegation he met with a week ago came down with the virus.
00:30 Here's a recap of the global figures:
- 156,102 confirmed cases globally
- 5,819 global deaths
- 72,624 recovered
00:02 Follow yesterday's developments here: Coronavirus latest: Spain to go into partial lockdown over coronavirus
00:01 Sweeping restrictions across France, which will see restaurants, theaters and nonessential shops closed, came into force.
dj,jsi,nm,se/ng (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)
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