Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
Visitors admire the Gallery of Maps as the Vatican Museum reopened, in Rome, Monday, June 1, 2020. The Vatican Museums reopened Monday to visitors after three months of shutdown following COVID-19 containment measures.

The first day of June saw coronavirus restrictions ease from Asia to Europe on Monday, even as U.S. protests against police brutality sparked fears of new outbreaks. The Colosseum opened its ancient doors in Rome, ferries restarted in Bangladesh, golfers played in Greece, students returned in Britain and Dutch bars and restaurants were free to welcome hungry, thirsty patrons.

Countries around the Mediterranean Sea tentatively kicked off a summer season where tourists could bask in their famously sunny beaches while still being protected by social distancing measures from a virus that is marching relentlessly around the world.

“We are reopening a symbol. A symbol of Rome, a symbol for Italy,” said Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum’s archaeological park. “(We are) restarting in a positive way, with a different pace, with a more sustainable tourism.”

Greece lifted lockdown measures Monday for hotels, campsites, open-air cinemas, golf courses and public swimming pools, while b eaches and museums reopened in Turkey and bars, restaurants, cinemas and museums came back to life in the Netherlands.

“Today, we opened two rooms and tomorrow three. It’s like building an anthill,” Athens hotel owner Panos Betis said as employees wearing tidied a rooftop restaurant and cleaned a window facing the ancient Acropolis. “We can’t compare the season to last year. We were at 95% capacity. Our aim now is to hang in there till 2021.”

Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
An employee removes a plastic cover from goods at the shop window after reopening in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, June 1, 2020. Monday’s reopening of retail stores along with dry cleaners and repair shops comes as the pace of contagion has stabilized in the Russian capital that has accounted for about half of the nation’s infections. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr)

A long line of masked visitors snaked outside the Vatican Museums, which include the Sistine Chapel, as they reopened for the first time in three months. Italy is eager to reboot its tourism industry, which accounts for 13% of its economy.

The Vatican Museums’ famous keyholder—the “clavigero” who holds the keys to all the galleries on a big ring on his wrist—opened the gate in a sign both symbolic and literal that the Museums were back in business.

Still, strict crowd control measures were in place at both landmarks: visitors needed reservations to visit, their temperatures were taken before entering and masks were mandatory.

“Having the opportunity to see the museums by making a booking and not having to wait in line for three hours is an opportunity,” said visitor Stefano Dicozzi.

The Dutch relaxation of rules took place on a major holiday with the sun blazing, raising immediate fears of overcrowding in popular beach resorts. The new rules let bars and restaurants serve up to 30 people inside if they keep social distancing, but there’s no standing at bars and reservations are necessary.

Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
People ride a bus during the first day of a more relaxed lockdown that was placed to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in Manila, Philippines on Monday, June 1, 2020. Traffic jams and crowds of commuters are back in the Philippine capital, which shifted to a more relaxed quarantine with limited public transport in a high-stakes gamble to slowly reopen the economy while fighting the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Britain, which with over 38,500 dead has the world’s second-worst death toll behind the United States, eased restrictions despite warnings from health officials that the risk of spreading COVID-19 was still too great. Some elementary classes reopened in England and people could now have limited contact with family and friends, but only outdoors and with social distancing.

In Asia, Bangladesh restarted bus, train, ferry and flight services Monday, hoping that a gradual reopening revives an economy in which millions have become jobless. Traffic jams and crowds of commuters clogged Manila as the Philippines tried to kickstart its economy.

Around 6.19 million infections have been reported worldwide, with over 372,000 people dying, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The true death toll is believed to be significantly higher, since many died without ever being tested.

Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
Customers seated in small glasshouses enjoy lunch at the Mediamatic restaurant in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Monday, June 1, 2020. The government took a major step to relax the coronavirus lockdown, with bars, restaurants, cinemas and museums reopening under strict conditions, abiding by government guidelines and respecting social distancing to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

In the U.S., the often-violent protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer, are raising fears of new outbreaks in a country that has more confirmed infections and deaths than any other.

The U.S. has seen nearly 1.8 million infections and over 104,000 deaths in the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected racial minorities in a nation that does not have universal health care.

Protests over Floyd’s death have shaken the U.S. from New York to Los Angeles. Demonstrators are packed cheek by jowl, many without masks, many shouting or singing. The virus itself is dispersed by microscopic droplets in the air when people cough, sneeze, talk or sing.

“There’s no question that when you put hundreds or thousands of people together in close proximity, when we have got this virus all over the streets … it’s not healthy,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said.

Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
Visitors admire the Sistine Chapel as the Vatican Museum reopened, in Rome, Monday, June 1, 2020. The Vatican Museums reopened Monday to visitors after three months of shutdown following COVID-19 containment measures. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Some efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus are being upended by the protests. In contact tracing, newly infected people list everyone they’ve interacted with over several days in order to alert them that they may have been exposed. That may be a daunting task if someone has been to a mass gathering.

The process also relies on something that may suddenly be in especially short supply: Trust in government.

South Korea and India offered cautionary tales Monday about just how hard it is to halt the virus.

South Korea reported a steady rise in cases around Seoul. Hundreds of infections have been linked to nightspots, restaurants and a massive e-commerce warehouse near Seoul. The resurgence is straining the country’s ability to test patients and trace their contacts.

“We have been seeing an increased number of high-risk patients who have been infected through family members or religious gatherings,” said Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “There’s a particular need for people over 65, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions to be alert.”

Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
Waiters wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus, serves clients at a theahouse, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, June 1, 2020. Restaurants and cafes welcomed sit-in customers, beaches and museums reopened as Turkey’s broadest easing of coronavirus restrictions came into effect.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Incheon, a port city west of Seoul, said Monday it’s considering banning gatherings at 4,200 churches and other religious facilities.

In India, cases increased rapidly but it still eased restrictions Monday on shops and public transport in more states. Subways and schools remain closed as experts said India is still far from reaching the peak of its outbreak. The government eased the lockdown to help millions of day laborers who have lost their jobs and are unable to feed their families.

China, where the global pandemic is believed to have originated late last year, reported 16 new cases Monday, all travelers from abroad. Much of China has already reopened for business and Monday saw classes restart in middle and high schools. Kindergartners and fourth- and fifth-graders will be allowed back next week.

  • Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
    Mounted policemen, right, and Carabinieri in high uniform, left, patrol outside the Colosseum in Rome, Monday, June 1, 2020, during the reopening to the public of one of Italy’s most visited monument, after more of two months of lockdown for the coronavirus pandemics. The Colosseum, Palatine, Roman Forum and Domus Aurea reopens to the public on 1 June with some access restrictions for visitors. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
  • Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
    Visitors line up to enter the Vatican Museums on their reopening date, in Rome, Monday, June 1, 2020. The Vatican Museums reopened Monday to visitors after three months of shutdown following COVID-19 containment measures. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
  • Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
    Museum employees, wearing masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, walk down a staircase designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932, inspired by the original Bramante staircase designed by Renaissance architect Donato Bramante, as the Vatican Museum reopened, in Rome, Monday, June 1, 2020. The Vatican Museums reopened Monday to visitors after three months of shutdown following COVID-19 containment measures. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
  • Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
    Police hold off protesters during a solidarity rally for George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Protests were held throughout the city over the death of Floyd, a black man in police custody in Minneapolis who died after being restrained by police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
  • Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
    Hotel worker Mailinda Kaci cleans the windows in a restaurant area at the Acropolian Spirit Hotel in central Athens as the ancient Acropolis is seen in the background, on Monday June 1, 2020. Lockdown restrictions were lifted on non-seasonal hotels Monday as the country prepares to start its tourism season on June 15. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
  • Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
    Customers queue to purchase alcoholic beverages outside the Sam Liquor Store in Thokoza township, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Monday, June 1, 2020. Liquor stores have reopened Monday after being closed for over two months under lockdown restrictions in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
  • Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
    Passengers wait outside Hyderabad Railway Station to catch a train to return to their home states in Hyderabad, India, Monday, June 1, 2020. More states opened up and crowds of commuters trickled onto the roads in many of India’s cities on Monday as a three-phase plan to lift the nationwide coronavirus lockdown started despite an upward trend in new infections. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
  • Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules
    A shopper at a market stall along Portobello Road in London, Monday, June 1, 2020. The British government has lifted some lockdown restrictions to restart social life and activate the economy while still endeavouring to limit the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 coronavirus.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says China has pledged to make available 30 million COVID-19 testing kits per month to African countries, which are facing a shortage.

Japan started blood tests Monday to check what percentage of its people have developed antibodies, a sign of past coronavirus infections. The tests will be conducted on 10,000 randomly selected people in three areas including Tokyo and results are expected at the end of the month.


Follow the latest news on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak


© 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Citation:
Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules (2020, June 1)
retrieved 1 June 2020
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-06-lockdowns-ease-europe-asia-tourism.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.



Source link