WASHINGTON: Officials around the world reintroduced new restrictions in coronavirus hotspots as the official global death toll passed 650,000.
European countries are trying to repair the economic damage caused by the earlier lockdowns to balance keeping tourism open while guarding against new infections.
Spain’s tourism industry faced fresh misery after British travelers cancelled flights following London’s decision to reintroduce quarantine for travellers returning from the country.
Hong Kong has mandated wearing masks in public in response to a new wave of infections. Belgium tightened its social distancing measures to try to halt a worrying surge in cases.
In Washington, the White House announced that another senior administration figure, national security advisor Robert O’Brien, had contracted the virus.
The United States, the worst-hit nation in the world, had added another 57,000 cases of infection and its recorded death toll stood at 147,588. The number of US daily infections had exceeded 60,000 for 12 straight days, with some days notching more than 70,000 new cases.
The World Health Organization argued against a complete closing of borders. This was “not necessarily a sustainable strategy for the world’s economy, for the world’s poor, or for anybody else,” said WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan.
A “global one-size-fits-all policy” was impossible because outbreaks were developing differently in different countries, he added. The WHO said its emergency committee would meet later this week to discuss the crisis
The global death toll from the pandemic passed 650,000 Monday, nearly a third of that number in Europe. The virus has killed a total of 650,011 people but more than 100,000 deaths have been recorded since July 9, and the global toll has doubled in just over two months.
China reported its highest number of coronavirus cases in three months, while Indonesia confirmed its 100,000th coronavirus case. New infections have also surged in Hong Kong and everyone in the densely populated city must wear masks in public from this week.
Other countries took a different approach to fears over rising infections. Germany will make coronavirus tests mandatory for travelers returning from risk areas.
Belgium announced that people would be allowed to see five people at most outside their family circle. The measures came after the country recorded 1,952 new cases over the past week, more than 70 percent up on the previous week.
France ordered night-time curfews for beaches in the Brittany resort of Quiberon after a fast-spreading COVID-19 cluster emerged there last week.
Britain launched a campaign against obesity, days after a Public Health England report found that the condition increased the risk of death from coronavirus by 40 percent.