Various European countries are beginning to reopen their borders to other European nations on Monday after months of lockdown as a measure to contain the coronavirus, but China, which is where the virus started was battling a new outbreak that has raised fears of a second wave.
As cases of infected people declines in recent weeks across European countries, governments have been easing the lockdowns and reopening borders that have agreeably saved lives but have devastated economies.
Belgium, France, Germany, Greece and Ukraine were among countries lifting border restrictions on Monday, while shops and outdoor attractions in England were set to welcome their first customers since March and in Paris cafes and restaurants were permitted to reopen fully.
“We’re desperate about tourists, we need them and we want them. If we don’t have the people, how will we survive,” says Michalis Drosos, who works in a souvenir shop in Fira, capital of the Greek island of Santorini.
The pandemic is making wave in Latin America, and Iran and India have reported worrying increases in deaths and infections — adding to concern over challenges the world will face in the fight against COVID-19.
China, where the virus emerged late last year, was the first country to implement extreme restrictions on movement early this year, forcing local transmission down to near-zero as the crisis hammered the rest of the world.
But health officials on Monday reported 75 cases of the respiratory illness in Beijing where the fresh cluster has been linked to a wholesale food market.
Streams of people queued in a Beijing stadium as mass testing was carried out, and a strict lockdown was extended across 21 Beijing neighbourhoods.