Covid-19 Measures

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Italy threatens to ban Ryanair over Covid-19 compliance
Boeing 737 Ryanair
Boeing 737 Ryanair Credit: Dylan Agbagni (Creative Commons Attribution 1.0)

ENAC, the Italian air transport regulator, has threatened to suspend Ryanair from flying to Italy over what it claims were "repeated violation of anti-Covid-19 health measures drafted by the Italian government".

Ryanair said in a statement that ENAC’s assertions were "factually incorrect" and that the company "complies fully with the measures set out by the Italian government."

Italian rules require passengers to maintain distance from others unless other precautions are taken including controlled boarding and disembarkation to avoid close contact, temperature tests and the wearing of face masks.

Sports • Basketball
German basketbal player Joshiko Saibou fired after protesting Covid-19 restrictions
Joshiko Saibou
Joshiko Saibou Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Basketball player Joshiko Saibou has been released from his contract with German club Telekom Baskets Bonn after participating in protests against Covid-19 measures in Berlin. Saibou, previously, had also been posting conspiracy theories about the virus on social media.
Saibou and his girlfriend, Alexandra Wester, shared photos of their participation in the demonstration against Covid-19 measures on social networks. In the photos both were seen without mouth-nose protection and without distance from other people.
"The German clubs are currently working meticulously on hygiene concepts for the fans next season and for special health and safety guidelines," Bonn managing director Wolfgang Wiedlich said in a statement. "Therefore, we can’t be responsible for a permanent risk of infection, which the player Saibou represents to his teammates and other BBL teams."

Education • School Education
Mongomery County (Md) closes schools for in-person classes, including Barron Trump's private school
President Donald J. Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and their son, Barron, walk across the South Lawn of the White House Sunday.
President Donald J. Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and their son, Barron, walk across the South Lawn of the White House Sunday. Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

On Friday, Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles ordered schools to remain closed for in-person classes until at least October 1. Among those schools affected is Barron Trump's Maryland private school.

"Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have based our decisions on science and data. At this point the data does not suggest that in-person instruction is safe for students or teachers," so Gayles in a news release on Friday.

On Monday, Donald J. Trump again called for schools to reopen despite high numbers of Covid-19 infections. "Cases up because of BIG Testing! Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!," Trump tweeted.

Lifestyle • Cruises
Norway: Cruise line Hurtigruten halts cruises after Coronavirus outbreak
Norway: Cruise line Hurtigruten halts cruises after Coronavirus outbreak
Credit: Holger.Ellgaard / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

After a Coronavirus outbreak on the MS Roald Amundsen, Cruise line Hurtigruten has halted all "expedition" cruises until further notice. It's confirmed that 41 people on board of the MS Roald Amundsen were tested positive for Coronavirus, the rest of the crew and hundreds of passengers were urged to self-isolated.

Hurtigruten's Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldam: "Our own failure, as well as the recent rise in infections internationally, has led us to halt all expedition cruises in Norwegian and international waters."

Politics • European • United Kingdom
Boris Johnson Halts Further Lockdown Easing
Boris Johnson Halts Further Lockdown Easing
Credit: U.K. Prime Minister / Wikimedia Commons (Open Government Licence v3.0)

PM Johnson halts lockdown easing in England for at least another two weeks to slow down rising coronavirus infections, saying it was time to "squeeze the brake pedal." This results in venues such as bowling allies, casinos and close-contact services having to remain closed until 15 August. Mandatory face masks will be extended to indoor venues, including cinemas, museums and places of worship.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
UK government implements two week quarantine for returners from Spain
Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport
Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport Credit: unsplash.com/Roberto Arias

The government of the United Kingdom has announced that a mandatory two-week quarantine will be implemented for all returners and travellers from Spain following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Health Minister Robin Swann has stated that "the advice from the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser is that a negative Covid-19 test immediately on return from Spain would not exclude infection - so a period of self-isolation would still be required" and that "public health considerations must take priority".

Politics • American • Brazil
Jair Bolsonaro is denounced in The Hague for genocide and crimes against humanity
Jair Bolsonaro, promoting hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment
Jair Bolsonaro, promoting hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was denounced Sunday for crimes against humanity and genocide at the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague. The initiative is led by UNISaúde, a coalition of entities representing more than one million health workers in Brazil.

UNISaúde accuses the Brazilian president of "serious and deadly failures" in conducting the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. "In the understanding of the coalition, there are indications that Bolsonaro committed a crime against humanity during his administration in the face of the pandemic, by adopting negligent and irresponsible actions, which contributed to the more than 80 thousand deaths in the country"

According to Marcio Monzane, regional secretary UNI Americas: "The Bolsonaro government should be blamed for its insensitive action in the face of the pandemic and for refusing to protect Brazilian health workers as well as the Brazilian population, which he promised to defend when he became president,"

Politics • African
South Africa: Schools to close again over Coronavirus surge
School children from KwaMangqakaza Primary School receiving school uniforms that were donated by a good Samaritan. South African schools are expected to begin a phased re-opening from the 1st of June 2020.
School children from KwaMangqakaza Primary School receiving school uniforms that were donated by a good Samaritan. South African schools are expected to begin a phased re-opening from the 1st of June 2020. Credit: Khethukuthula Mbonambi / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Most of South African public schools will close again for a month. The schools year will be extended into 2021, affecting over 14 million pupils. The country has reported over 400,000 cases in total and has seen rising Coronavirus infections.

President Ramaphose said on Thursday: "We have taken a deliberately cautious approach to keep schools closed during a period when the country is expected to experience its greatest increase in infections. I am aware that this arrangement that I’ve just announced will disappoint many learners who want to be back at school and may cause inconvenience and difficulty for many families who need to make alternative child care arrangements. We ask you to do this because we believe it is important to ensure that schools do not become sites of transmission at a time when infections are rising fast."

Politics • Oceanian
100+ schools & early childhood services close in Victoria, Australia reports highest daily COVID case count
100+ schools & early childhood services close in Victoria, Australia reports highest daily COVID case count
Credit: unsplash.com/Kate Trifo

As Victoria sees a record daily COVID number of 484 cases, the state has closed over 100 schools and early childhood services. New South Wales reported 16 cases, while Queensland and South Australia only saw one case each, bringing the total cases in Australia to 502 – making it the country's highest daily COVID case count since March 28.

Politics • American • US
California halts reopening, closes bars, gyms and indoor dining
California halts reopening, closes bars, gyms and indoor dining
Credit: unsplash.com/Joel Muniz

California is reversing its reopening phase and closes most indoor establishments again as the state sees an average of 9,000 new Covid-19 infections.

Governor Gavin Newsom ordered a statewide closure for bars, indoor dining and other venues. Thirty of the state's hardest hit counties will further have to close all gyms, malls, places of worship and beauty salons.

"We're seeing an increase in the spread of the virus, so that’s why it’s incumbent upon all of us to recognize soberly that Covid-19 is not going away any time soon until there is a vaccine and, or an effective therapy," so Newsom in a news conference.

Politics • African
South Africa: Alcohol ban and curfew imposed to suppress spread of Coronavirus
South Africa: Alcohol ban and curfew imposed to suppress spread of Coronavirus
Credit: unsplash.com/SJ Objio

South Africa sees a rapid spread of the Coronavirus. The country is accounting for roughly 40% of all African cases. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa begged the citizen to follow the rules and reduce personal contact. He reintroduced a ban on all alcohol sales and imposed a nationwide curfew in hopes to suppress the spread of the virus.

Ramaphosa said: "This is in our collective hands. Let us remember that every individual action that we undertake does and can make a big difference. Now more than ever we are responsible for the lives of those around us."

Hospitals also have started to turn people away. Ramaphosa wants to avoid a second lockdown as it would cause more harm than good on the economy.

Health
Spanish Covid-19 antibodies study adds evidence against herd immunity
Spanish Covid-19 antibodies study adds evidence against herd immunity
Credit: Adam Nieścioruk

A Spanish large-scale study on the coronavirus indicates just 5% of the country's population has developed antibodies and cast doubt on the feasibility of herd immunity as a strategy to tackle Covid-19. The study was published Monday on the medical journal The Lancet.

Herd immunity is achieved when 70% to 90% of a population was either infected with a virus or bacteria or vaccinated, to stop its circulation.

In the report, the authors say: "Despite the high impact of COVID-19 in Spain, prevalence estimates remain low and are clearly insufficient to provide herd immunity. This cannot be achieved without accepting the collateral damage of many deaths in the susceptible population and overburdening of health systems. In this situation, social distance measures and efforts to identify and isolate new cases and their contacts are imperative for future epidemic control."

Politics • European • European Union
European Union will bar most travelers from dozens of countries, including U.S. and Russia
European Union will bar most travelers from dozens of countries, including U.S. and Russia
Credit: unsplash.com/Miguel Ángel Sanz

A European vacation won't be happening for many this summer. On Friday, E.U. officials announced that most travelers from a list of dozens of countries that still haven't contained the coronavirus outbreak wouldn't be allowed into the E.U. as they are considered a risk.

Among those countries are Russia and the United States. Chinese travelers will be allowed to visit but only if E.U. travelers won't be barred from entering China.

Politics • American • US
Texas is pausing reopening plans amid surge in Covid-19 cases
Gov. Greg Abbott in 2016
Gov. Greg Abbott in 2016 Credit: World Travel & Tourism Council / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a press conference on Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced a temporary pause on reopening measures amid a surge in Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations. The state reported almost 6,000 new cases on Thursday and a record high for Covid-19 hospitalisations.

"The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business," so the Governor.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
England to lift most restrictions on July 4
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street, April 2020
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street, April 2020 Credit: UK Prime Minister's Office (Open Government Licence v3.0)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would lift most lockdown restrictions by July 4 while speaking to the House of Commons on Tuesday, saying "today we can say that our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end and life is beginning to return to our streets and our shops."

Pubs, museums, cinemas and restaurants are set to reopen alongside other amenities such as hotels, places of worship and outdoor gyms while still adhering to social distancing rules.

Johnson added that Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland would take their own approach in lifting restrictions.

Business • Economy
Apple stores to close in four US states amid rising Covid-19 cases
Apple stores to close in four US states amid rising Covid-19 cases
Credit: pexels.com/zhang kaiyv

Apple announced that it would temporarily close a total of six stores in Florida, Arizona, North and South Carolina due to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases.

Apple told TechCrunch: "Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas. We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible."

Politics • African
Ethiopia: Elections postponed, PM Abiy stays in office
Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed, 2019
Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed, 2019 Credit: The Kremlin, Moscow / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Ethiopia postponed its August elections due to the coronavirus. Parliament voted 114:1, approving PM Abiy Ahmed to stay in office until a new date is found. New elections are recommended to be held in 9-12 months "after the coronavirus is deemed not to be a public health concern".

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Art & Design
Madrid reopens its museums after nearly three months
"The Naked Maja" by Francisco Goya
"The Naked Maja" by Francisco Goya Credit: Museo del Prado (Public Domain)

The Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums in Madrid reopened today after nearly three months of Covid-19 lockdown.

At the Prado, visitors were required to wear face masks, keep a distance of two meters apart during the visit and had their temperatures checked before entering the museum.

A visit to the famous museum is free during this weekend -- and half-price until September -- with tickets available online to the first 1,800 people

Politics • American • US
Trump to cut US ties to the World Health Organization
World Health Organisation headquarters, Geneva
World Health Organisation headquarters, Geneva Credit: Yann Forget (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

President Donald Trump said Friday that the U.S. would terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization, stating it had failed to adequately respond to the Covid-19 pandemic because China has “total control” over the global organization.

The US is currently the biggest funder of the organisation, contributing with $450 million in membership dues and other voluntary payments for specific programmes.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
American Airlines to cut the percentage of management and support staff to avoid bankruptcy
American Airlines fleet at Chicago O'Hare Airport
American Airlines fleet at Chicago O'Hare Airport Credit: unsplash.com/Miguel Ángel Sanz

Wednesday night, American Airlines announced that it plans to let go 30% of its management and support staff by September 30. Affected departments are, among others, marketing, finance and administration. CEO Doug Parker said the company was not planning to have to file for bankruptcy or furlough its employees.

Elise Eberwein, vice president of people and global engagement, justified the move by saying: “Fleet retirement accelerations are underway, and we will fly roughly 100 fewer aircraft next summer — mostly widebodies — than we had originally planned. Additionally, running a smaller airline means we will need a management and support staff team that is roughly 30% leaner."

Politics • European • United Kingdom
Aldi UK to Implement Entrance Traffic Light System Nationwide
ALDI store in Moreton-in-Marsh, England
ALDI store in Moreton-in-Marsh, England Credit: ALDI Press Centre

In a statement made this week, Aldi UK has announced the implementation of a traffic light system to control the numbers of customers in its stores. The system is being installed nationwide this week, which also features priority access for health care workers.