Social Distancing

Climate & Environment
Over two million Indians have planted 250 million trees while socially distancing
Farm Fields of Munnar, India
Farm Fields of Munnar, India Credit: unsplash.com / Ravi Pinisetti

In order to work against climate change over two million people have gathered in northern India to plant 250 million trees. The government has initiated the project and officials in Uttar Pradesh have provided the saplings across the state.

According to Associated Press the volunteers, lawmakers and government officials that participated maintained social distance as the Covid-19 pandemic is still going on with India the country with the fourth most infections in the world.

Regional News • Europe
Prime Minister of Ireland introduces law to make face masks compulsory, introduces fines and prison time for non-compliance
Prime Minister of Ireland introduces law to make face masks compulsory, introduces fines and prison time for non-compliance
Credit: unsplash.com / Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis

The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland Micheál Martin has announced that from Monday on wearing face coverings on public transport will be compulsory and non-compliance will can be penalized with fines up to €2,500 and/or six months in prison.

Exempt from the rules will be children under the age of 13, as well as people that have trouble breathing or that can not remove the face covering without help.

He also stated that people outside of public transport are encouraged to wear face coverings during social gatherings where social distancing does not work.

Regional News • Asia • China
Hong Kong closes schools again amid spike in Covid-19 infections
Kids walking to school in Hong Kong
Kids walking to school in Hong Kong Credit: unsplash.com/Free To Use Sounds

After over 100 new Covid-19 cases over the past week, Hong Kong officials have reimposed social distancing measures. All schools will be closed again starting Monday, after having just reopened in May. Bars and restaurants will have to reintroduce seating limits while kids' playgrounds are being closed completely.

Regional News • Oceania
Australia closes border for indefinite period to contain spread of Covid-19
Australia closes border for indefinite period to contain spread of Covid-19
Credit: unsplash.com/Nicolas Weldingh

In order to contain the further spread of Covid-19, Australian officials have closed the state border between Victoria and New South Wales – the first time since the 1919 Spanish flu pandemic. Melbourne has seen a recent surge in Covid-19 cases, putting 30 suburbs on strict social-distancing orders. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters that the decision was "a smart call [...] given the significant challenges."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Texas Gov. Abbott issued executive order, makes face masks mandatory
Texas Gov. Abbott issued executive order, makes face masks mandatory
Credit: unsplash.com/David Emrich

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order on Thursday, making the wear of face coverings in public mandatory. The order applies to counties which have at least 20 confirmed Covid-19 cases. Children under the age of 10 and people with some medical conditions are exempt. Masks are also not required while dining out and during certain athletic activities if a distance to others can be maintained.

"We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another — and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces," so the Governor in a statement.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Bars, restaurants and other indoor businesses ordered to close in 19 Californian counties
Bars, restaurants and other indoor businesses ordered to close in 19 Californian counties
Credit: unsplash.com/Toa Heftiba

California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered the closure of indoor businesses such as restaurants, theatres and museums amid rising numbers of Covid-19 infections. The new shutdown applies to 19 counties and will remain in place for at least three weeks.

"The bottom line is the spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning," so Newsom in a video news conference. "We’ve seen increased activity where people simply aren’t able to practice social distancing."

Lifestyle • Travel
All Asia Disney parks have reopened after 4-month closure
Entrance of Disneyland Tokyo, Japan
Entrance of Disneyland Tokyo, Japan Credit: unsplash.com/Roméo A.

With the reopening of the Disney Resort in Tokyo, all of Disney's Asian parks have reopened as of July 1. Disneyland in Shanghai has opened its doors for visitors in May and Disneyland Hong Kong welcomed visitors back in June. Visitors have to follow social distancing rules and wear masks at all times. Disneyland Tokyo and Japan's DisneySea parks have introduced further safety guidelines such as mandatory temperature checks, advanced ticket bookings and no physical interaction with actors.

Regional News • Europe • 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.

Law
Duisburg: Gay couple discriminated against by security guards

According to the German Covid-19 rules, a supermarket in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia could only be entered with a shopping cart. The exception was that spouses from one household can share a cart.

Despite the indication that homosexuals are also allowed to marry these days, the security guard did not let the couple in with one shopping cart. Even the deputy branch manager who was brought in was unable to influence the security force and obtain an apology. This was the third incident at Lidl for the couple concerned.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple has been granted a patent for social distancing group selfies
Apple has been granted a patent for social distancing group selfies
Credit: Medhat Dawoud

Apple has been granted a software patent that could enable users to take selfies without being physically together. The software could ask users to take a selfie separately with Apple then digitally stitching the single images and videos together and arranging it so that multiple people would be seen in one image or video. The users would keep the original and merged versions.

Health
Egypt: Mosque reopening plans announced
Man praying in Mosque
Man praying in Mosque Credit: unsplash.com/afig fatah

Plans were discussed to reopen mosques in Egypt by a parliamentary committee. Mosques need to follow a list of rules, incl. closing toilets, mandatory face masks and restricting entry for children. Mosques were closed in March and can reopen as soon as the Ministry of Health gives the green light to do so.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Californian Houses of worship to reopen at lesser capacity

California announced the reopening of houses of worship at a limited capacity on Monday. Churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious houses have to keep up with social distancing guidelines, take guests' temperatures and encourage visitors to wear facial masks and to not share items like prayer books.

Business • Economy
Italy's 10-Week-Lockdown Has Ended
Bar Bistro in Naples, Italy
Bar Bistro in Naples, Italy Credit: unsplash.com/Bertrand Borie

Italy's economy came to a halt in early March, making it the first Western country to impose a nationwide lockdown. Now, after ten weeks, the country is reopening retail stores, restaurants and other customer-oriented establishments. As the nation begins to allow unlimited travel, social distancing rules still apply and people must stay 2 metres (6.5ft) apart.

Education • University Education
Major Canadian Universities are Likely to Start Fall Semesters Online

Many Canadian universities, including the University of British Columbia and McGill University and Montreal, have announced that they will start offering courses online. However, it has also been said that labs and other activities requiring in-person attendance will be held in smaller groups.

Business • Economy
New technologies will substitute store security guards in Germany

With the challenge of controlling the physical distancing rules in German supermarkets, the need for security guards at the doors of local stores has increased. Now, more and more shops are planning on using technologies to regulate the number of persons inside shops. Aldi Süd, Media Markt and Saturn already have announced that they'll make use of people counting systems and virtual "bouncers" in all stores in Germany.

Regional News • Asia
Japan partly lifts state of emergency as Covid-19 cases fall

The prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abo, has announced that the country is lifting the state of emergency for most of the country but urges people to keep up physical distancing, wearing masks and upholding hygiene standards. The island Hokkaido, Tokyo and Osaka are still subject of the state of emergency as new cases are still emerging in these regions.

Law
Five people injured in Fort Worth Park Shooting

On Sunday, 600 people gathered at a park in Forth Worth, Texas when multiple shots were fired at around 6:30 pm. Two were critically injured, the other three sustained minor injuries. According to Police, the crowd had gathered in the park despite social distancing orders.

So far, it's unclear who and why opened fire. Another shooting was reported 30 minutes later at a convenience store less than a mile away from the park. Police are investigating whether the two shootings were related.

Regional News • Asia
South Korea struggles to contain second Covid-19 outbreak

South Korea, who was quick to take action to contain the spread of Covid-19 earlier this year, is struggling to contain new infections. Over the weekend, the country counted 69 new cases, equal to the number reported in the entire previous week and the highest daily number in over a month. Most new cases are linked to Seoul bars and nightclubs and authorities are in the midst of tracking down and testing over 7,000 patrons.

Regional News • Americas • United States
California first state to allow mail-in ballot for presidential election

California state will send out mail-in ballots for the upcoming presidential election to every registered voter, so Governor Gavin Newsom. In-person voting will still be possible and Alex Padilla, Secretary of State, said that they "remain committed to providing as many safe, in-person opportunities to vote as possible on and before Election Day". California is the first state to offer mail-in ballots for the November election.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Medical journal The Lancet says "biggest threat to Brazil's COVID-19 response is its president, Jair Bolsonaro"
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Economy Minister Paulo Guedes
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Economy Minister Paulo Guedes Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet stated in an article that Brazil, the country with the most Covid-19 cases and deaths in Latin America, has a difficult time fighting the coronavirus.

The journal claims that president Jair Bolsonaro does not properly react to the pandemic and criticizes that the president discourages "sensible measures of physical distancing and lockdown". By doing that the president is taking an opposite stand than state governors and city mayors and has lost two ministers in the past three weeks.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Texas Cinema turns parking lot into drive-in cinema

After being forced to close the cinema following the spread of the coronavirus, the EVO Entertainment Group decided to repurpose the parking lot into a drive-in cinema. Every evening people can drive up and park in the theater parking lot to enjoy a movie screening for free. The cinema itself sells food from the kitchen and sofar all screenings have been booked out. The CEO of the company, Mitchell Roberts stated that it "is a difficult time for everyone, so we’ve made it our goal to find a way to spread positivity within our community while sharing in the responsibility of social distancing during the crisis".