Asharq Al-awsat English https://aawsat.com/english Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper http://feedly.com/icon.svg

Europe Restricts Visitors from the US amid Virus Resurgence

Europe Restricts Visitors from the US amid Virus Resurgence

Tuesday, 30 June, 2020 - 18:00
Few people wear masks as they walk on the beach pier during the global outbreak of the coronavirus in Oceanside, California, US, June 22, 2020. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

The European Continent on Tuesday decided to reopen to visitors from 14 countries but not the US, where some of the states that pushed hardest and earliest to reopen their economies are now in retreat because of an alarming surge in confirmed coronavirus infections.


The European Union’s decision came a day after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey closed bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks, and officials in Republican and Democratic strongholds alike mandated the wearing of masks.


“We have to remain vigilant and keep our most vulnerable safe,” tweeted European Council President Charles Michel.


The EU extended its ban on visitors not just from the US but from China and from countries such as Russia, Brazil and India where infections are running high. Britain dropped out of the EU in January and maintains its own rules, requiring arriving travelers to go into 14-day self-quarantine.


President Donald Trump suspended the entry of most Europeans in March.


American make up a big share of Europe's tourism industry, and summer is a key period. More than 15 million Americans travel to Europe each year, while some 10 million Europeans head across the Atlantic.


The news was a blow to struggling shopkeepers hoping for a summertime boom.


“Americans were 50% of my clientele,” said Paola Pellizzari, who owns a mask and jewelry shop on the Saint-Louis island in the heart of Paris and heads its business association. “We can’t substitute that clientele with another.”


The Louvre museum is scheduled to reopen July 6. Americans used to be the largest single group of foreign visitors to the home of the “Mona Lisa.”


“When I returned after lockdown, five businesses had closed,” Pellizzari said. “As days go by, and I listen to the business owners, it gets worse.”


The coronavirus has been blamed for over a half-million deaths worldwide, including about 130,000 in the US, where the number of confirmed infections has rocketed over the past month to around 40,000 per day, primarily in the South and West. A large share of the cases are among young people who are going out again to bars and restaurants.


On Capitol Hill, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, warned: "I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned.” He cited scenes of people socializing in crowds, often without masks.


States such as Texas, Florida and California are backtracking, closing beaches and bars or rolling back restaurant restrictions in some cases.


“Our expectation is that our numbers next week will be worse,” Ducey said in Arizona, where for seven times in 10 days, the number of new cases per day has surpassed the 3,000 mark.


Also Monday, Los Angeles announced it will close beaches and ban fireworks displays over the Fourth of July. And New Jersey's governor said he is postponing the restarting of indoor dining because people have not been wearing masks or complying with other social-distancing rules.


In Florida, Walt Disney World forged ahead with plans to reopen on July 11, despite a spike in confirmed cases in the past week.


The state on Tuesday reported more than 6,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 8,000 new cases were recorded on each of three days late last week. Florida has seen more than 3,500 deaths.


Editor Picks

Multimedia