British holidaymakers descend on Portugal
LISBON, Portugal – British holidaymakers have started arriving in Portugal after the British and Portuguese governments relaxed their travel restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A flight from Manchester, England arrived early Monday in Faro, the main city in Portugal’s southern Algarve tourist region. More than 5,000 British visitors were expected to arrive in Portugal on 17 flights during the day.
This has improved the outlook for Portugal’s crucial tourism sector, which relies heavily on the UK market and has closed for most of the past year.
Portugal and the UK have both reduced their seven-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population to between 3 and 4.
The UK government has put Portugal and 11 other countries on a so-called green list of low-risk territories. Brits returning home from these areas do not need to self-quarantine.
Portugal from Monday allowed non-essential travel from all but five European countries.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
– A dip in the cash registers brings a glimmer of hope in India, but bed shortage, oxygen shows virus crisis is not over yet
– UK gears up for major reopening Monday but a new variant causes concern
– Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine the candidate elicited strong immune responses; production will start soon
HERE’S WHAT ELSE HAPPENS:
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government has said the start of a non-quarantine travel bubble proposal with Singapore has been postponed following a spike in untraceable cases in the Southeast Asian city-state .
A press release issued on Monday said the two governments had decided to postpone the start of the air bubble originally scheduled for May 26 “in view of the recent COVID-19 epidemic situation in Singapore.”
He said the two governments remained committed to the bubble and would continue to closely monitor developments in the two locations, emphasizing the effectiveness of the enhanced anti-epidemic measures that went into effect in Singapore from Sunday and should end on June 13. Another announcement would be made on or around this date to “resume air travel between the two … in a gradual and orderly fashion under a set of strict public health protocols,” the advisory said. .
The announcement came after Singapore limited gatherings to just two people and restricted restaurants to delivery or take-out service only.
The number of new cases rose to 71 last week, from 48 the week before, as infections rise from a cluster linked to Changi Airport. Infections unrelated to identified cases jumped to 15 last week, more than double the previous week.
The health ministry said the pattern of infections unrelated to known cases suggested the virus was spreading and current measures were insufficient to stop it.
TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan reported 333 nationally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Monday, the largest outbreak on the island since the start of the pandemic.
Local governments have ordered all schools in the capital to close for two weeks starting Tuesday. The large-scale school closures are a first for the island, which has otherwise been successful, keeping infections and deaths low. It has counted 2,017 confirmed cases and 12 deaths throughout the pandemic.
Of Monday’s new cases, 158 were in Taipei and 148 were found in neighboring New Taipei, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said at a press briefing Monday afternoon.
NEW DELHI – For the first time in weeks, daily cases in India have fallen below 300,000, continuing to decline as the country battles a fierce wave of COVID-19.
The health ministry said about 280,000 cases and 4,106 deaths have been confirmed in the past 24 hours. Both figures are almost certainly underestimated.
India’s overall immunization efforts are also in trouble. Since the country opened up vaccination to all adults this month, the pace of dosing has plunged, with many states saying they did not have enough stock to distribute. In the past month, cases have tripled and deaths have increased six times – but vaccinations have fallen 40%.
The southern state of Karnataka has suspended vaccinations for the 18-44 age group at government-run centers, and a number of states are considering getting vaccinated directly from abroad to fill a shortage interior. On Sunday, health officials said about 5 million doses would be sent to states this week.
India has the second-highest number of cases after the United States with more than 24 million confirmed infections and more than 270,000 deaths.
BEIJING – China is instituting new controls in a northeastern province where several new cases of COVID-19 have reportedly emerged.
China reported five new cases of local transmission on Monday, all in Liaoning province or suspected to be linked to its cases.
Checkpoints have been set up at toll plazas, airports and train stations in three Liaoning cities and travelers must have proof of a recent negative viral test, state media reported on Monday. Mass tests have been ordered in part of Yingkou, a port city with sea links to more than 40 countries.
China had largely eradicated domestic transmission of the coronavirus through public restrictions, contact tracing, mass testing and, increasingly, vaccinations. Health officials suspect the domestic cases have spread through contact with an imported case.
China has reported 90,872 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,636 deaths since the virus was detected in Wuhan in late 2019.