Promachonas: Countries around the world are reimposing lockdowns and implementing new health checks at their borders in an effort to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus before it spins even further out of control.
Starting Wednesday, all travellers arriving in Greece from a land border with Bulgaria were required to carry negative coronavirus test results issued in the previous 72 hours and translated into English. The new rules, which follow an increase in tourism-related COVID-19 cases, triggered an immediate drop in arrivals compared to recent days. Residents of Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, were warned on Wednesday to comply with lockdown regulations or face tougher restrictions. Melbourne’s 5 million people and part of the city’s semi-rural surroundings are a week into a new, six-week lockdown to contain a new outbreak there.
“The time for warnings, the time for cutting people slack, is over,” Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said. “Where we are is in a very serious and deadly position.”
The developments come with more than 13 million cases of coronavirus cases confirmed worldwide, and with over 578,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The actual numbers are thought to be far higher due to a number of reasons including limited testing.
In Serbia, which has been hit hard by a spike in infections and anti-government protests, a government crisis team expanded a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people from Belgrade to encompass the entire country.
Masks were also made mandatory in public spaces where there is no opportunity for 1.5 metres of distancing, such as in lines to enter shops and bus stations.
Renewed restrictions took effect in Hong Kong on Wednesday, with public gatherings limited to four people, restaurants restricted to takeout after 6 pm, and a one-week closure for gyms, karaoke bars, and selected other businesses. Masks were mandated on public transit for the first time, with the non-compliant being fined.
After a surge in daily infections beginning last month, Israel moved last week to reimpose restrictions, closing events spaces, live show venues, bars and clubs. It has imposed lockdowns on areas with high infection rates, which in some cases sparked protests from residents.
Officials warn that if case numbers don’t come down in the coming days, Israel will have no choice but to lock the entire country down again, as it did in the spring.