Germany has categorized individual regions in some 11 European countries as high-risk areas. Belgium and Iceland were on the list, while areas of the UK such as Wales and Northern Ireland were also included.
The French regions Pays de la Loire and Burgundy are now considered high-risk, along with various regions in Lithuania, Estonia, Ireland, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Romania.
Germany classifies an area as high-risk and issues a travel warning if the number of new coronavirus infections exceeds the mark of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days.
The warning is not a travel ban, but is intended to deter tourist travel and enables vacationers to cancel their bookings free of charge.
Germany also announced the lifting of its general travel warning for a total of 160 countries outside the EU. Going forward, each country will now be assessed individually.
Here’s a wrap of the main develoments elsewhere.
Germany has registered an increase in coronavirus infections of 2,503, bringing the country’s total to 291,722, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said.
The reported death toll rose by 12 to 9,500, the tally showed.
The data comes as Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged citizens to take care of each other and decried slipping standards on hygiene measures such as social-distancing and mask-wearing.
US airline giants American Airlines and United Airlines announced major layoffs as hopes for a bailout over the pandemic have faded.
Since the coronavirus took hold globally in March, US airlines have been grounding planes and delaying jet deliveries. Air travel remains at about only one-third of its level a year ago.
American and United airlines said they would begin furloughing 19,000 and 13,000 workers respectively. US carriers have said they do not expect a full recovery until a vaccine is widely available, which company executives have said may not be until late 2021.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, some 34 million workers lost their jobs before and during the coronavirus pandemic, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said.
The pandemic has caused a recession of “unprecedented magnitude and duration” in the region, which is the most affected in terms of hours worked and labor income, according to the report.
The International Monetary Fund has estimated a contraction of 9.4% in regional GDP in 2020, the ILO pointed out.
Cuba lifted a curfew and restrictions on movement within Havana, while leaving in place curbs on entering and leaving the capital zone.
Havana governor Reinaldo Zapata said in a speech on national television that the weakness of the economy led officials to ease up on the measures that were put in place in September.
Beaches and swimming pools are being reopened at 30% capacity. Havana Airport will remain closed for now. Bars and nightclubs will also remain closed for the moment.
Singapore will allow entry to travelers from Vietnam and Australia beginning next week. But the Asian nation will make an exception for Australia’s Victoria state, which is considered a coronavirus hotspot.
The city-state began allowing entries last month, as it welcomed visitors from Brunei and New Zealand, and is cautiously reopening its borders after a virus closure to help revive its airport, a key regional aviation hub.
Travelers must undergo a virus swab test upon arrival, travel on direct flights without transit and download a mobile app for contact tracing.
Singapore has managed to control its outbreak after it saw an upsurge due to infections among foreign workers living in packed dormitories. It has confirmed more than 57,000 COVID-19 infections with 27 deaths.
Australia has urged residents to help fill farm labor shortages ahead of the summer fruit picking season, as the coronavirus travel restrictions left the country without backpackers and seasonal workers, who usually do the job.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been promoting a number of incentives ahead of next week’s federal budget for young Australians and visa holders to head to regional areas.
Australia’s agriculture industry is facing a shortfall of roughly 26,000 workers over the next six months due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, according to an industry-commissioned report by consultancy firm Ernst and Young.
jcg/rt (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)
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