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Parisians at cafes and restaurants in summer
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Coronavirus digest: France scrambles after record case spike

September 25, 2020

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a series of new restrictions, including shutting of bars and restaurants in some cities. Business owners and local politicians have opposed these actions.


The French government has imposed new restrictions in major cities after France reported a new record surge in daily cases.

According to statistics from Public Health France, 16,096 people tested positive for COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, the biggest one-day jump.

President Emmanuel Macron announced a series of measures to curb the spread, including the closure of all bars and restaurants in Marseille, and shorter opening hours for Paris and other cities.

Meanwhile, hundreds of restaurant and bar owners protested in the southern city of Marseille against new shutdown orders, warning that the move could force them to close permanently. 


Austria has announced new measures ahead of the start of the ski season, including a 10 p.m. curfew in the tourist states of Tirol, Vorarlberg and Salzburg. Kurz pointed out that skiing, shopping, dining, wellness and culture events would still be available despite the pandemic.

However, visitors would not be able to take part in the popular apres-ski parties, which involve dancing, drinking, and socializing once skiing is done.

Britain recorded a record number of daily infections, with 6,634 new cases on Thursday. A second wave of infections has gripped the country, but officials said the level of testing is much higher than the first wave.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said during an interview, "We estimate that it's under 10,000 people a day getting the disease. That's too high, but it's still much lower than in the peak." Britain has seen the highest death toll in Europe.

The risk of air travelers catching the virus on a passenger aircraft are "very marginal" provided that proper health measures are applied, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency said, adding that only seven out of three million passengers on flights in recent weeks showed symptoms of the virus while on board.


A Brazilian football club, Flamengo, is trying to postpone a league game after 16 players tested positive for COVID-19. The club was previously pushing for an early reopening. 

Flamengo's vice president for legal affairs, Rodrigo Dunshee, said he hoped the Brazilian football confederation will agree to postpone Sunday's Brazilian championship game against Palmeiras. In June, Flamengo had joined President Jair Bolsonaro in reopening local football leagues. 

Rio di Janeiro's famous Carnival has become the latest global event to be canceled due to the pandemic. The event, held in February every year, is held before the Christian religious observance of lent. It attracts around 2 million people per day. 

"We came to the conclusion that the event had to be postponed. We just can't do it in February. The samba schools won't have the time or financial and organizational resources to be ready for February," Jorge Castanheira, the president of the group that organizes the event


As the threat of the virus recedes, China will start allowing foreigners holding certain types of visas and residence permits to return. Foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas and residence permits for work, personal matters and family reunions will be permitted to enter China without needing to apply for new visas, starting Monday. 

Those returning must follow a 14-day quarantine and other measures to contain the spread. 

The Asia-Pacific region has been the worst affected by the global downturn in tourism due to the pandemic, according to data from the United Nations tourism body. 

International arrivals have dropped by 72%, and arrivals in June were down 99% year-on-year. Countries imposed travel bans as the pandemic worsened in order to contain the spread of the virus.

China, Japan, and South Korea have been the worst affected, as these countries had suspended all but essential travel. Southeast Asian countries, which heavily rely on tourism for their economy, saw arrivals fall 64%. 

India's daily number of cases is declining, with recoveries exceeding new cases this week. India reported 86,052 new cases and 87,374 new recoveries in the past 24 hours. Less than 1 million people have active infections, but India is still on track to become the pandemic's worst-hit country in upcoming months. 

tg/stb (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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