Coronavirus digest: Germany warns against ′party holidays′ after Spain travel warning | News | DW | 16.08.2020
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Coronavirus digest: Germany warns against 'party holidays' after Spain travel warning

Health Minister Jens Spahn has defended the decision to force Germans returning from mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing. Find out more about other key developments.

Europe

German Health Minister Jens Spahn has warned people against "party holidays" as he defended the government's decision to designate nearly all of Spain a high-risk area. Speaking to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, Spahn said that he knows "how much Germans love Spain as a vacation destination. But the numbers there are rising quickly, too quickly."

"Whoever goes to Spain despite this warning should protect themselves and others while on holiday," he said. "Party holidays are irresponsible in this pandemic."

Germany has labeled almost all of Spain, including the island of Mallorca, as a high-risk zone. Only the Canary Islands, off the coast of North Africa, are exempt. Travelers returning from high-risk areas face a coronavirus test or two weeks' compulsory quarantine. 

Read more: German tourists face coronavirus quarantine after Mallorca holidays

Russia has said the Gamaleya research institute has produced the first batch of its coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine was the first in the world to be approved, but scientists and the World Health Organization have voiced skepticism about its safety, saying further checks should be carried out.

President Vladimir Putin, who announced the vaccine's approval on Tuesday, said the vaccine was safe and that one of his own daughters had been injected with it.

Face mask rules were expanded in parts of Paris on Saturday as French health officials stepped up measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Champs-Elysees Avenue and the area around the Louvre Museum are among a number of zones where face masks will be mandatory. Increased police checks in the French capital will occur to ensure citizens are following the guidelines, while bars and restaurants could be forced to close if social distancing and other restrictions are not adhered to.

Americas

The United States Postal Service has warned 46 states and the District of Columbia that it cannot be certain all votes cast by mail for the November presidential election will arrive in time, according to a report from The Washington Post. The postal service is anticipating an unprecedented number of ballots to be cast by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez has announced an extension of restrictions until August 30, recognizing there was a "worrying" upward trend in cases across "the entire country." The lockdown restrictions will stay the same in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area while measures will be tightened elsewhere.

Mexico's assistant health secretary said he believes the country has reached its peak in terms of coronavirus cases. Hugo Lopez-Gatell had previously wrongly forecast that infections would peak in May and June, but on Friday he said the country had reached "a maximum point in the curve." Despite the positive prediction, he cautioned that second waves would continue occurring around the world for some time. "This is a phenomenon that is going to be with us in the whole world for several years," he said.

Watch video 02:48

Mexico's coronavirus crisis-driven evictions

Africa

South Africa has posted a significant fall in crime, including sexual assaults, during the first three months of its lockdown, the country's police minister announced. The latest quarterly statistics showed criminal activity dropping by up to 40% between April and June, in comparison with the same period last year.

jsi/stb (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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