Coronavirus latest: Europe opens up for tourism | DW

– In Italy, Rome’s Colosseum has reopened to visitors, along with the leaning tower of Pisa

– The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 371,000

– Brazil’s total number of infections has surpassed 500,000, with 29,314 deaths

– In a bid to revive its ailing economy, South Africa partially lifts its coronavirus lockdown

All times in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT)

23:55 We’re wrapping up this blog now. For the latest updates, head over to Tuesday’s rolling coverage.

23:30 At least 200 formerly high-ranking politicians, researchers and health experts are calling for an early G20 summit to help poor countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 225 ex-politicians include former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, ex-UK Prime Ministers Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also among the signatories.

The group has called for a significant debt relief for poor countries and effective financial measures to support the countries dealing with poor health care. 

The “Group of 20” is being chaired by Saudi Arabia this year and is not scheduled to take place until the second half of November. 

The signatories calling for an early summit think that its current timing is too late considering the scale of the coronavirus crisis.

23:00 According to the largest review of studies on coronavirus disease transmission to date, physical distancing by at least one meter and the use of masks and eye protection are the best ways to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections. 

The review got together evidence from a total of 172 studies in 16 countries and the findings were published in The Lancet journal on Monday.

The findings aim to assist governments and health agencies, including those who have been given differing advice on measures, mainy due to limited information about the virus. 

“Our findings are the first to synthesize all direct information on COVID-19, SARS, and MERS, and provide the currently best available evidence on the optimum use of these common and simple interventions to help ‘flatten the curve,'” Holger Schünemann from McMaster University in Canada, who co-led the research, said. 

Researchers also found that frequent washing of hands and maintaining good hygiene were crucial, but noted that even all these measures combined cannot give full protection.

People should understand that “wearing a mask is not an alternative to physical distancing, eye protection or basic measures such as hand hygiene,” Derek Chu, an assistant professor at McMaster University who also co-led the research, added.

22:35 When we have a vaccine, how can we provide enough shots to inoculate everyone? Is there a difference between PCR tests and ELISA tests? DW’s science correspondent Derrick Williams answers questions about the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus questions answered

22:20 There is no evidence to support the claims that the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic is losing potency, World Health Organization experts and scientists have said. 

They were responding to assertions made by  Professor Alberto Zangrillo, head of intensive care at the San Raffaele Hospital in Italy, who had told the state television on Sunday that the new virus “clinically no longer exists”.

WHO epidemiologists and many other experts have refuted Zangrillo’s claims, saying that they were not supported by scientific evidence and there is no data to show that the coronavirus is changing.

“In terms of transmissibility, that has not changed, in terms of severity, that has not changed,” WHO epidemiologist Maria  Van Kerkhove told the media.

Zangrillo, a high-profile doctor in Italy, is also the personal doctor of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He said his claims were backed by a study conducted by Massimo Clementi, a fellow scientist, which is set to be published next week. 

“We have never said that the virus has changed, we said that the interaction between the virus and the host has definitely changed,” Zangrillo told Reuters. 

Experts from the likes of Johns Hopkins University, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, George Washington University and Northwell Health have also responded to Zangrillo’s comments saying that they were not aware of any evidence showing that the new coronavirus had changed.

21:30 An increased use of antibiotics in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic will strengthen bacterial resistance and lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond, the World Health Organization said on Monday. 

A “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming increasingly resistant to the medicines traditionally used to treat them, director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates that will impact the burden of disease and deaths during the pandemic and beyond,” Tedros said during a virtual press briefing.  

The UN Health agency has issued guidelines to medics that are aimed at combating antimicrobial resistance. These include not providing antibiotic therapy or prophylaxis to patients who have mild COVID-19 and those with moderate illness but no clinical suspicion of a bacterial infection.

“It’s clear that the world is losing its ability to use critically important antimicrobial medicines,” Tedros said, calling the threat of antimicrobial resistance “one of the most urgent challenges of our time”.

21:14 In Turkey, cafes, restaurants, swimming pools, parks, gyms and museums are allowed to open again. As the country takes a big step towards a so-called “new normal,” one of Istanbul’s world-famous tourist attractions has also returned to business.

21:00 British lawmakers are set to vote on Tuesday to decide whether to put an end to the remote voting system and parliament-by-video conference that had till now allowed scrutiny of the government’s coronavirus response. 

In April, 650 lawmakers of the House of Commons were allowed to question ministers via video link. A month later, the house set aside centuries of tradition to cast its first remote vote.

The measures were supposed to be temporary and the ministers had said that they should be scrapped once the parliament returned from a break on June 2, adding that the system did not allow sufficient scrutiny and slowed the processing of legislation. 

Tuesday’s vote, that will decide on a new system of voting, will see lawmakers line up two meters apart. The queue is expected to extend from the debating chamber and into an 11th century hall where kings and queens have lain in state.

Political opponents have criticized the end of the hybrid system, saying that it will take away the Right to Vote from those who cannot attend because of medical reasons. They say it could also spread the coronavirus infection as lawmakers would travel in and out of London. 

Some members of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party want to retain a few elements of the hybrid parliament. There are concerns that the vote could spark a rebellion within the party. 

Meanwhile, the government is putting its weight behind ending the special measures. 

20:54 Tunisia will reopen its land, sea and air borders on June 27, the Tunis government has announced. People will also be allowed to move freely between cities again from Thursday onwards.

The North African country hopes the measures will rescue its severely hit tourism industry, after forecasting its economy will shrink up to 4.3% this year – the steepest decline since 1956.

Tunisia’s tourism industry could lose $1.4 billion (€1.26 billion) and 400,000 jobs this year due to the coronavirus crisis.

20:45 The Czech Republic has opened up its borders and is further rolling back on coronavirus restrictions. Czechs are now allowed to travel to most European countries without proving they are COVID-19 negative upon return. 

“We can start travelling around Europe from June 15,” Health Minister Adam Vojtech tweeted 

The Eastern European country has 9,286 confirmed cases of the virus and 321 deaths. The Czech government began to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions in April. Vojtech said theatres and cinemas would also be allowed to ease social distancing measures starting next week. He also announced that the maximum number of people allowed at mass events will be raised to 500 as of June 8. 

The Czech government considers Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Finland and the Baltics as the “safest” countries during the global pandemic and has listed Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain as countries with elevated risk. Britain and Sweden have been named as countries of high risk.

20:30 German beaches were forced to implement crowd control after too many people headed to sunbathe on a sunny public holiday. On the island of Sylt in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein police tried to break up crowds while also putting in place extra portable toilets.

In the nearby towns of Haffkrug and Scharbeutz temporary bans were put in place on day tourists, German broadcaster NDR reported. Parking lots had a maximum capacity of 70%: once this capacity was reached, more cars were diverted from coming near the beaches.

Meanwhile in mountainous Bavaria, some hiking trails were closed off by authorities who were scared of large crowds. Police reported a large number of cars parked illegally in national parks and protected areas.

20:15 A specially-chartered flight has transported several German police trainers and one soldier from Afghanistan back to Germany after they were infected with coronavirus. The health system in Afghanistan has been struggling to cope with the pandemic.

The Luftwaffe, the German air force, charted two planes that landed in Cologne early in the hours of Monday morning. The personnel went straight into quarantine.

19:47 Italy announced the smallest daily number of new coronavirus infections since February, the country’s Civil Protection Agency said in a statement.

The latest figures gives a glimmer of hope two days before the scheduled reopening of internal boundaries as well as borders with EU countries and the Schengen area.

Italy’s official tally of new cases increased by 178 in 24 hours, bringing the total to 233,197. The daily number of new cases was 516 Friday, 416 Saturday and 355 Sunday. The number of deaths in the past 24 hours was also low compared to the recent average with 60 fatalities registered throughout the country for a total of 33,475 deaths, while the number of people in intensive care, currently 424, continues to drop.

The northern region of Lombardy remains the most affected region with 16,131 deaths and 89,018 infections, but it registered only 50 new cases on Monday from a total population of approximately 10 million.  

Italy has been relaxing its lockdown since the beginning of May, with restrictions on movement and business activities easing gradually. 

Also on Monday, Italy released a controversial mobile app to trace coronavirus infections in four regions despite widespread criticisms over privacy violations. 

19:17 Brazilian soccer club Vasco da Game has said 16 of its players had tested positive for the coronavirus with a further three already recovered from the disease. 

The announcement comes a day before the state of Rio de Janeiro’s soccer clubs are due to resume training after a two-month coronavirus shutdown.

According to the Rio-based club, the 16 players – out of 43 tested – would be put in isolation.

“This only proves that we are taking great action, identifying infection in our athletes as quickly as possible,” Vasco da Gama said in a statement. “This allows us to stop the virus being spread.”

Rio soccer club players will be allowed to undergo physical examinations and take individual training from Monday but contract training is still not authorized. 

The state championship was suspended in mid-March. 

Other states in the country must still decide when soccer clubs can restart full training.  

Brazil has registered over 514,800 coronavirus cases with over 29,000 deaths – the fourth highest in the global pandemic after the US, the UK and Italy.

18:42 Nigeria’s presidential task force for COVID-19 announced a series of relaxations on coronavirus restrictions from Tuesday onwards, including on places of worship.

Boss Mustapha, Nigeria’s most senior civil servant, also said that the northern city of Kano will start easing its lockdown measures as of Tuesday.

“Nigeria has not reached the peak of confirmed cases,”
Mustapha told reporters.

Nigeria – Africa’s most populous country and where both Christianity and Islam are widely practiced – has registered 10,162 confirmed
cases and 287 deaths.

Another official said domestic flights could possibly resume from June 21, adding that from Tuesday a national curfew would also be shortened to
10 p.m. to 4 a.m. from its current 8 p.m to 6 a.m.

Sani Aliyu, the national coordinator for the task force assigned to combat COVID-19, said Nigeria’s financial sector will also be able to resume normal working hours.

Interstate travel is still forbidden unless for essential purposes including work-related reasons. Face masks are still mandatory in public.

18:05 Albania has reopened its land borders but large-scale activities are still banned until June 23. 

After 79 days of coronavirus restrictions, people in the Balkan country are now allowed to move around freely.

Also on Monday, the country – heavily dependent on tourism – opened its beaches with hotels, allowing ethnic Albanians to visit for tourism purposes.

Sports matches such as soccer will resume this week, but still without fans. Parks, gyms and internet cafes also opened on Monday but hygiene practices are still in place. 

Cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, mass public transport, swimming pools, weddings, conferences and public hearings won’t reopen until June 23.  

Despite a spike in daily infections last week, the situation was “stable”, a health official announced.

With a population of 2.8 million, Albania has reported 1,143 coronavirus infections and 33 deaths. 

People are disinfected before entering a market in Tirana

17:42 Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has announced an inquiry into the country’s handling of the pandemic before the summer.

The probe comes amid rising criticism from opposition parties on both the right and left. 

Lofven had previously said a special commission would be appointed once the pandemic is over but he and his Social Democrats party – which rule in coalition with the Greens – have faced mounting pressure to take action sooner. 

Read more: Sweden launches probe into handling of pandemic

Sweden has lost more than 4,000 people to the pandemic, with roughly half of them having been nursing home residents.

Testing in Sweden has also been significantly lower than in other Scandinavian countries – reaching only a third of the
government’s target of 100,000 tests per week.

While the mortality rate over the course of the coronavirus outbreak has been lower than in some countries which had stricter measurements to contain the virus, Sweden had the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths in Europe relative to the size of the population through parts of May.

The Nordic country has made global headlines for its more liberal approach to handling the coronavirus. Sweden has relied on voluntary measures based on hygiene and social distancing practices and kept most businesses, restaurants and schools open even during the peak of the pandemic.

16:52 Despite a surge in COVID-19 infections, the Indian government plans to lift lockdown measures, which were imposed to contain the virus spread.

The Indian Interior Ministry said the lockdown would be extended in high-risk “containment areas” until June 30. Read more from DW’s Asia desk.

India has so far recorded over 190,000 coronavirus cases. The country registered its highest single-day tally on Sunday with 8,380 new infections, according to figures released by Johns Hopkins University.

16:15 The coronavirus crisis has severely impacted the treatment and care of people suffering from other diseases worldwide, according to a survey by the WHO. 

The survey showed that 31% of the countries had to restrict or completely suspend care for acute cardiovascular problems, 42% cut care in cancer patients, 49% in diabetes patients and more than half were unable to maintain care for people with high blood pressure. 

Read more: Coronavirus severely disrupts cancer, diabetes care – WHO

Rehabilitation programs have been cut back in 63% of countries while prevention programs such as breast cancer examinations were also affected. 

Health appointments were mostly canceled due to the reallocation of medical workers to the frontline to deal with COVID-19 patients or due to lockdown restrictions. 

“It’s vital that countries find innovative ways to ensure that essential services for non-communicable diseases continue, even as they fight COVID-19,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The survey also found that cuts in healthcare for non-coronavirus related diseases were more severe in low-income countries.
WHO estimates that 41 million people die from non-communicable diseases each year, making up 71% of deaths globally.

15:50 Only one in two Germans would be vaccinated against coronavirus if a vaccine became available, according to a survey released by pollster YouGov. A further one in four would perhaps get the vaccine, while one in five of the 2,056 respondents said they would not be vaccinated.

Read more: Survey: Half of Germans would vaccinate against coronavirus

Germans are generally divided about the need for vaccination against coronavirus: While 44% of those surveyed advocated for it, 40% opposed it. No vaccine against the virus is currently available, while experts believe that it could take over a year for one to be safely developed and approved. The government has also stressed that when a vaccine is available, it will not be made compulsory. 

According to the German Infection Protection Act, mandatory vaccinations cannot be imposed by the federal government but can only be decided jointly by the federal and state governments to protect “threatened sections of the population.”

15:23 Japan has begun conducting blood tests to find out what percentage of its population has developed antibodies – an indicator of past coronavirus infections.
The Japanese health ministry is carrying out tests on 10,000 randomly selected people aged 20 or older in Tokyo and Osaka – the country’s two most infected prefectures. Around 3,000 people will be tested in each area with the results expected at the end of June. 

Due to its lack of testing capability and a lack of resources, Japan as until recently begun limiting access to testing in an attempt to decrease the number of fatalities.

14:45 Here’s the latest from around Europe:

The first day of June has seen lockdown restrictions eased in a number of European countries, with residents from Athens to Amsterdam flocking to museums and bars for the first time in months. Many countries are eager to kick off the tourist season on Pentecost Monday, a public holiday in several European countries.

In Italy, Rome’s Colosseum has reopened to visitors, along with the Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel. Visitors will have to maintain strict social distancing and crowd control limits the amount of guests.

Tourists have lunch at a restaurant by the Grand Canal in Venice

“We are reopening a symbol. A symbol of Rome, a symbol of Italy,” said Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum’s archaeological park. Tourism accounts for 13% of the Italian economy. Italy was among the first countries to put a strict lockdown in place, and has over 230,000 confirmed cases while 33,415 people have died.

The Netherlands celebrated a public holiday by heading back to bars and beaches. New rules allow bars and restaurants to serve up to 30 people inside, but social distancing must be observed and no reservations are compulsory.

 Concerns were raised about the risk of overcrowding at beaches as thousands went to enjoy the sun. Museums also reopened. The Netherlands has over 46,000 confirmed cases and nearly 6,000 people have died.

In the United Kingdom, social distancing restrictions were eased and some elementary school classes returned to the classroom for the first time in over two months. Health experts have cast doubt on the government’s decision to speed up the easing of the restrictions as cases continue to rise every day and the R number stays close to 1.

 Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that those at high risk who have been told to “shield” can also go outside to meet family and friends for the first time in over two months. The UK has over 38,000 dead, the highest number in Europe and second-highest in the world.

 

Greece, shortly after confirming that they will welcome summer tourists from a number of European countries, have lifted lockdown measures for hotels, campsites, public swimming pools and golf courses. Elementary school children also returned to the classroom.

The Mediterranean country has fared relatively well during the pandemic with less than 3,000 cases and 175 dead. However, the economy has taken a beating owing to lockdown restrictions and authorities are hoping that the economy will get a boost from the lucrative summer tourists trade.

After declaring itself the first European country to be “coronavirus-free,” Montenegro opened up the border to foreign tourists on Monday. The government published a list of 131 countries, mostly with relatively low numbers of coronavirus cases, whose citizens can visit the Balkan state. Montenegro’s government said on Twitter that tourists from Western Europe began arriving straight after midnight.

Montenegro has had 324 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 9 people have died, with no active cases reported in the country for several weeks.

In Spain, the government has released figures showing that there were zero international visitors during April. In comparison, in April 2019, 7 million tourists spent €7 billion ($7.9 billion). Unlike many other European countries, Spain is waiting until July to reopen its borders, but authorities are encouraging Spaniards to take domestic vacations.

Spain’s economy is expected to shrink by 9% and unemployment to reach 19% without the tourist trade. The infection rate continues to drop in the country that was once the epicenter of Europe’s pandemic. Almost 240,000 cases have been confirmed in Spain and over 27,000 people are dead.

14:15 In a bid to revive its ailing economy, South Africa has started partially lifting its coronavirus lockdown, letting people travel to work, worship services and shopping, and allowing mines and factories to run at full capacity.

The measures, which have been in place since the end of March, have pummeled the country’s economy, which was already in recession before the coronavirus.

“We are taking a gradual approach, guided by the advice of our scientists and led by the realities on the ground,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement.

The country’s central bank expects the economy to contract by 7% this year. However, some have criticized the move to ease lockdown measures as being too hasty. 

Meanwhile, although classrooms for the last years of primary and secondary school are reopening, unions have urged staff to stay away, saying that schools are not equipped to enforce proper social distancing or effectively manage an outbreak. 

South Africa has recorded 32,683 cases of coronavirus, with a death toll of 683.

South Africa moves to level 3 lockdown

13:35 Hundreds of people in the Afghan capital of Kabul have been rushing to a private hospital for an alleged cure for the coronavirus.

A controversial local herbalist – only known by the name Alkozai – claims to have cured 38,000 people using a product not yet approved by health authorities. Many – including local politicians – have endorsed the herbalist and his product on social media. 

“We have taken his drug to the lab and will share the result after it has been analyzed,” said Kabul health director Khushal Nabizada, adding that claims of the product’s healing abilities were untrue.

13:12: An outbreak of 36 coronavirus cases, including one serious case, in the German city of Göttingen in Lower Saxony was traced back to a hookah bar that should not have been open, city officials confirmed.

Read more: Coronavirus outbreak traced to German hookah bar

The shisha bar had entertained more than 300 people before it was forced to close. Whether people were smoking on the same pipes is still unclear.

“The bar was closed and now a fine is being considered,” city spokeswoman Cordula Dankert said.

Many of the infected people lived in a housing complex in northern Göttingen. The entire complex and its more than 700 residents have been placed under quarantine.

12:30 For the first time in three years, Hong Kong has barred the annual Tiananmen Square vigil from taking place, citing coronavirus concerns.

The vigil has taken place on June 4 every year since 1990 to commemorate a 1989 government crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen square. But police rejected a permit request from the Hong Kong Alliance because the event would “constitute a major threat to the life and health of the general public.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam recently extended social distancing measure to June 4, a move organizers have criticized as “political suppression.”

The banned vigil also comes as mainland China has proposed a Hong Kong security law aimed at banning suppression, subversion and foreign interference.

11:02 German President Frank Walter Steinmeier praised German children for their discipline during the coronavirus pandemic. “You couldn’t visit friends and relatives, you couldn’t go outside and play, you couldn’t go out into the countryside, daycares and schools were closed,” Steinmeier said on the German children’s channel Kika.

“I think it’s great that you stuck to the rules so well in spite of all that, and for that, I say thank you very much.”

Children talk about with they miss during lockdown

10:48 Iran on Monday said it had almost 3,000 new COVID-19 infections, its highest daily count in two months. The latest figures come as Health Minister Saeed Namaki said the country risks a second wave if people ignore guidance and social distancing rules.

“The outbreak is not over yet and at any moment it may come back stronger than before,” Namaki said in a news conference.

The Islamic republic has been one of the hardest-hit Middle Eastern nations by the pandemic, reporting 154,445 total infections and 7,878 deaths. The government eased lockdown measures in April after a decline in infection and death rates, but May saw an uptick in infections that the government has said was caused by increased testing.

07:36 Russia reported 9,035 new cases of coronavirus, and 162 deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 414,878 and death toll to 4,855, according to official figures. That marks a decrease of 233 reported cases and an increase of 24 deaths when compared to the day prior.

Although Russia has the world’s third-highest case count after the US and Brazil, Moscow, the epicenter of the country’s virus outbreak, is still going ahead with an easing of lockdown measures this week. Shopping malls and parks are reopening in the city, while residents are now allowed to leave their homes for non-essential reasons for the first time since March 30. Previously, Muscovites could only leave their homes to shop for food, walk dogs or travel to essential jobs with a permit.

Residents of the capital are not seeing their full range of freedoms returned to them, however. As a two-week test measure, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said people will be allowed to take walks according to a staggered schedule, based on their home address.

“Regular walks are allowed between 9am and 9pm but no more than three times a week – twice on weekdays and once on a weekend,” Sobyanin said in his blog. People can now jog or exercise between 5am and 9am, but must wear masks, according to the new rules.

Additionally, mass gatherings are still banned until the city-wide quarantine, which can still be extended, officially expires on June 14.

06:30 Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in a said he has tested positive for coronavirus.

“I didn’t have any symptoms, I decided to take a test as I was planning to visit the frontline,” he said, adding that his whole family was also infected.

Armenia, which has a population of 3 million, has reported 9,282 cases and 131 deaths due to coronavirus.

05:35 The Netherlands has lifted several of its coronavirus-related restrictions, including opening schools, theaters, museums, restaurants and cafes. 

Restaurants, theaters and cafes are only able to accommodate up to 30 people for the time being, while patrons must maintain a distance of 1.5 meters. The next phase of reopening is expected to take place on July 1. The Netherlands has 46,645 confirmed cases and a death toll of 5,975.

04:54 Despite months of strict lockdown restrictions, Peru reported 8,800 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, setting its highest daily record for new cases. The country’s death toll is now at 4,506, which is the third-highest in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico.

The spike is concentrated around the capital Lima, and has seen Peru pegged as the new regional hotspot of the disease.

Meanwhile, neighboring Chile reported 57 new fatalities — a record daily death count that brings the total to 1,054. Health authorities have also reported a sharp increase in cases over the past two weeks.

“We are facing the largest pandemic of the past 100 years,” said Deputy Health Minister Paula Daza. “It is a tremendous challenge; we are living very difficult times in our country.”

In Santiago, where 80% of the virus cases were reported, 96% of emergency room beds were taken, officials said.

04:33 Turkey has reopened restaurants, cafes and other establishments, and lifted inter-city travel restrictions as the country eases coronavirus-related measures.

Under the newly eased restrictions, restaurants, cafes, gyms, swimming pools, beaches, parks, libraries, museums, daycare centers and kindergartens are resuming operations. However, restrictions on the movements of people aged over 65 and under 18 will continue.

The government has been gradually easing restrictions over the past few weeks, as authorities say the outbreak is now under control. Turkey has almost 164,000 confirmed cases, with a death toll of 4,540.

03:56 Several coronavirus-related restrictions have been lifted in New South Wales (NSW), the Australian state with the highest number of cases.

Restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs and cafes will be allowed to host up to 50 people at a time, while some restrictions on non-essential travel within state borders were also lifted. Additionally, the number of people allowed to attend weddings and funerals went up to 20 and 50 respectively.

Libraries, art galleries, museums, zoos and parks are also reopening.

“Today, we are opening up regional NSW for travel,” said NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Twitter.

However, public social distancing rules will continue to apply, with police conducting patrols and random health checks to monitor adherence to the regulations. “As restrictions ease, it’s absolutely critical to come forward and get tested even with the mildest symptoms,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejeklian said on Twitter.

Australia has recorded 7,195 cases of coronavirus, with the most — 3,098 — in NSW, which also saw almost half of the country’s 103 fatalities.

03:40 North Korea is set to reopen schools this month as coronavirus restrictions are eased across the world. 

“New semesters will begin at elementary, middle and high schools nationwide from early June, and quarantine measures have been put in place for the reopening of nurseries and kindergartens,” Yonhap news agency reported, citing North Korean state radio.

“Education authorities have been asked to furnish thermometers and hand sanitisers at every gate of schools and classrooms and offices, while workers at schools and nurseries have been advised to stick to anti-virus principles,” the report added.

While there have been no official confirmed cases of coronavirus in North Korea, Pyongyang has imposed strict restrictions and placed thousands of people in isolation. However, analysts fear that there may be a large number of cases that weren’t reported and that North Korea’s health system may not be equipped to deal with a major outbreak.

03:17 Hong Kong has reported its first locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 in more than two weeks, according to the island’s Centre for Health Protection. The infections involve a 34-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man, neither of whom had a travel history during the virus’ incubation or infection period.

The new cases have raised concerns over coronavirus spreading in Hong Kong as its government eases lockdown restrictions. There have been 1,085 infections so far on the island, with four deaths. 

Hong Kong last reported a locally transmitted case on May 14.

02:29 Germany has reported 333 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 181,815, according to the latest figures from the Robert Koch Institute. There have been 8,511 COVID-19 deaths in Germany.

01:38 China has registered 16 new cases of the virus, the highest daily increase in close to three weeks. The country had reported only two cases a day earlier.

The jump in numbers has been linked to imported cases. Eleven of the 16 cases were reported in Sichuan province and linked to an incoming flight from Egypt. The flight also had six asymptomatic cases, which are not considered confirmed COVID-19 infections in China.

Coronavirus fears: Flying back to China

00:25 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro met crowds of supporters outside the government palace in the capital, Brasilia, even as the country registered over half a million cases of the virus. 

Despite having the second-largest caseload of the virus in the world, Brazil has been deeply divided in terms of response. Supporters of the president chanted “myth! Myth! myth!” in Brasilia, in line with Bolsonaro’s dismissal of the pandemic.

At the same time, hundreds of demonstrators stepped out to protest the president’s inaction in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. Local police said they used tear gas to disperse the crowds when groups for and against the president came close to clashing with each other.

The anti-Bolsonaro march was the largest demonstration against the president since Brazil became a virus hotspot. However, supporters of the president have been stepping out each week to back his demands for easing coronavirus-related restrictions in the country.

Bolsonaro met supporters on horseback in Brasilia on Sunday

00:00 You can catch up on Sunday’s updates here

see/dr  (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real-time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information.

Germany’s national statistics are compiled by its public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These figures depend on data transmission from state and local levels and are updated around once a day, which can lead to deviation from JHU.

Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. Sign up to receive it directly here.

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