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Europe studies the progressive opening of borders to revive tourism

International Writing / Europe is preparing to open its internal borders closed due to the coronavirus, in an attempt to boost the economy and, in particular, the tourism sector, badly damaged worldwide by COVID-19.

In a continent where the tourism industry represents 10% of GDP and where summer is at hand with the consequent high season of the sector, the European Commission (EC) presented its recommendations to gradually reopen the internal borders of the community bloc.

Gradual reopening in Europe and with security protocols

According to the Brussels initiative, which follows the decisions on the matter already made by some countries, the de-escalation would be carried out in three phases and with safe corridors between countries with similar situations.

In the first, phase 0, the current phase, there are generalized movement restrictions between States. In 1, obstacles would begin to be removed and movement between countries under similar conditions would be guaranteed, in 2, all controls should be lifted and normality would be restored, always taking into account the epidemiological situation in each area.

In addition, the Commission recommends the use of a mask in all means of transport and that the safety distance is respected, as well as sanitary protocols for hotels and other accommodation.

Previously, France and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement not to require quarantines for those who transit between the two countries, while Spain will apply a 14-day quarantine from May 15 to travelers arriving from other countries.

Lifting of controls in Germany

Germany, for its part, will begin to lift border controls from this Friday, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel, gradually disappearing throughout the Schengen area of ​​free movement in Europe from June 15, provided that the situation of the pandemic he allows it.

Firstly, the controls will be practically canceled at the borders with Luxembourg and Denmark and with France, Austria and Switzerland, they will be progressively reduced until their total elimination, expected in June.

Spain and Italy will have to wait for a second phase, waiting for how their situation with the coronavirus will evolve, so airport controls will be maintained.

On the contrary, Poland will extend the controls in its demarcations with other EU countries until June 12, which means that the borders with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania can only be crossed by Polish and foreign citizens who meet certain requirements and by the designated steps.

United Kingdom begins de-escalation

The United Kingdom -with 33,186 deaths with coronavirus, 494 in the last twenty-four hours in hospitals, residences and homes-, more than 3,200 new infections – began the de-escalation, although the relief of the restrictions was limited to England, with the return to work of some sectors.

However, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have distanced themselves from the relaxation of the measures, considering the premature de-escalation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

As foreseen by the Government, schools will remain closed at least until June and the reopening of non-essential establishments, such as hairdressers and restaurants, will not be evaluated until July.

In the midst of de-escalation, Spain registered a stabilization of deaths from coronavirus, with 184 in the last twenty-four hours until 27,104, and also in new cases, with 439 infections (228,691 in total).

Italy, on the other hand, has registered a slight rise in deaths, with 195 in the last hours, the highest number in the last five days, to a total of 31,106, while total infections exceed 222,000 (888 more than yesterday ).

For its part, Belgium confirmed that it will enter phase 2 of de-escalation on Monday, with the partial reopening of schools, museums and hairdressing salons, the possibility of sports training in groups of up to 20 people outdoors, the installation of markets with a maximum 50 seats and the celebration of weddings and funerals with up to 30 attendees.

A badly damaged economy around the world

The coronavirus is having great effects on the economy worldwide and the immediate future does not look promising.

Thus, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) predicts that, on a planet largely paralyzed by the pandemic, a collapse in demand for crude oil of 9.1% in 2020, compared to the 6.87% forecast a month, although he believes that consumption will improve in the second half.

The US Federal Reserve (Fed, central bank) warns that the recovery could “take a while before gaining momentum” and points out that the extraordinary measures taken so far “may not be the final chapter”, despite which they did not contemplates the use of negative interest rates

Unemployment also climbs positions and the unemployment rate in the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rose four tenths in March to stand at 5.6% of the working population and it is feared that the data April reflect an unprecedented rise.

The number of unemployed in the 37 members of the OECD increased by 2.1 million people, to a total of 37 million, with women and young people aged 15 to 24 as the most affected and with Colombia and Spain as the countries with the highest increases in unemployment, more than one point to 12.2 percent in the first case and nine tenths in the second, up to 14.5%.

The UN also estimates that the world economy will contract this year by 3.2%, the largest decline since the Great Depression, with a drop of 5% in the case of developed economies, with collapses of 5.8% in the area. euro, 5.4% in the United Kingdom, 4.8% in the United States or 4.2% in Japan.

According to the UN, China – the country where the pandemic originated – will manage to close 2020 with growth, an increase of 1.7% in its economic production, although far from pre-crisis projections.

Long-term effects

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the new coronavirus can become an endemic virus and, therefore, “never leave”.

It has also indicated that, although human beings live an average of 5.5 years longer now than at the beginning of this century, as the global life expectancy went from 66.5 to 72 years, this and other advances could be reduced with the COVID-19.

And is that the effects of coronovirus are already evident among the population in many places around the world, especially among the most vulnerable sectors.

In Chile, thousands of residents of the neighborhoods with fewer resources eat daily thanks to the so-called “common pots” having lost their income.

In Russia, the second country in the world in infections after the United States, with Moscow as its epicenter, thousands of volunteers help doctors and health personnel every day to fight against the coronavirus, which has already infected more than 242,000 people (about 10,000 the last day).

And, meanwhile, the coronavirus has already reached Africa, after Lesotho confirmed its first contagion, a citizen who came from abroad.

In total, Africa, with South Africa as the most affected country, registers around 70,000 COVID-19 infections and some 2,400 deaths.

The WHO warns that, if the appropriate measures are not taken, deaths in Africa from the coronavirus could range between 83,000 and 190,000. (May 13, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)

(Automatic translation)

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