Germany has seen a significant drop in its seven-day coronavirus incidence rate, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease prevention said on Thursday.

The rate is a measurement of the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period.

The latest figure from the RKI was 119, making it the lowest value since November 1 but still off from the government’s goal of 50.

The incidence rate has fallen consistently over the past 10 days, after reaching a peak of 197.6 on December 22.

Germany is currently under a nationwide lockdown that has seen schools, non-essential shops and businesses, including gyms and sports centers closed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of the country’s 16 states agreed on Tuesday to extend the lockdown until 14 February and brought in still stricter measures in a bid to bring infection numbers under control.

Asia and Oceania

China will impose coronavirus testing requirements for the Lunar New Year holiday season. Tens of millions of people are expected to travel during this time, despite authorities urging people to stay home amid an upsurge in cases.  

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will get a coronavirus jab during the second phase of the country’s inoculation campaign, broadcaster NDTV reported on Thursday.

Many states are struggling to meet immunization targets in part due to fears over possible side-effects.

Indonesia will start rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine to the general public between late April and May, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin announced.

Care workers in the country are currently receiving vaccines. Public workers and senior citizens are next in line.

Sri Lanka will begin welcoming tourists again for the first time in 10 months, authorities announced. Visitors will have to show a negative coronavirus test upon entry and remain in a “travel bubble” during their stay.

Australia will also require travelers to show a negative coronavirus test upon entry to the country, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Thursday. New Zealand and some Pacific Islands will be exempt from the rule. Australia has reported no new COVID-19 deaths for the fourth day in a row. 

Coronavirus testing will be mandatory in China ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday season

Middle East and Africa

Lebanon will be the first country to benefit from a special fund set up by the World Bank to finance vaccination programs. The country will receive $34 million (€28 million) in total.

South Africa will pay over the odds for its coronavirus vaccines, local newspaper Business Day reported on Thursday.

It is set to pay $5.25 (€4.33) per dose for COVID-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute of India (SII) —  one of several manufacturers licensed by AstraZeneca to make its COVID-19 vaccine.

By comparison, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and France negotiated a price of around $2.50 per shot for 300 million doses.

Europe

Turkey has slowed the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations after inoculating 1 million in its first week. The speed of the roll-out will vary depending on age group and mobility, the program’s coordinator said.

Portugal said late on Wednesday that a mutated COVID-19 variant, first detected in Britain, was spreading rapidly across the country. Authorities estimate it could account for 60% of all reported coronavirus cases in three weeks. 

The daily cases in Portugal increased to a record of 14,647 infections on Wednesday putting a strain on the healthcare system.

On Friday, Portugal imposed further restrictions on the lockdown, shutting down all non-essential services.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Tourists allowed back into Sri Lanka – under conditions

Ten months after the border closure, international tourists can travel to Sri Lanka again. As confirmed by officials on Monday (Jan 18), travelers will be able to re-enter the island from Jan. 21 if they comply with strict security regulations, present a negative PCR test and stay in a quarantine hotel for 14 days.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Pompeii reopens to visitors

Despite extended coronavirus restrictions in Italy, as of Monday (Jan 18), museums and exhibitions in some regions will be able to reopen. This rule applies to the so-called Yellow Zones, where the coronavirus infection situation is less tense. Among others, the Archaeological Park in Pompeii is again able to receive visitors because it is located in the yellow region of Campania.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Despite pandemic, skiers rush to German resorts

It’s snowing in the Alps and the lower German mountain ranges. Despite all appeals, people are drawn outdoors. In many places, the perfect winter sports conditions are leading to kilometer-long traffic jams, overcrowded parking lots and full slopes, like here in Winterberg. Many municipalities can no longer control the rush and are moving to seal off their ski areas.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Australians allowed quarentine-free travel to New Zealand again from 2021

New Zealand is setting up a “travel bubble” with neighboring Australia. After months of border closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand will once again allow tourists from Australia to enter the country without quarantine requirements in the New Year. New Zealanders have been able to travel to Australia again since October without having to go into quarantine.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism After an eight-month break Aida Cruises launches cruise again

On Saturday (December 5) the first Aida cruise ship is scheduled to leave for a one-week trip to the Canary Islands. The ship, designed for 3300 passengers, will reportedly be 50 percent full. All passengers will need to provide a negative coronavirus test, no more than 72 hours old. On board, strict hygiene and distancing rules apply, and only guided shore excursions will be possible.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Australian airline to introduce obligatory vaccination

Australian airline Qantas wants to introduce compulsory vaccination for intercontinental flights. “We will require international travelers to be vaccinated before we allow them on board,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce stated. The general terms and conditions would be adjusted accordingly. Whether this will also be a requirement for domestic flights has not yet been decided.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Hong Kong and Singapore to launch ‘travel bubble’

Both cities will launch a ‘travel bubble’ on November 22, which will allow people to move quarantine free in each direction, their governments announced on Wednesday (Nov 11), in a rare piece of good news for the pandemic-battered tourism industry. A quota of 200 residents from each city will be able to travel on one daily bubble flight to the other.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Machu Picchu is open again

Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca city in the Peruvian Andes mountains, has reopened almost eight months after it was closed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Peruvian authorities organized an Inca ritual to mark the reopening. To allow for distancing, a maximum of 675 tourists per day are allowed to enter the old Inca city. That is less than a third of the normal number allowed.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Rio cancels its famous carnival parade for the first time in a century

Rio de Janeiro’s famous annual Carnival spectacle will not go ahead in February. Organizers said the spread of the coronavirus in Brazil made it impossible to safely hold parades which with some seven million people celebrating are a cultural mainstay, tourism magnet and, for many, a source of livelihood. Brazil has the second highest death rate in the world after the United States and India.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany to enter a one-month lockdown

To curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic the German government has announced though new measures to start Monday, November 2. The new restrictions effect the travel business as overnight stays in hotels for tourist purposes will be banned, entertainment facilities such as theaters and cinemas will be closed as will bars and restaurants, which will only be allowed to offer take out services.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Nuremberg cancels Christmas market

The city announced on Monday (Oct.26) that this decision had been made in view of the rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases. The mayor explained that it was to be assumed that in the near future the Covid-19 traffic light in Nuremberg will change to dark red. “Against this background, we think it would be the wrong signal to go ahead with the annual Christkindlesmarkt Christmas market.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Canary Islands no longer a coronavirus risk area

The Canary Islands are no longer on the list of corona risk areas, the Robert Koch Institute announced on Thursday (Oct. 22). The abolition of the travel warning for the Canary Islands should above all please tour operators. For them, the islands off the coast of Africa with their year-round summer climate are one of the most important sources of hope for the winter season.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Cuba re-opens to international tourism

Starting October 15, some of the Caribbean state have been reopened for international flights, with Havana a notable exception. Every visitor is tested for the coronavirus upon arrival, and a team of doctors is available in every hotel. The German vacation airline Condor plans to offer flights to Cuba’s most popular tourist destination, the Varadero peninsula, starting October 31.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Japan, South Korea among next in line for Australia travel bubble

Discussions are underway between Australia and low-risk countries across Asia and the Pacific to lift coronavirus travel restrictions, but the government has warned that travel to the US and Europe may not be an option until 2022. From Friday, Australia will open its international borders for the first time since March, allowing visitors from New Zealand to travel to the country quarantine-free.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Global cruise ship association to require coronavirus tests for all

The cruise industry has decided to make coronavirus testing mandatory for all guests and crew members aboard cruise ships. The Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest such organization, announced on October 8 that passengers can only board ships by providing proof of a negative test result. All member shipping companies worldwide must now comply with this rule.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism German government declares all of Belgium and Iceland risk areas

In the wake of significant increases in coronavirus infection figures in Europe, Berlin has announced further EU countries as risk areas for travelers. In addition to Belgium and Iceland, additional areas of France and Great Britain, including all of Northern Ireland and Wales, were also classified as risk areas on September 30.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Thailand to slowly restart tourism with flight from China

Thailand is to receive its first foreign vacationers when a flight from China arrives next week, marking the gradual restart of a vital tourism sector battered by coronavirus travel curbs, a senior official said on Tuesday. The first flight will carry some 120 tourists from Guangzhou, flying directly to the resort island of Phuket.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Taj Mahal reopens for tourists

India’s most famous building was closed for six months, but since Monday ( September 21) it can be visited again, under strict restrictions. Only 5000 online tickets will be issued per day. There are temperature checks at the entrance. Selfies are allowed, group photos are prohibited. The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is normally visited by 8 million people every year.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany extends travel warnings to include Budapest, Vienna, Amsterdam

The Foreign Ministry has reacted to higher numbers of coronavirus infections on September 16 by issuing further travel warnings, including Vienna and Budapest. The province of North Holland with Amsterdam as well as South Holland with the cities of The Hague and Rotterdam are also affected. New risk areas were also identified in the Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, France, and Switzerland.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Historical sales losses in global tourism

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism sector has suffered a loss of 460 billion dollars (388 billion euros) from January to June, the World Tourism Organization reported in Madrid. The loss of sales was five times higher than during the international financial and economic crisis of 2009, and the total number of tourists worldwide fell by 65 percent in the first half of the year.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany issues further European travel warnings

Germany’s Foreign Office has warned against unnecessary tourism to Czech capital, Prague, and the Swiss cantons Geneva and Vaud (Vaud). This also applies to the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, the French regions Auvergne-Rhones-Alpes (around Lyon), Nouvelle-Aquitaine (around Bordeaux) and Occitania (around Toulouse) as well as more Croatian Adriatic areas, such as the city of Dubrovnik.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Berlin to start ‘differentiated system’ for travel warnings

The German government has extended its travel warning for around 160 countries through September 30. The advisory applies to “third countries” — i.e. countries that are not members of the EU or associated with the Schengen area. From October 1st, a “differentiated system” will apply, in which individual travel and safety information will be given for each country.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Australia’s borders to stay shut into December

Australia has extended its travel restrictions for a further three months. The borders will remain closed for visitors from abroad until at least December 17. However, the government announced that domestic travel will soon be allowed for residents of the country. An exception will be the state of Victoria, with its metropolis Melbourne, for which a lockdown has been in place since early July.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany extends global travel warning

The German government has extended the travel warning for around 160 countries outside the European Union by two weeks until September 14. A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry explained the move on Wednesday (Aug 26) with rising coronavirus infection rates. “The situation will not relax sufficiently by mid-September to be able to lift the worldwide travel warning,” she said.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism First Mediterranean cruise has set sail

With 2,500 instead of 6,000 passengers, the MSC Grandiosa left the port of Genoa on August 16. Stops on the seven-day voyage include Naples, Palermo and Valletta. Passengers and crew were tested for coronavirus before boarding, and body temperature is to be checked on a daily basis. Rival cruise company Costa will not be offering Mediterranean cruises again until September.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany declares most of Spain high-risk area

Germany’s health and interior ministries have agreed that all of Spain — apart from the Canary Islands — is now a high-risk area due to a surge in cases. Spain said it was closing night clubs across the country. Restaurants, bars and similar venues would need to close by 1 a. m. and would not be allowed to take in new guests after midnight.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism COVID-19 deals tourism in Berlin a heavy blow

In the first six months of 2020, 59% fewer tourists came to Berlin than in the previous year. The Statistics Office said on August 10 that 2.7 million guests had visited Berlin, the lowest number since 2004. The slump was even worse for foreign tourists: two thirds stayed away. Since June, the figures have been recovering and are at 30 to 40% of the previous year.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Compulsory COVID-19 tests on entry into Germany

Anyone entering Germany from a high-risk area must take a coronavirus test from August 8, after an order by Health Minister Jens Spahn. Currently, many countries are classified as risk areas, including the United States and Brazil. In the European Union, Luxembourg, the Belgian region of Antwerp and the Spanish regions of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre were risk areas as of early August.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Setback for cruise holidays

Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten has stopped all cruises on August 3 until further notice after an outbreak of the coronavirus on one of its ships. At least 40 passengers and crew members on the Roald Amundsen tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, German cruise line Aida Cruises has also postponed its planned restart due to the lack of necessary permits.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Nepal reopens Mount Everest for climbers amid COVID-19

Despite coronavirus uncertainty, Nepal has reopened Mount Everest for the autumn trekking and climbing season. To boost the struggling tourism sector the government will permit international flights to land in the country from August 17. The Himalayan country shut its borders in March just ahead of the busy spring season when hundreds of mountaineers usually flock to the country.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Amsterdam wants fewer weekend visitors

Concerned over a possible second wave of coronavirus, Amsterdam has requested that tourists not visit the Dutch capital on weekends. Potential day-trippers should come between Monday and Thursday, the city said on July 23. The tourist influx has swelled to such a degree that recommended social distancing of 1.5 meters between people is currently not possible in the city center.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Crowd management in alpine idyll

In order to manage tourist throngs amid the pandemic, Bavaria’s Economy Minister Hubert Aiwanger is planning a live digital guiding system for visitors. Clogged streets, wild campers and overcrowding on hiking trails in the Alps — this brings popular regions such as Lake Tegernsee (photo) to their limits. The live update system is primarily intended to redirect day-trippers to less full areas.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Flights overshadowed by fear

Holiday flights within Europe are on the move again, with passengers sitting close together. According to an opinion poll by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 62% of those questioned are afraid of being infected by passengers in the next seat. This was identified by IATA as the main reason for the decline in willingness to travel, which is now only 45%.

Author: Andreas Kirchhoff, Susan Bonney-Cox


Americas 

US President Joe Biden is expected Thursday to unveil his administration’s plans to tackle the coronavirus crisis, during his first day of office.

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, failed to take control of the crisis that has seen more than 400,000 die across the country.

Mexico posted a near-record 1,539 COVID-19 deaths and 20,548 cases. The high numbers are straining the health care system. Hospitals in Mexico City, the current center of the pandemic in the country, were at 89% capacity Wednesday, while 61% of hospital beds nationwide were filled.

kmm/sms (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)



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