Tag: Warnings

Germany issues travel warnings as COVID surges in Europe

By Kirsti Knolle and Inti Landauro

BERLIN/MADRID (Reuters) – Germany warned on Thursday against travel to neighbouring countries, Belgium’s foreign minister went into intensive care and Spain said COVID-19 was “out of control” in many areas, as governments across Europe took action to fight the pandemic.

As German authorities reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time, Berlin issued travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and many Italian regions, including the capital Rome.

“The situation overall has become very serious,” Lothar Wieler, of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s infectious diseases agency, said in Berlin, adding: “We still have a chance to slow a further spread of the virus.”

After Europe appeared to have gained a measure of control over the epidemic following the dramatic lockdowns of March and April, a surge in cases over recent weeks has put the continent back at the heart of the crisis.

Hospitalisations and deaths across most of Europe have not yet reached the levels of the initial wave early this year, but authorities in many countries worry the situation could rapidly get worse.

More than 5.3 million people in Europe have contracted the disease and over 204,000 have died, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

India has had more than 7.7 million cases – the world’s highest tally after the United States with 8.3 million. But elsewhere in Asia, from China to South Korea or New Zealand, draconian lockdowns and rigorous contact tracing have helped contain the disease.

Grappling with the enormous costs of the coronavirus, Europe’s leaders are desperate to avoid a repeat of the blanket lockdowns that shut down their economies in the spring.

But as cases have surged, and health services have come under increasing pressure, they have been forced to impose and expand local restrictions aimed at reducing public gatherings to ever wider areas.

Underlining the reach of the disease, Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes went into intensive care on Thursday. German Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive a day earlier.

“OUT OF CONTROL”

“The second wave is a reality,” Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Thursday. “In many areas of our country, the epidemic is out of control.”

A number of Spanish regions are calling for localised curfews such as those implemented in France and Italy, where Lazio, the region around Rome, has joined Lombardy and Campania around Milan and Naples in imposing overnight curfews.

Amid the growing public alarm, Germany’s statistics office noted that sales of toilet paper rose almost 90% last week from pre-crisis levels with almost equally sharp jumps in sales of disinfectants and soap.

Only Sweden, a European outlier which has relied largely on voluntary measures to promote social distancing, was an exception, declaring senior citizens no longer need to isolate themselves given lower COVID infection rates than in spring.

As the crisis has intensified, much of the public goodwill seen in the first phase of lockdowns has evaporated and central governments

Continue reading

Germany Issues Travel Warnings as COVID Surges in Europe | World News

By Kirsti Knolle and Inti Landauro

BERLIN/MADRID (Reuters) – Germany warned on Thursday against travel to neighbouring countries, Belgium’s foreign minister went into intensive care and Spain said COVID-19 was “out of control” in many areas, as governments across Europe took action to fight the pandemic.

As German authorities reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time, Berlin issued travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and many Italian regions, including the capital Rome.

“The situation overall has become very serious,” Lothar Wieler, of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s infectious diseases agency, said in Berlin, adding: “We still have a chance to slow a further spread of the virus.”

After Europe appeared to have gained a measure of control over the epidemic following the dramatic lockdowns of March and April, a surge in cases over recent weeks has put the continent back at the heart of the crisis.

Hospitalisations and deaths across most of Europe have not yet reached the levels of the initial wave early this year, but authorities in many countries worry the situation could rapidly get worse.

More than 5.3 million people in Europe have contracted the disease and over 204,000 have died, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

India has had more than 7.7 million cases – the world’s highest tally after the United States with 8.3 million. But elsewhere in Asia, from China to South Korea or New Zealand, draconian lockdowns and rigorous contact tracing have helped contain the disease.

Grappling with the enormous costs of the coronavirus, Europe’s leaders are desperate to avoid a repeat of the blanket lockdowns that shut down their economies in the spring.

But as cases have surged, and health services have come under increasing pressure, they have been forced to impose and expand local restrictions aimed at reducing public gatherings to ever wider areas.

Underlining the reach of the disease, Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes went into intensive care on Thursday. German Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive a day earlier.

“The second wave is a reality,” Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Thursday. “In many areas of our country, the epidemic is out of control.”

A number of Spanish regions are calling for localised curfews such as those implemented in France and Italy, where Lazio, the region around Rome, has joined Lombardy and Campania around Milan and Naples in imposing overnight curfews.

Amid the growing public alarm, Germany’s statistics office noted that sales of toilet paper rose almost 90% last week from pre-crisis levels with almost equally sharp jumps in sales of disinfectants and soap.

Only Sweden, a European outlier which has relied largely on voluntary measures to promote social distancing, was an exception, declaring senior citizens no longer need to isolate themselves given lower COVID infection rates than in spring.

As the crisis has intensified, much of the public goodwill seen in the first phase of lockdowns has evaporated and central governments have engaged in angry spats

Continue reading

Germany issues travel warnings for ski regions in Austria, Switzerland, Italy

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany issued travel warnings for popular ski regions in Austria, Italy and Switzerland on Thursday aiming to contain the spread of the coronavirus after the country reported more than 10,000 new daily cases for the first time.

The RKI public health institute said Germany must prepare for an uncontrolled spread of the virus.

“The situation has become very serious overall,” Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases told a news conference. “We still have a chance to slow the spread of the pandemic.”

However, that required people to stick to the rules, he said. A change in strategy was not planned.

Under the warning, travellers returning from high risk regions to Germany must quarantine for 10 days. They are allowed to get a coronavirus test from the fifth day. If the test is negative, they can leave the quarantine.

While Germany‚Äôs infection rates are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating and the number of confirmed cases last rose by 11,287 to 392,049. Germany’s death toll stands at 9,905.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Jens Spahn became the latest prominent politician to have caught the virus. He placed himself in home quarantine after testing positive.

Berlin issued new travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and some Italian regions including the popular skiing region of South Tyrol after surging numbers of new coronavirus cases there. They take effect from Oct. 24.

The warning against unnecessary travel to Austria, which could have a big impact on the Alpine country’s winter tourism industry, excludes the province of Carinthia.

Austria last reported 121.4 https://covid19-dashboard.ages.at new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven consecutive days, way above the mark of 50 seen by health experts as critical. In Carinthia, that number was at 51.5

However, there was positive news for Spain’s Canary Islands as the RKI took it off its list of high risk areas. As skiing seems to be off the table, German tourists could go there for Christmas and New Year.

The decision opened “good expectations from this (German) market,” said Yaiza Castilla, regional secretary for tourism in Canary Islands.

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, Riham Alkoussa and Thomas Seythal, additional reporting by Inti Landauro, editing by Maria Sheahan and Angus MacSwan)

Source Article

Continue reading

Travel Warnings for U.S. Citizens

Caution - Travel Warnings

When planning a trip abroad, it is essential that you stay up to
date on the latest travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of
State. These travel warnings are issued on a 4-point scale of
increasing concern.

  • Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions -
    This level is reserved for nations where there may be pockets or crime
    or unrest, but the majority of the country is generally safe for U.S.
    travelers. Travelers should still be mindful of these warnings as there
    may be locations in these countries that, on their own, would qualify
    for a much higher travel advisory levels.
  • Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
    – This level applies to countries where Americans may be susceptible to
    higher than normal safety risks. There are a number of incidents that
    could trigger a level 2 designation including disaster recovery, high
    crime rates, mild political concerns, and/or the threat of terrorism.
    These issues may not be worth cancelling a trip over, but be sure to heed whatever warnings are issued – they are not to be ignored.
  • Level 3: Reconsider Travel
    – Destinations classified as level 3 (whether they be entire nations or
    specific regions within a country) should be avoided unless travel is
    absolutely necessary and safety precautions are taken. It takes serious
    activity to trigger a level 3 advisory such as a natural disaster,
    significant crime risks (including elevated incidents of violent crime,
    kidnapping, and/or sexual assault), health emergencies, terrorism,
    political uprisings, or civil unrest. Take any level 3 threat seriously.
  • Level 4: Do Not Travel
    – Traveling to a country or area that has earned a level 4 advisory -
    the highest advisory level the State Department issues – basically
    means that you are taking your safety (and possibly your life) into
    your own hands when traveling. The U.S. typically has limited abilities
    to ensure your well-being in these regions or provide support should
    you wind up in a crisis situation. Given that many of these nations are
    active conflict zones, terrorist hotbeds, and/or notably anti-American,
    the risks are great. Some of these nations will not permit Americans to
    enter. Those that do, will not go out of their way to offer protections
    or assurances of safety. Quite the contrary, many of these nations are
    quick to detain, incarcerate, or otherwise harass American nationals.
    Take the advisory’s advice – do not travel to a level 4 destination.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

If you choose to travel to or live in areas of unrest
despite the travel warning, it would be in your best interest to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

STEP is the U.S. State Department’s free program to keep
international travelers and American expatriots up to date with all of
the latest safety and security announcements. As an added benefit,
enrolling in STEP also makes it easier for your nearest U.S. Embassy to
contact you in the event of an emergency while ou are abroad. As such,

Continue reading