Coronavirus surge in Eastern Europe causes new restrictions

World

Photo by Tania Kitura/Shutterstock.com

Countries in Eastern Europe are facing rising waves of coronavirus infections, leading to new restrictive measures such as the mandatory use of face masks in Croatia and travel bans or quarantines being imposed by Hungary. 

Photo by Tania Kitura/Shutterstock.com

Hungarian authorities said on Sunday that they would put countries into three categories (red, yellow, and green), based on their rate of new coronavirus infections, and would impose restrictions, including entry bans and mandatory quarantines, depending on which country people were coming from.

Romania announced a new high for infections on Saturday, with 698 cases, while another 456 were reported Sunday. Serbia reported 354 new infections on Saturday, although there have been increasing doubts about the accuracy of the figures.

Croatia, whose Adriatic Sea coast is a major tourist destination, made wearing masks mandatory in stores from Monday, while restaurant staff, but not patrons, will also have to wear face coverings.

Greece will allow in visitors through its border with Bulgaria only if they show a negative COVID-19 test, the government said on Friday. Visitors to Greece also need to complete a passenger locator form 24 hours before arrival.

European Union countries and their open border neighbors were supposed to ease restrictions in unison in mid-June and then start allowing non-EU visitors in this month, including those Canada, Japan and Serbia.

However, while some countries such as the Netherlands initially opened up to all , Italy and Belgium decided they would open to none. The Netherlands has since concluded that Serbia and Montenegro are no longer safe. Austria has issued travel warnings for Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova.

As of Sunday evening, the number of the COVID-19 infected people in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) has reached 173,466, or 18,430 more compared to the pevious Sunday. Of those, 7,153 people have died (vs 6,644 a week ago) and 110,709 recovered (up from 99,515).

Poland had the most cases in the region with 37,891 infected persons (up from 35,950 a week ago) and with 1,571 fatalities (vs 1,517), followed by Romania 32,575/1,884 (28,973/1,750) and Moldova 19,382/642 (17,814/585).

As of Sunday evening, Serbia had 18,360 cases, while 393 people had died (vs 16,131/311 a week ago); Czech Republic 13,148/352 (vs 12,469/348); North Macedonia 8,111/382 (vs 7,046/341); Bulgaria 7,175/267 (vs. 5,677/241); Bosnia and Herzegovina 6,877/221 (vs 4,962/195); Kosovo 4,715/101 (vs 3,064/55); Hungary; 4,234/595 (vs 4,183/589); Greece 3,803/193 (vs 3,519/192); Croatia 3,722/119 (vs 3,157/113); Albania; 3,454/93 (vs 2,893/76); Estonia 2,014/69 (vs 1,993/69); Slovakia 1,901/28 (vs 1,764/28); Lithuania 1,869/79 (vs 1,836/79); Slovenia 1,841/111 (vs 1,700/111); Montenegro 1,221/23 (781/14) and Latvia 1,173/30 (vs 1,124/30).

Meanwhile, the pandemic has spread further globally too, reaching a total number of people infected of 12,924,798, as of Sunday evening. According to data on Worldometers.info, 569,093 people have died from the coronavirus, while 7,529,744 have recovered.

The US reported another record rise in coronavirus cases on Saturday, with 66,528 new cases, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. The death toll stood at 134,729 with 760 additional deaths counted. In total, the country has so far registered over 3.2 million cases.

Brazil recorded 1,071 new deaths from coronavirus and a total of 1,839,850 confirmed cases, the Health Ministry said. In total, some 71,469 people have died from COVID-19 in the South American nation. Brazil is currently the world’s number two coronavirus hotspot, after the United States.

Sources: Reuters, DW, Worldometers.info, Johns Hopkins University.

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