TALLAHASSI, Florida – US air travel has hit its highest level since COVID-19 spread more than 13 months ago, while European Union officials are proposing to ease restrictions on visitors to the continent as the vaccine causes new infections and deaths. richer countries.
The improving picture in many places contrasts with the worsening disaster in India.
In the US, the average number of new cases per day fell below 50,000 for the first time since October. Nearly 1.67 million people were checked at US airport checkpoints on Sunday, the highest figure since mid-March last year, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation giving him broad powers to overturn local emergency measures taken during the outbreak. Although the law won’t go into effect until July, the Republican governor said he will issue a decree to quickly get rid of local bans on the use of masks.
“I think this creates a structure that is a little more respectful, I think, to business, work, schools and people’s personal freedom,” he said.
Las Vegas got bustling again after the casino capacity restrictions were increased to 80% on Saturday and the distance between people was reduced to 3 feet (0.9 meters). New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York City subways will reopen overnight, and bandwidth restrictions for most businesses will be lifted in mid-May. Los Angeles County did not report coronavirus deaths on Sunday and Monday, some of which may be related to reporting delays, but nonetheless, this is an encouraging sign that could move the county to allow for increased capacity by events and venues, as well as indoors in bars.
On Monday, EU officials also announced a proposal to ease travel restrictions to the 27-country bloc this summer, although the final decision rests with its member countries.
“It’s safe to revive the EU tourism industry and rekindle cross-border friendship,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “We invite again to welcome vaccinated visitors and visitors from countries in good health.”
In Greece, restaurants and cafes reopened their terraces on Monday after six months of closing, and customers flocked to soak up the sun. In France, secondary schools have reopened and the domestic travel ban has been lifted.
The Czech Republic, which was once hit hard and where the number of cases is now declining, announced that it would allow people to remove face masks in all outdoor areas starting next Monday if they stay away from others.
But with more infectious options emerging, efforts are underway to revitalize vaccination efforts that have begun to lag behind. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average number of doses per day fell 27% from a high of 3.26 million on April 11 to 2.37 million last Tuesday.
In Detroit, teams from the city’s health department have knocked on nearly 5,000 doors since the weekend to convince people to get immunized. And the governor of Massachusetts has announced plans to close four of the seven mass vaccination sites by the end of June in favor of a more targeted approach.
“My message to everyone is to get vaccinated now, please,” said President Joe Biden in Norfolk, Virginia. He stressed that he worked hard to provide over 600 million doses of the vaccine – enough for all Americans to get both doses.
“We’re going to increase that number across the board so that we can help other countries if we take care of all Americans,” the president said.
Brazil, once the epicenter of a pandemic, was overtaken by a wave in India that swept across crematoria and signaled that the disease was far from over.
As the United States and other countries rushed to help, India reported nearly 370,000 new cases and more than 3,400 deaths on Monday – numbers that experts say are grossly underreported due to widespread lack of tests and incomplete reports.
In Germany, Bavarian officials canceled Oktoberfest for the second year in a row due to security threats. Beer drinking festivals usually attract about 6 million visitors from all over the world.
And in Italy, medical experts and politicians have raised concerns about a possible spike in infections after tens of thousands of jubilant football fans gathered in Milan’s main square on Sunday to celebrate Inter Milan’s league title.