COVID-19 lockdowns: Western countries ease curbs, allow air travel with riders

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Even as India and parts of Asia battle the virus, some European countries and the US are feeling hopeful. They are taking the first steps towards opening up.

COVID-19 lockdowns: Western countries ease curbs, allow air travel with riders
Several countries, including India, are still battling the second or third wave of the Coronavirus outbreak and resorting to lockdowns as well as travel restrictions. At the same time, several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, among others, are easing their restrictions following the mass vaccination of a sizeable population.
Here's a roundup of what's happening around the globe with regard to lockdowns and air travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
Japan
Japan has been witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases and tighter restrictions have been expanded to three more cities of Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima. The cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo were already under restriction. The state of emergency has been extended till May 31.
The authorities have banned travel from many countries, including India. Those who are allowed to travel to Japan should download government issued apps and carry negative COVID-19 test reports.
Singapore
The Singapore government imposed lockdown-like restrictions on May 14 following a spike in COVID-19 cases. The new restrictions banned dine in at restaurants and gatherings of more than two people. The restrictions will be in effect till June 13. The business events will now have a reduced number of attendees and all at the event are required to wear masks at all times.
South Korea
A front runner when it came to fighting the COVID-19 since its first reported case, the government eased its strict social distancing rules from May 6. Since a spike has been reported, officials are again enforcing stronger social distancing restrictions for Seoul, Incheon and the nearby Gyeonggi province.
Gatherings have been restricted to not more than 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. High risk zones like nightclubs, karaoke rooms and computer gaming cafés will remain closed.
Germany
Germany has eased restrictions, allowing vaccinated travellers or people who have recovered from the virus to skip testing and quarantine. If the traveller is coming from an area which has reported high infections, they will undergo the test and quarantine.
Those who have not been vaccinated can now end their quarantine early if their test is negative.
United Kingdom
England will allow international travel from 12 countries from the green list starting May 17. The travellers should have taken the COVID-19 test prior to travelling and if negative there will be no need for quarantine. England is gradually opening up the country in a four-step plan. The government has begun a pilot programme for events to study how large a gathering can be without the need for social distancing. The third phase of the plan will begin allowing entertainment venues and attractions to reopen.
Denmark
Anyone entering Denmark from any of the European Union countries, except the six in its list, has to book for at least six nights of stay. One exception is if the traveller is arriving from a city of more than 750,000 in population, in which case quarantine is mandatory.
After the nationwide lockdown, Denmark eased up from May 11 by opening shopping centres. From May 18, restaurants and cafés will be opened and outdoor sports too, without spectators. Up to 10 people are allowed to get together but large gatherings are not allowed till August.
Greece
Greece has opened up for all the EU member states. It has also added Britain, the US, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Israel to the list. Other Non-EU member countries such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are also exempt. Anyone from these countries can travel to Greece if they show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within the previous 72 hours.
France
Currently easing out of its third national lockdown, which was imposed in March, schools and domestic travel have been allowed with restrictions. Vaccinated Americans will be permitted entry into France in the summer. Night curfew is still in place but will be eased from May 19, with a new time of 9 pm instead of the current 7pm. Outdoor service will be permitted at cafes and restaurants and spectators will be allowed into sports venues.
Italy
Bars and restaurants are open in the country and residents are allowed to travel between ‘yellow’ regions. Schools and outdoor cultural events are allowed though a curfew is effective from 10pm to 5am nationwide. It is still mandatory to wear masks in any public space, both outdoors and indoors.
Australia
Australia, in a strict lockdown since March 2020 after closing its borders to non-citizens, had stamped out community transmissions of the virus. The country has now decided to follow a case by case basis approach. Australians who were banned from entering their country from India were finally flown in after a prolonged discussion between the two nations.
United States
The US has recently opened up air travel. On May 4, air travel in the US hit its highest mark in the 13 months since COVID-19 outbreak. Last week, the US also relaxed mask wearing norms for its fully vaccinated citizens. Those who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks outdoors or indoors.
Las Vegas is bustling again after casino capacity limits were raised early this month to 80 percent and person-to-person distancing dropped to three feet.
Canada
Canada has decided to take no chances and extended the closure of its land border with the United States till May 21. It may extend it further as it aims for at least 75 percent of its population getting their first shot. According to federal data, only 40 percent of the adult population has received their first shot.
The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced, “Community transmission is better controlled through tracing, virus testing and tamping down on the spread of COVID-19.”
With health and travel restrictions still in place, some parts of the country are still in the grip of a third wave.
 

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