Monday,  May 25, 2020  6:00 am

Here's how the world is responding to COVID-19


Here's how the world is responding to COVID-19
Photo: Microsoft Bing
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch: christine@paxglobalmedia.com.

Countries are easing up on lockdown regulations, but COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon. Currently, 96 per cent of the world's destinations have introduced travel restrictions. 

PAX continues to monitor the pandemic closely, providing our readers with the most up-to-date information both at home and abroad. 

Here’s a quick recap of how countries around the world are responding to the pandemic.

Canada

Currently, the Government of Canada’s national travel advisory remains in place, urging Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel, both domestically and internationally.

In a press conference held on Apr. 16th, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that Canada is in talks with the United States about keeping the border closed to non-essential crossings. Despite President Trump hinting about re-opening the border, Canadians will ultimately make their own decisions, she said. 

As of Apr. 16th, 487,060 Canadians have been tested for COVID-19, of which 28,884 are confirmed cases, and 15 are probable cases. There have been 1,048 deaths related to COVID-19, nationwide.

As of March 21st, 2020, there is a 30-day restriction on all non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. border. Several additional restrictions are in place for foreign nationals and non-residents. Click here for full details on border restrictions and entry requirements.

Despite President Trump hinting about re-opening the Canada-U.S. border, Canada hasn't agreed to this anytime soon.

United States

The United States continues to be the country with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19. At this time (Apr. 17th), Johns Hopkins University reports that there are 671,425 cases scattered throughout the country. A brand-new map that tracks COVID-19 outbreaks in the U.S. is now listed on the site.

On Wednesday, Apr. 15th, President Donald Trump said more than 3.3 million Coronavirus tests have been completed and 48 different tests have been authorized.

The CDC reports that currently, any foreign nationals who have visited China, Iran, the European Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland in the last 14 days may not enter the United States. Any person(s) returning from a cruise must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days.

Mexico

According to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico, Mexico confirmed 5,847 positive cases of COVID-19 within its borders as of April 15th.

International commercial flight options currently exist in Mexico, but the Government of Canada’s official global travel advisory remains in effect, which urges Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.

The Mexican government’s COVID-19 planning and preparation is based on three scenarios:

  • Scenario One: COVID-19 cases are travel related (travel from abroad).
  • Scenario Two: Community-based transmission of COVID-19 begins, and case numbers are in the hundreds.
  • Scenario Three: COVID-19 transmission becomes widespread; case numbers are in the thousands.

The Mexican government assesses Mexico is currently in Scenario Two.

Mexican tourism and health officials instructed hotels to cancel new and existing reservations and close for non-essential business.

On Mar. 21st, The United States and Mexico entered a joint initiative that restricts non-essential travel along the U.S.-Mexico land border to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Mexico has also implemented temperature-screening measures at some of its airports and land border ports of entry. Passengers with abnormal temperatures and travel to high-risk areas might be subject to additional health screening.

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico also reports that on Apr. 3rd, Mexican tourism and health officials instructed hotels to cancel new and existing reservations and close for non-essential business.

All accommodation services, including hotels, hostels, online platforms, and travel agencies will cease receiving reservations and will reschedule all existing reservations.

Guests that require accommodation due to essential business activities are permitted to stay in hotels with a maximum occupancy of 15 percent.

Non-resident foreign citizens currently in hotel accommodation must begin the process of returning home immediately.

As it stands, there are no mandatory quarantine policies currently in effect in Mexico for confirmed or suspected cases, but the government encourages those experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 to stay home.

Central America

Panama currently has the highest number of cases of COVID-19 in Central America at 4,016, as of Apr. 17th, as reported by Johns Hopkins University. Costa Rica follows at 642, then Honduras at 442, then Guatemala at 242; El Salvador at 177; Belize at 18, and Nicaragua at just nine. 

Reuters reports that Honduras, Panama, and Guatemala have all banned public gatherings, and Panama has banned flights arriving from Europe and Asia.

Caribbean

Overall, confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to be relatively low in the Caribbean.

The Dominican Republic has the highest number of cases, sitting at 3,614, as reported on Apr. 16th. Other country case counts are as follows:

  • Cuba (814 cases)
  • Jamaica (125 cases)
  • Barbados (75 cases)
  • Bahamas (53 cases)
  • U.S Virgin Islands (51 cases)
  • Antigua and Barbuda (23 cases)
  • Dominica (16 cases)
  • Saint Lucia (15 cases)
  • Grenada (14 cases)
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis (14 cases)
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (12 cases)

Major tourism attractions and events throughout the Caribbean remain closed or postponed over COVID-19. Last month, the Cuba Tourist Board confirmed that it’s biggest annual tourism fair, FitCuba, is cancelled.

European countries ease up on lockdown restrictions

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reports that as of Apr. 16th, there have been 925,536 confirmed cases reported throughout Europe

The five countries reporting the most cases are Spain (177,633), Italy (165,155), Germany (130,450), France (106,206) and the United Kingdom (98,476).

Italy, Spain and France have all reported a lull in new coronavirus cases, which has allowed their respective governments to start considering how to ease lockdown measures safely.

It's interesting to note that although Germany is among the five countries with the highest case counts, they have one of the lowest number of associated deaths: 4,105. This is thanks to the country's rigorous approach to testing.

The European Commission’s official website reports that the Commission, in cooperation with the President of the European Council, has put forward a European roadmap towards lifting coronavirus containment measures.

Measures to lift lockdown restrictions began this week, starting with Austria re-opening several non-essential businesses on Apr. 14th, The National Post reports. Over in Spain, the government has started distributing free masks to commuters, to ensure those who take public transit are protected.

French president Emmanuel Macron said France will remain in lockdown until May 11th, but schools will begin reopening that month.

At the end of the day, each national government will have the final say on when lockdown policies will be lifted for good.

Here's a look at how several countries are responding:

Practicing social distancing in the U.K., where Britain has extended its lockdown for another three weeks.

U.K.

Restrictions remain in place throughout the U.K. to slow the spread of COVID-19. Currently, the U.K. has the fifth-highest official death toll from COVID-19, following the United States, Italy, Spain and France.

The U.K. government’s website also warns that many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.

Britain

Britain has extended its lockdown for another three weeks, the New York Times reports. The government’s original plan was to lift the lockdown on Apr. 16th, but that was on the condition that death rates throughout the country fell at a consistent level, which, they have not.

The Times also reports that the government has set a goal of conducting 100,000 COVID-19 test a days by the end of the month; as it stands, only one fifth of that number has been carried out.

Italy

Originally the hardest hit by the virus, two months ago Italy had the highest confirmed case count and death count from COVID-19; the United States has now claimed both titles.

Italy has the third-highest COVID-19 outbreak in the world; as of Apr. 17th, the number of confirmed cases is 168,941, of which 22,170 individuals have died as a result.

The Italian government has strict movement restrictions and law enforcement authorities are collecting self-declaration forms from travellers specifying the purpose of their movement and destination.

The U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Italy notes that travellers should be prepared for the possibility of additional travel restrictions to be implemented with little or no advance notice.

Italy has suspended flights from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as well as from Taiwan. There is currently no proposed date for lifting the travel restrictions. The country is also conducting thermal body temperature testing prior to boarding; those with a temperature in excess of 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit are not being permitted to board.

Making the most of it: Italians have been ordered to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Ireland

As of Apr. 16th, the Government of Ireland is reporting that there are now 13,271 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland, with most cases originating in eastern Ireland.

While there are currently no entry restrictions to Ireland, anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, will be required to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days (two weeks).

Spain

Among the top five countries in the world as far as case numbers go, the country is working hard to slow the spread. The U.S. Embassy of Spain reports that the vast majority of hotels, hostels, and other accommodation in Spain closed March 27.

The Embassy also notes that Spain’s land and sea borders remain closed for entry, except for the land border with Andorra, with limited exceptions. This includes the land borders with Portugal, France, and Morocco (Ceuta and Melilla) and the sea borders in the Canary and Balearic Islands, as well as the seaports in mainland Spain, with limited exceptions.

Asia

Multiple reports state that COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China back on Dec. 31st, 2019. While China has recently claimed that it's flattened the curve, the CBC reports that at least 50 per cent more people actually died in Wuhan than previously reported by the Chinese government. The addition of 1,290 deaths brings Wuhan's official death toll to 3,869, the most in China. John Hopkins reports a total of 83,760 confirmed COVID-19 cases in China. 

South Korea follows, with 10,635, along with Japan at 9,231. 

Wearing a mask has been proven to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Australia

The Australian government's Department of Health reports that as of 3:00 p.m. on Apr. 17th, 2020, there have been 6,523 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. There have been 55 new cases since 3:00 p.m. yesterday (Apr. 16th). 

Of the 6,523 confirmed cases in Australia, 65 have died and 3,819 have been reported as recovered from COVID-19. More than 391,000 tests have been conducted across Australia.

Global News reports that Australia will keep restrictions on public movement for at least four more weeks. The country has avoided a high death rate due to closing its borders early last month at the onset of its initial outbreak.

For the most up-to-date news on COVID-19 in Canada, including self-assessment forms, click here.


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