ISSN 2330-717X

Spain Requires Visitors To Quarantine For Two Weeks

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In an effort to try to prevent importing new cases of the coronavirus, Spain is requiring people arriving from abroad to go into quarantine for two weeks. 

The country has started to emerge from a seven-week, strict lockdown after an explosion of cases made it one of the world’s COVID-19 hot spots. 

A health ministry order published Tuesday said the quarantine rules will go into effect on Friday and will apply both to visitors from other countries as well as Spanish citizens who are returning home. 

People will be allowed only to go grocery shopping or to seek medical care during the 14-day period. 

China instituted a similar strategy as it saw its locally transmitted cases sharply decline and authorities began easing lockdown restrictions. 

Governments all over the world are currently weighing their strategies and whether it is time to impose new measures to stop the spread of the virus or allow people to resume parts of normal life. 

In Singapore, Tuesday brought a new phase in reopening with people allowed to get a haircut, visit bakeries or go to laundromats.   

India is resuming some train service Tuesday for the first time since March.  Passengers must pass temperature checks and adhere to social distancing guidelines. 

South Korean authorities are worried about a resurgence of cases and are working to track down people who recently visited nightclubs in Seoul where a cluster of new infections has emerged.

Officials said Tuesday teams are using phone and credit card data to try to track down about 2,000 more people so they can be tested. So far, there are more than 100 confirmed cases linked to nightclubs. 

So-called contact tracing has been a major element as governments try to stop the spread of the coronavirus by finding who may have been close enough to someone who has tested positive. Those people can then be tested themselves, and isolated if necessary. 

Testing is a big focus in the United States, with the Trump administration saying about 9 million people have been tested and that the capacity for more tests is increasing. 

A senior administration official told reporters that a new antigen test will speed up the testing process further because it looks only for the presence of the viral protein in the nose, unlike the more complicated and time-consuming nucleic acid tests.     

“The machines for these tests — there are already 20,000 of them out in the United States because they’re a commonly used platform for things like flu testing and strep throat,” the official said.  

The World Health Organization is advising nations to ensure that the pandemic is under control before reopening. WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday that countries should also have surveillance systems in place to be able to detect and manage any resurgence of cases and ensure that their health systems can cope with a possible resurgence after reopening.   

He also said there are about seven or eight of what he called “top” vaccine candidates among the many currently being developed around the world.  He said that while several months ago experts expected the process of getting a vaccine ready for public use would take 12 to 18 months, there are efforts to accelerate that process with the support of $8 billion in pledges made last week.   

Worldwide, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is about 4.2 million. The global death tally is more than 286,000, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics. 

VOA

VOA

The VOA is the Voice of America

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