- Italy relaxes the restrictions in the de Corona crisis and wants to allow entry from abroad again from June 3rd.
- This increases the chances that a summer vacation in the country is possible.
- Tourism is one of the most important industries in Italy, the country is dependent on visitors.
Good news for everyone planning their summer vacation: Italy, which has been particularly hard hit by the corona pandemic, wants to allow foreigners to enter again from June 3rd. In addition, trips between regions in Italy should be allowed again, the government in Rome decided on Saturday night. The opening is subject to the condition that the infection events in individual regions or states allow it. In a two-week quarantine after entry, only those who have had contact with infected people or who have themselves tested positive.
At the moment, entry is only possible in exceptional cases, for example for Italians who are abroad and want to return to their home country or foreigners who are resident in Italy.
Italy is less affected by Covid-19 lung disease than few other countries in the EU; almost 32,000 people have died so far. According to civil protection, more than 223,000 people have contracted the virus. The number of infections has been declining for a long time. The country had imposed one of the strictest and longest lockdowns in the EU in early March.
Opening the border to the summer season is particularly important for the tourism industry, which is one of the most important economic sectors in Italy. Further easing is already planned for this Monday: hairdressers, cosmetic studios, retailers, bars and restaurants are allowed to reopen. However, only with strict distance rules. People can also move without self-disclosure, but only within their region. Museums and libraries can open. You can also go back to the beach or meet friends. So far, you could only meet with relatives. Services are also allowed again.
Corona pandemic: The measures are different in different countries
China: Strict Quarantine and Total Health Monitoring by the State
COVID-19 started in China. The country has taken the most far-reaching measures by far. In the huge country, different regulations applied to different regions. In the city of Wuhan and the Hubei region – the epicenter of the pandemic – and also in some other cities, a strict quarantine applied to everyone. Residents were only allowed to leave their home for up to two months if they had permission to shop. Sometimes this was also prohibited and food was only allowed to be delivered by courier. This quarantine was controlled by the state and violations were draconically punished. Nationwide there were severe restrictions on freedom of travel, health checks were carried out everywhere in the public space and a nationwide health app calculated a code for everyone from their exercise profile and health data: from green to orange to red. A close-knit network of controls on these codes ensures that only those with a green code can participate in public life. Most restrictions have now been gradually removed, even in Wuhan. However, the health code is still checked everywhere and a green code is a basic requirement for any activity. Travelers to China must continue to quarantine.
USA: Stay at home orders and economic activity on the back burner
The United States now has more confirmed corona infections than any other country in the world. Different regulations apply depending on the state. Almost everywhere, the government has asked citizens to stay at home. Meetings of more than ten people are prohibited everywhere, in many states even all gatherings are prohibited. The regulations go furthest in New York, where high-risk patients are obliged to stay in their home. In most countries, non-essential economic activities are also prohibited, and schools and daycare centers are closed everywhere. Entry into the USA from Germany is currently only possible for US citizens and in exceptional cases. There is currently no talk of easing the measures in the USA. Trump had started talking about a loosening after Easter. In the meantime, however, he announced that they could last until August and possibly even longer.
Sweden: personal responsibility and lax regulations
The most relaxed regulations in Europe apply in the Scandinavian country. Most of the measures are recommendations on a voluntary basis. The government encourages people with symptoms to stay at home and advocates working from home. Meetings over 50 people are prohibited. Restaurants, bars and other places of public life remain open, albeit with some restrictions, and primary schools remain open while universities are closed. There are entry controls, but the Swedish borders are not closed in principle. As there are hardly any legal regulations to contain the pandemic, there is no debate in the country about possible exit strategies. On the contrary: further legal regulations are being discussed.
South Africa: curfew enforced with the police stick
According to official statistics, the southernmost country in Africa is the most affected by the virus. The curfews in force there are among the most draconian in the world: no jogging, no sports, no fresh air, no sales of alcohol and cigarettes, no leaving the house except for essential errands. They are enforced with drastic police force: within the first week, over 2,000 people were arrested for violating the curfew. Police say that people on the street are beaten into their homes. Police shootings are also reported. These curfews are hard to keep, especially for the people in the poor neighborhoods of the big cities. Many live there in a confined space without any savings and are dependent on their daily wages. For many, therefore, every day in quarantine means one without food. At the moment, public life has almost come to a standstill. Entry is practically no longer possible, but the federal government is trying to get German citizens back. The measures will initially apply until April 16, 2020.
Russia: censorship laws and paid forced leave
After the infections had skyrocketed even in the largest country in the world, the Russian government took far-reaching measures. In the capital, Moscow, there is now a much stricter curfew than in most European countries: Only those who have to take their dog for a walk (only a maximum of 100 meters), need an urgent doctor’s appointment or go shopping in the nearest shop can now leave the house – and alone. This curfew is enforced with facial recognition by 200,000 cameras in public space and geodata from mobile phones. The Kremlin has already passed a new censorship law, which punishes the spread of fake news even more severely. A peculiarity in Russian crisis management is that the country sent the majority of workers in non-essential economic sectors on paid forced leave: first for a week, then for a month. Furthermore, entry into the country as a foreigner is currently hardly possible. Since the pandemic arrived in Russia relatively late, there is no discussion of easing the measures. On the contrary, it is to be expected that other regions will soon be able to introduce similarly strict measures as in Moscow.
Austria: early measures and first easing after Easter
The country had taken measures much earlier than Germany. On March 10, travel restrictions and requirements for social distancing were enacted, from March 11 schools and universities were closed, and from March 13, stricter exit restrictions applied than in Germany. From April 14th, a mouth protection obligation applies in all public areas. This is probably why the daily new infections have been declining since the end of March and a gradual withdrawal of measures after Easter has been decided: Shops up to 400 square meters as well as hardware stores and handicraft businesses may reopen from April 14. Larger shops, shopping centers and hairdressers will follow on May 1st. Hotels and restaurants, however, at the earliest in mid-May. Entry from Germany is still only possible with a valid reason and a medical certificate.
Peru: All borders closed and gender segregation in public spaces
The South American country has only around 4500 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, but the measures there are among the most rigid worldwide. A strict quarantine has been in effect for all residents since mid-March. Only those who have previously submitted an application online and can show confirmation of this can leave the house. The military enforces curfews across the country. In addition, Peru is one of the few countries that have completely closed its borders – even for its own citizens. There were only 24 hours between the announcement of the quarantine and the suspension of all flight connections, so that thousands of tourists willing to leave are stuck in the country. Tourists report dramatic conditions. On April 2, the measures were tightened again: Only three days a week, only men are allowed to leave the house, three days only women and no one on Sunday. This measure is intended to make it easier for the police and the military to pursue possible violations.
Taiwan: Public life continues thanks to an efficient early warning system and seamless monitoring
Taiwan reacted to the crisis faster than most other countries. Already on December 31, when Chinese authorities were still trying to cover up the outbreak from the public, the health of all travelers from Wuhan at the airport was being examined. On February 7, it had completely banned entry from China and sent all travelers from the Schengen area into fortnightly quarantine – at a time when there were three confirmed cases in Italy. The Taiwanese crisis management is based on the complete understanding of each individual case of infection and the consequent isolation of all contact persons. This was only possible because the very first cases were taken seriously, preventing exponential spread from the start. Because the total number of isolated persons remained manageable, compliance with every quarantine case could be monitored by the state. In addition, there are severe penalties for non-compliance and monitoring of cell phone data, which would probably not be compatible with German data protection regulations. But restaurants and bars are still open and even large events are not canceled – it is only discouraged.