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Coronavirus: Greece shuts Serbia border amid COVID-19 spike in the Balkans

Serbian military opens field hospital amid coronavirus spike
Serbian military opens field hospital amid coronavirus spike Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By Alessio Dell'Anna with AP, AFP
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Austria has also imposed a travel warning for six western Balkans countries, Bosnia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Serbia, in view of high COVID-19 figures.

Borders closed and restrictions tightened amid Balkans spike


Greece has closed its border with Serbia until July 15 after a spike in cases prompted authorities to declare an emergency in the capital Belgrade.

Three hospitals in Belgrade, after a break of just a month, have been transformed back into coronavirus-only facilities.

It comes after the country recorded its highest increase in infections since April.

Restrictions have also been tightened in Kosovo.

On Monday the government impose a 9 am - 5 pm curfew in the capital Pristina and three other cities. Authorities have also told businesses to reduce their staff to the minimum, and restaurants and cafe are serving in open spaces only.

Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said he won't hesitate to declare a state of emergency if the situation requires it.

Last week Austria said it was imposing a travel warning for six western Balkans countries, Bosnia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Serbia, in view of high COVID-19 figures.

Spain and Germany keep confinement measures to battle local outbreaks

Spain, one of Europe's worst-affected countries, has put some 270,000 people back into lockdown within two days after a spike in cases in the northern regions of Galicia and Catalonia.

In Germany, a country that has been battling new outbreaks too, the health minister resisted on Monday calls to drop rules requiring people to wear masks in shops, a request coming from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania - the German state least affected by COVID-19.

Also in Germany, MTU Aero Engines announced on Monday it plans to cut staffing by 10-15% by the end of next year, adding up to the long list of companies, many of which in the aviation sector, which had to slash their workforce because of the pandemic.

Boost for UK's cultural sector

There was better news in the cultural sector.

The UK government has pledged over €1.7 billion to help hardly-hit cultural venues like museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas and music halls.

It follows an open letter signed by artists like Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Little Mix, Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart asking the British institutions to the save the country's live music scene following the ban on mass-gatherings.

Other positive signs in France, where the Louvre museum, hosting famous artworks like Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, has finally reopened after a 16-week shutdown.

India passes Russia to register the third most COVID-19 cases in the world

In other parts of the world, India's COVID-19 cases keep rising and have hit nearly 700,000.


The nation has overtaken Russia to become, in terms of infections, the world's third-worst-hit country.

It follows a new record in daily infections set on Sunday.

New Delhi officials worry the capital alone could reach a total of half a million cases by the end of July.

Neighbouring Pakistan, which has had over 230,000 cases, keeps recording infections among government members.


Health minister Zafar Mirza was the latest one to test positive, he announced on Monday, only a few days after foreign minister Moahmood Qureshi said he had caught the virus.

Africa reopens airspace

Many countries in Africa have resumed or will soon resume flights in a bid to boost the tourism sector.

That is despite more than 460,000 confirmed cases on the continent, although mostly in South Africa and Egypt.

The latter reopened its airports on Wednesday, after three months of shutdown.


Senegal said international flights will begin on July 15. The 15 members of the Economic Community of West African States are set to reopen their airspace on July 21. Nigeria has said domestic flights restart on July 8 and Rwanda on August 1. Kenya Airways wants to resume international flights too.

Last week, the number of global flights jumped significantly. Between June 30 and July 2, the daily number of departures has almost doubled, according to AP.

Chile and Mexico's deaths climb up in hardly-hit Latin America

Meanwhile, in Latin America, where the total number of COVID-19 cases recently overtook Europe's, Chile crossed the 6,000 fatalities mark on Sunday.

It comes only a day after Mexico became the fifth country in the world for the number of deaths, hitting 30,000. Brazil, however, remains the area's worst-affected nation by far.


According to a Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center tally, coronavirus has taken over 530,000 lives and infected more than 11 million people globally.

Check out this article for comprehensive statistics on the pandemic.

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