Coronavirus lockdown begins to ease worldwide with tourist sites reopening

1 June 2020, 20:17

By Megan White

The start of June has seen coronavirus restrictions ease from Asia to Europe to the United States, even as protests against police brutality sparked fears of new outbreaks in the US.

The Florida Keys welcomed visitors for the first time in two months, the Colosseum opened its ancient doors in Rome, ferries restarted in Bangladesh and golfers played in Greece.

But beaches in the Keys stayed closed because of protests over the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man pinned at the neck by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Countries around the Mediterranean Sea also tentatively kicked off a summer season where tourists could bask in their famously sunny beaches while being protected by social distancing measures.

Meanwhile, Spain reported no coronavirus deaths in a 24-hour period for the first time since March.

Around 6.19 million infections have been reported worldwide, with more than 372,000 people dying, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The Colosseum opened its ancient doors in Rome
The Colosseum opened its ancient doors in Rome. Picture: PA

Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum's archaeological park, said: "We are reopening a symbol. A symbol of Rome, a symbol for Italy.

“We are restarting in a positive way, with a different pace, with a more sustainable tourism."

A long line of masked visitors snaked outside the Vatican Museums, which include the Sistine Chapel, as they reopened for the first time in three months.

Italy is eager to reboot its tourism industry, which accounts for 13 per cent of its economy.

Strict crowd control measures are still in place at both landmarks, with visitors needing reservations to visit.

Their temperatures were taken before entering and masks were mandatory.

Visitors line up to enter the Vatican Museums on their reopening date
Visitors line up to enter the Vatican Museums on their reopening date. Picture: PA

Greece lifted lockdown measures for hotels, campsites, open-air cinemas, golf courses and public swimming pools, while beaches and museums reopened in Turkey, and bars, restaurants, cinemas and museums came back to life in the Netherlands.

The Dutch relaxation of coronavirus rules took place on a major holiday with the sun blazing, raising immediate fears of overcrowding in popular beach resorts.

The new rules let bars and restaurants serve up to 30 people inside if they keep social distancing, but there is no standing at bars and reservations are necessary.

In Asia, India registered 230 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing its total to 5,394 as the country's phased plan to ease its lockdown kicked in from Monday.

Authorities are moving forward with the easing even as experts say India is nowhere close to the peak of its outbreak.

South Korea's top infectious disease expert pleaded for people over 65, pregnant women and other medically vulnerable individuals to stay at home as officials struggle to trace and stem the spread of coronavirus amid increased public activity.

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Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, made the comments on Monday while addressing 24 new cases linked to a group of churches near Seoul, including the death of a man in his 70s.

She also raised concern over hundreds of transmissions linked to workplaces, including call centres and a massive warehouse operated by local e-commerce giant Coupang.