Global Virus Deaths Pass 650,000 As New Surges Prompt Fresh Curbs

    (AFP)— Officials around the world reintroduced a raft of restrictions Monday — from beach closures to quarantine measures — to try to damp down coronavirus hotspots as the official death toll passed 650,000.

    European countries trying to repair the economic damage caused by the earlier lockdowns, struggled to balance keeping the lifeline of tourism open while guarding against fresh flare-ups of infection.

    Spain’s tourism industry faced fresh misery after British travellers — and one major tour operator — cancelled flights there following London’s decision to reintroduce quarantine for travellers returning from the country.

    Hong Kong ordered the mandatory wearing of masks in public in response to a new wave of infections.

    Belgium tightened its social distancing measures to try to halt what one expert called a “worrying” surge in cases.

    In Washington meanwhile, the White House announced that another senior administration figure, national security advisory Robert O’Brien, had contracted the virus.

    But as the grim figures kept rolling in, the World Health Organization argued against a wholesale closing of borders.

    This was “not necessarily a sustainable strategy for the world’s economy, for the world’s poor, or for anybody else,” said WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan.

    A “global one-size-fits-all policy” was impossible because outbreaks were developing differently in different countries, he added.