Governments Struggle With Reopening Amid Rise in Coronavirus Cases

As coronavirus cases around the world top 11.5 million, governments are struggling with how to reopen their economies, leading some to reimpose shutdowns or scale back previous reopening plans.

In Australia, officials announced Monday the closure of the border between Victoria and New South Wales, the country’s two most populous states, after a spike in new infections.  The closure is indefinite and marks the first such move in Australia since a flu pandemic 100 years ago.

Israel announced Monday it is closing all bars, clubs, gyms and public swimming pools because of a rise in cases in the country. It will also reduce occupancy at restaurants and places of worship. The country has more than 30,000 confirmed cases and more than 330 deaths.

In the United States, where cases have been rising in most states, authorities in some areas, including Florida and Texas, have reimposed restrictions.


Officials in Florida’s largest county, Miami-Dade, Monday ordered the closure of restaurants, gyms, fitness centers and other indoor venues. The county’s mayor, Carlos Gimenez, is allowing retail stores and hair salons to stay open. Beaches in the county will reopen Tuesday after they were closed for the July Fourth weekend.


In neighboring Georgia, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was diagnosed Monday with COVID-19. She says she has not shown symptoms and plans to work from her home office in isolation with her family.

In New York, nail salons opened on Monday, but indoor restaurant dining has been postponed indefinitely in order to prevent a rise in new infections.

Harvard University announced it will reopen in the fall with fewer than half of its undergraduates on campus and all courses taught remotely.

The top U.S. infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, said Monday the United States is “still knee-deep in the first wave” of the pandemic.

While cases of the virus have been increasing in many U.S. states, the number of new deaths is dropping. Just more than 200 were reported Monday compared with more than 300 reported last Monday.

Trump celebrated the trend in a tweet: “BREAKING NEWS: The Mortality Rate for the China Virus in the U.S. is just about the LOWEST IN THE WORLD! Also, deaths in the U.S. are way down, a tenfold decrease since the Pandemic height.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday turned down an invitation to visit the White House this week to celebrate the new regional free trade agreement with the presidents of the United States and Mexico because of the coronavirus.

India reported more than 23,000 new coronavirus cases Monday, pushing its total during the pandemic past Russia’s for third most in the world. India now trails only the United States and Brazil in terms of overall confirmed cases.


The country is closed to international travel, but the government has been gradually lifting restrictions on local tourism to try to boost the economy.

But in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, officials have extended lockdowns on businesses, monuments and other attractions in the city of Agra, including at the Taj Mahal, amid the continued spread of COVID-19.

“In the interest of the public, it has been decided that opening monuments in Agra will not be advisable as of now,” the district authorities said in a notice published in Hindi.

The Taj Mahal and other tourist sites in Agra have been closed since March.

In Pakistan, Minister of State for Health Zafar Mirza tested positive for the coronavirus, the latest high profile government minister to contract the virus, after Foreign Minister Moahmood Qureshi announced last week he tested postive. Both men say their cases are mild.

Greece said Monday it is banning travelers from Serbia until July 15 after the number of cases there rose.

In Spain, a county in the northwestern part of the country is on lockdown all week because authorities fear a new COVID-19 outbreak.


Officials in La Marina in the Galicia region placed all 70,000 residents in a countywide quarantine after several bars in the area reported new cases.

Only essential travel in and out of the county is allowed and gatherings of more than 10 people are forbidden.

Spain has been one of Europe’s COVID-19 hotspots with more than 250,000 cases and 28,000 deaths.

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has put the next phase of his country’s reopening on hold for two weeks because of a 50% jump in the number of coronavirus cases in the past several days. Buses were to have started running and some businesses and factories were to have started to reopen Tuesday.

Ahead of the start of the hajj pilgrimage that typically draws 2.5 million Muslims in Saudi Arabia, the government said it will limit the number of pilgrims to 1,000.

Muslims from outside Saudi Arabia are not allowed this year, and according to new rules announced Monday, pilgrims will not be allowed to touch the Kaaba and will have to maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 meters while performing rituals and prayers.

The heads of Japan’s professional baseball and football leagues have decided to allow fans at games starting Friday.  Stadiums will start with a maximum of 5,000 fans, or 50% of the venue’s capacity, whichever is smaller.

In Paris, the Louvre, one of the world’s most visited museums, reopened Monday. Visitors are required to wear masks and observe social distancing rules, and must use hand sanitizer provided at entrances.