Coronavirus around the world

  • Between Norway and Sweden, two countries proud of their freedom of movement, a closed border separates families

    Adrian Øhrn JohansenMay 28 at 6:00 AM 4LWH2EV4UEI6XERKYQGJO5F4JA.jpgCounty Road 206 in Asnes municipality, Norway, on April 21. (Adrian Øhrn Johansen)

    4YIWUDF4UEI6XERKYQGJO5F4JA.jpgSigns point in the direction of each country. (Adrian Øhrn Johansen)


    The road barriers might look almost charmingly simple and provisional, but they have completely changed the daily lives of tens of thousands of Norwegians and Swedes.

    The agreement that gives citizens of the Nordic countries the right to move freely within the region is among the oldest of its kind in the world, dating to the 1950s. The border itself has remained unchanged since 1751, and it is the oldest and one of the longest consecutive borders between two countries in Europe. Some crossings, on old and narrow dirt roads, weren’t even marked by proper signs. No signs were needed. Until March of last year, that is.

    Until last year, people hardly noticed as they crossed between the two nations. It has often been hard to tell exactly when you were leaving one country for the other. More often than not, a small blue sign reading “Sverige” was the only indication Norwegians had that they were leaving their home country for Sweden.

    But with Sweden’s approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic being significantly more relaxed than Norway’s, the old borderless way of life is just a memory, at least for now.

    Today, the few drivers approaching the border between Norway and Sweden are met either by military personnel, police patrols, physical barricades or all of the above. Fourteen months after the pandemic was declared, strict Norwegian travel restrictions are still enforced along the more than 1,000-mile-long border, and only those who are willing to go through a 10-day quarantine may pass, with a few exceptions.

    It may ease soon. Sweden plans to reopen border crossings with neighbors, including Norway, beginning Monday.

    Over the past few months, driving along the Norwegian side of the border, from the southern town of Halden to the northern one of Narvik, I’ve met people who’ve had their daily lives turned upside down. People are prohibited from having coffee with their next-door neighbors or celebrating birthdays in person. For a while, they were even barred from simply going to work. Close relatives haven’t seen one another in more than a year, married couples cannot meet and people are prevented from attending weddings and funerals — all because of these seemingly harmless barricades.


    Washington Post, 28 May, 2021

  • Peru this week adjusted its official pandemic death toll to include more than 100,000 additional fatalities it says can now be attributed directly to covid-19. The revision means that the nation of about 33 million people now has the worst coronavirus mortality rate per capita in the world.

    Peru’s government broadened the criteria for classifying virus-related deaths at the recommendation of an expert panel, which found that the official toll, based solely on positive test results, probably was a vast undercount.”


    Read the entire article, which is not paywalled, in today’s Washington Post.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com…F60b605279d2fdae302699f28

  • New variants coming from Portugal? This appeared in The Telegraph today:

    Portugal is set to be axed from the UK’s green list, forcing thousands of British holidaymakers to cancel their trips or cut short their breaks to avoid quarantine.

    Ministers are understood to have decided on Thursday morning to add Portugal to the amber list from next Tuesday at 4am after tests revealed what are believed to be previously-unknown variants of Covid.
  • New variants coming from Portugal? This appeared in The Telegraph today:

    Portugal is set to be axed from the UK’s green list, forcing thousands of British holidaymakers to cancel their trips or cut short their breaks to avoid quarantine.

    Ministers are understood to have decided on Thursday morning to add Portugal to the amber list from next Tuesday at 4am after tests revealed what are believed to be previously-unknown variants of Covid.

    No surprise...according to the experts this virus is here to stay in some shape or form for years to come. I suspect the countries who rely a lot on tourism have been telling porkies.


  • British Tourists Rush Home From Portugal Ahead of New Quarantine

    By The Associated Press June 6, 2021

    Thousands of Britons scrambled to leave over the weekend, even paying extra to rebook flights, in an effort to beat the Tuesday deadline for a new quarantine order Britain imposed on those returning from Portugal.


  • British Tourists Rush Home From Portugal Ahead of New Quarantine

    By The Associated Press June 6, 2021

    Thousands of Britons scrambled to leave over the weekend, even paying extra to rebook flights, in an effort to beat the Tuesday deadline for a new quarantine order Britain imposed on those returning from Portugal.

    Madness!

    This is precisely the kind of situation - little social distancing - that should be avoided, surely?