A waiter wearing a protective face shield and mask serves customers at a Third Street Promenade restaurant on June 21, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

European Union may opt to keep Americans out: Globa virus update

A waiter wearing a protective face shield and mask serves customers at a Third Street Promenade restaurant on June 21, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Key Developments:

EU May Opt to Keep Americans Out

The European Union may decide to keep the door shut to Americans when the bloc eases controls on its external borders.

Diplomats from the 27-nation EU are scheduled to convene Wednesday to discuss the criteria for lifting a curb on non-essential travel to the bloc as of July 1. One of the criteria up for discussion is “reciprocity,” which would mean U.S. citizens wouldn’t be allowed into the bloc starting next month because Europeans are still barred for health reasons from traveling to their country.

Europe is trying to revive domestic economies as the summer tourist season gets underway while guarding against a second wave of infections. The restrictions were introduced in mid-March for 30 days and extended three times through June as Europe battled to contain the coronavirus.

NYC Beaches Will Reopen July 1 for Swimming

New York City beaches will reopen for swimming on July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday. Lifeguards will be on duty, and social distancing and face coverings are still required on the beach.

The city is also considering 22,000 layoffs of city employees to cut $1 billion of expenses after lockdown-related revenue losses.

NYC Marathon Cancelled

The New York City Marathon, the world’s biggest, has been cancelled due to the coronarvirus, its organisers said. The 26.2-mile (42 kilometre) race, which would have celebrated its 50th anniversary in November, attracts more than 50,000 runners and about 1 million spectators. It is one of the city’s biggest events of the year and major boon for business.

UK Must Prepare for Second Wave: Doctors

In a letter published in the British Medical Journal, doctors including the presidents of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Physicians warned that local flare-ups are likely and a second wave is a real risk. Preparing for that possibility is now urgent, as is a review of national preparedness, they said.

“The review should not be about looking back or attributing blame,” the letter said. “It should be a rapid and forward-looking assessment of national preparedness.”

Cancer Immune Therapies Linked to Severe COVID in Study

Cancer patients treated with medicines that unleash the immune system to attack tumours are more likely to be hospitalised with respiratory complications from COVID-19, according to a study. The findings suggest that while immune therapies known as checkpoint inhibitors may increase the risk of developing severe coronavirus symptoms, other treatments like chemotherapy may not.

The research published in the journal Nature Medicine seeks to shed more light on the link between COVID-19 and cancer. Little is known about the connection between the two illnesses and the impact of various medicines, the authors wrote.

“Until further evidence is available, it is prudent not to alter treatment decisions but to consider increased vigilance with SARS CoV-2 testing in patients initiating or continuing treatment” with immune therapies, according to the research.

Switzerland to Normalise Travel Within Schengen Area

Switzerland aims to normalise travel within Europe’s Schengen area by July 6, Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said at a press conference in Bern on Wednesday.

Scotland Joins England in Easing Lockdown Restrictions

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accelerated the easing of lockdown rules amid growing political pressure to get people back to work and restart the critical tourism industry.

“Our pace is slightly slower than England’s, but it is, in my view, right for our circumstances,” Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Oxford University Seeks to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing

Oxford University said testing for coronavirus infection could become quicker and more accurate, following the launch of a multicenter UK program of research to evaluate how new diagnostic tests perform in hospitals, general practices and care homes.

The COVID-19 National DiagnOstic Research and Evaluation Platform, or CONDOR, will create a single national route for evaluating new diagnostic tests in UK hospitals and in community health care settings.

Beijing Outbreak Contained, Health Official Says

Beijing’s latest outbreak of coronavirus has now been contained, Lei Haichao, head of Beijing Municipal Health Commission, said at a briefing. The virus spread very fast and a large number of cases emerged in a short period, Lei said.

It took only five days for the number of confirmed cases in the latest outbreak to rise from zero to 100, compared with 11 days for the outbreak at the beginning of 2020. Beijing now has a total of 256 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Germany Sees Higher Infection Count

The rising infections in Germany have been due to local outbreaks, including in two municipalities in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In the district of Guetersloh, more than 1,900 people were infected, most of them working at a local meat plant.

Infections Rising in Australia’s Second-Most Populous State

The state of Victoria had 20 new cases in the past 24 hours and one man in his 80s died, bringing the national fatality total from the pandemic to 103. The state’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said on Wednesday that the virus’s reproduction number in the past week had risen to an “unacceptably high” rate of 2.5.

Melbourne is the capital of Victoria. Other states such as Queensland and Western Australia have closed their borders, and the spike in cases in Victoria may delay when they will reopen.

Health Officials Haven’t Spoken to Trump

Top US health officials told lawmakers that they haven’t discussed the COVID-19 pandemic with President Donald Trump for more than two weeks, a period in which cases have surged in some of the most populous states.

Trump has blamed the wave of infections on testing and said at a rally in Oklahoma Saturday that he told his administration to rein in screening. However, Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, and Robert Redfield, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief, both said Tuesday that they haven’t been asked to slow down.

“It’s the opposite,” Fauci said at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday. “We’re going to be doing more testing, not less.”

Most of the officials indicated that they have recently had little communication with the president. Fauci and Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said they haven’t spoken to Trump about the virus in about two and a half weeks. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said it had been “some time” since he’d spoke to Trump. Redfield declined to say when he last spoke to the president.