A Lufthansa spokesperson announced on Sunday, May 24, that the airline will resume flights to 20 destinations from mid-June. Destinations include Crete, Faro, Ibiza, Malaga, Mallorca, and Venice, with the flights to depart from the airline's central hub in Frankfurt. The expansion of operations comes two weeks after the airline, which is currently in talks with the German government over a 9 billion euro (9.8 billion USD) bailout, announced plans to resume flights to Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Toronto from June. According to the spokesperson, information on further destinations will be released by the end of the week.
Previously, on Wednesday, May 13, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced that Germany would begin easing border controls in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). All border crossings with France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Austria were reopened on May 15, with random checks in place. Business trips and family visits will reportedly be permitted. These borders are expected to fully reopen by June 15, should there not be a rise in COVID-19 cases in the interim. Access through all other borders will remain restricted until further notice.
Chancellor Angela Merkel also lifted some nationwide restrictions on May 6, allowing for the reopening of shops, businesses, and schools. Social distancing measures are to remain in place until June 5 at the earliest. The use of face masks in public spaces became compulsory on April 27, including on public transport and while shopping.
As of May 24, authorities have confirmed 180,328 COVID-19 cases nationwide, with 8283 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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