UK to start 2-week international arrivals quarantine

By Karim El-Bar

LONDON (AA) – Home Secretary Priti Patel will unveil Friday new policies aimed at international visitors, including returning British citizens, coming into the UK.

Those coming into the UK will have to self-isolate for 14 days, and will be fined £1,000 if they fail to do so. They will be asked to provide their contact details on arrival and health officials will carry out spot checks to make sure they are following the rules.

The policy will come into effect in early June, and be reviewed every three weeks. Those from the Republic of Ireland will be unaffected.

Countries such as the US, South Korea, South Africa, Spain, and New Zealand all already have 14-day quarantine requirements for international visitors. Critics in the UK have publicly asked why the British government did not follow suit earlier.

The proposal had been floated earlier this month. At the time, Airlines UK, the trade body for UK airlines, said it “would effectively kill” international travel to and from the UK.

EasyJet has said it will offer limited domestic flights, and one international flight to Nice, France, from the middle of June. Ryanair and British Airways will return to some form of service from July.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic said today: “By introducing a mandatory 14-day self isolation for every single traveller entering the UK, the government’s approach will prevent flights from resuming.

“We are continually reviewing our flying programme and with these restrictions, there simply won’t be sufficient demand to resume passenger services before August at the earliest.”

“We know that as the Covid-19 crisis subsides, air travel will be a vital enabler of the UK’s economic recovery,” the spokeswoman said. “Therefore, we are calling for a multi-layered approach of carefully targeted public health and screening measures, which will allow for a successful and safe restart of international air travel for passengers and businesses.”

– New test

The Guardian reported on Friday that the UK will test coronavirus via a new spit test on 5,000 police and army staff.

The new test, which takes two minutes and requires the person to spit in a tube, is thought to be as or more accurate than the current test of throat and nose swabs.

Yesterday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that at least 5% of the UK population have developed COVID-19 antibodies, with 17% having done so in London, according to a study by the Office for National Statistics into the levels of immunity across the UK.

Experts still do not know what level of immunity people who have recovered form coronavirus have, or how long it lasts.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has spread to at least 188 countries and regions, with Europe and the US currently the worst hit.

The pandemic has killed more than 333,000 people worldwide, with over 5.1 million confirmed cases and more than 1.95 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University of the US.

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By Burak Dag

ANKARA (AA) - Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.

- Coronavirus in Turkey

Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday that Turkey doesn’t expect a second wave of the novel coronavirus, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.

Turkey also reported 931 more COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals over the past day, bringing the total number of recoveries in the country to 130,852.

Twenty-four more people died from virus, bringing the death total from the outbreak to 4,609. More than 2 million tests have been conducted so far nationwide.

As of Monday, Turkey began easing measures against COVID-19, with domestic flights and inter-city travel resuming and restaurants opening their doors to customers.

Over 77,000 Turkish citizens who went into precautionary coronavirus isolation after being evacuated from abroad have finished their quarantines in student dormitories, said a top Turkish official.


- Global coronavirus developments

Worldwide coronavirus cases exceeded 6.5 million, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

The worldwide death toll exceeded 386,000, while the number of people who recovered stands at more than 2.8 million.

The US is the worst-hit country, with the death toll surpassing 106,500.

Russia, still ranking third among countries with the most COVID-19 cases, reported more recoveries than infections on Wednesday, with 8,972 people discharged from hospitals while 8,536 were admitted.

Meanwhile in Africa, the death toll has risen to 4,493, with 149 more fatalities. South Africa emerged as the worst-hit African country in terms of cases with 35,800, while Egypt suffered the most deaths with 1,100.

Italy reported 71 more fatalities from coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 33,601, as the country lifted restrictions on regional travel and resumed international tourism.

Italy is also one of the first countries in Europe to reopen its borders to international tourism – hoping to relaunch its key tourist industry, hit hard by the pandemic.

Since the start of the outbreak, the death toll in France reached 29,021, with cases rising slightly to 151,677, up 352 from the previous day.

Spain’s Health Ministry confirmed that 240,300 people have now been infected by the virus in Spain – up nearly 400 from Tuesday, when 219 people tested positive compared to 137 on Monday and 71 on Sunday.

Belgium on Wednesday decided to further ease coronavirus-related restrictions, with cafes, restaurants, and gyms set to reopen on June 8.


- Worldwide protests over George Floyd killing

As protests over the brutal death of George Floyd continued to rock the US, Pope Francis condemned racism in any form but added that violence is self-destructive.

In the US, the Pentagon announced that it had transferred about 1,600 troops to the Washington, DC area in response to the ongoing protests.

Meanwhile, thousands of people took to the streets of London Wednesday to march in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and protest the killing of Floyd.

Turkey's ruling party spokesman hailed demands for equality in the US.

Former US Defense Secretary James Mattis slammed President Donald Trump on his handling of the Floyd issue, saying that Trump is "the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people."

Current Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he does not support Trump's proposal to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act to quell protests across the country.


- Other developments

The Libyan army took complete control of the Tripoli airport after it was under the control of warlord Khalifa Haftar’s forces for one year.

The Kosovo Assembly on Wednesday elected Avdullah Hoti prime minister, leading the country’s sixth government since it declared independence in 2008.

Russia on Wednesday congratulated Turkey on 100 years of diplomatic ties.

As anti-racism protests continue worldwide, boxing legend Muhammad Ali was commemorated Wednesday four years since his passing, not only for his talent in the ring but also his legacy in fighting racism and discrimination in the US.

The US announced Wednesday that Chinese airlines will be suspended from operating passenger flights to and from the US.

The move is reportedly retaliation for China not approving US airlines providing passenger service to China amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Economic Forum announced Wednesday that the 2021 Davos summit in Switzerland will be held under the theme of the Great Reset.

A senior PKK terrorist surrendered to Turkish security forces in southeastern Turkey, the country's Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday.