As countries are beginning to lift border restrictions, some of the world’s most famous heritage sites have also followed suit, with plans on reopening their doors.
Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity and the ruins of ancient Pompeii in Italy reopened to pilgrims and tourists on Tuesday, as countries further eased coronavirus controls and reopened shuttered economies. For many nations, including hard-hit Italy and Spain, the summer season will be key to saving what is left of the tourism industry and the latest tentative steps out of lockdown buoyed world markets.
But, while now past its peak in Asia and much of Europe, the new coronavirus is continuing its spread. On Tuesday the number of case passed the 5.5 million mark, according to an AFP tally of official sources. The number of declared cases in the world has doubled in a month and more than one million new cases of COVID-19 have been registered in the last 11 days. More than 346,000 deaths have been recorded worldwide.
The virus, and the associated national economic and social lockdowns decreed to halt its spread, have also plunged the world economy into a terrible slump — and ominous figures and forecasts continue to pile up.