IMF helps countries buy vaccines
The new allocation of so-called Special Drawing Rights would be the largest such expansion of foreign exchange reserves in IMF history. If final approval by the IMF Governing Council, as planned, reserves could be available by the end of August.
“It’s a blow in the arm for the world,” said Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, in a statement. “The SDR allocation will help every IMF member country – especially vulnerable countries – and strengthen their response to the COVID-19 crisis. “
Georgieva made the announcement as finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 countries gathered in Venice, Italy to discuss international tax reform, climate change and the global economic response to the pandemic . The IMF, established in 1944 to attempt to negotiate economic cooperation, has warned of a two-track economic recovery, with poor countries left behind while advanced economies expand rapidly.
(New York Times)
UK airlines challenge travel restrictions
LONDON – A group of UK airports and airlines sued the UK government on Friday, asking it to disclose the evidence behind its coronavirus travel restrictions which they say are ruining their business.
Manchester Airports Group, which owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, has taken the deal with airlines Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet, travel company Tui and British Airways parent company IAG. Travel agencies say the government’s “traffic light” system of classifying countries as low, medium or high risk is not transparent.
Only 27 countries and territories are on the “green list” which allows British residents to travel there without having to quarantine themselves upon their return. Arrivals from dozens of “orange list” countries must self-isolate at home for 10 days, while people arriving from “red list” countries, including India and Brazil, must self-quarantine in a government approved hotel.
The government says it will lift the self-isolation requirement for fully vaccinated Britons returning from Amber List countries on July 19. (AP)
Spain backs off after France calls for caution
LISBON – Spain’s top diplomat pushed back on French warnings about vacations in the Iberian Peninsula on Friday as holiday hotspots in southern Europe fear repeated changes to rules on who are allowed to visit discourage people from traveling.
French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune on Thursday advised people to “avoid Spain and Portugal as destinations” when booking their vacations as the French government is considering restrictions on travel to the Iberian neighbors, where COVID-19 infections are increasing.
Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya said the current wave was not translating into more hospitalizations and urged people to be “proportionate” in their response to pandemic trends.
“It is time for caution, not for panic,” she said at a press conference in Madrid. “There is no reason at this time to ask people to cancel their vacations.”
Visiting French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian urged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling.
“The vaccine is Spain’s doorstep,” he said.
The millions of tourists who arrive each year in Spain and Portugal are crucial for the economy and employment of the Iberian countries. The two hope that tourism will contribute to an economic recovery after the pandemic.
French tourists staying away would be a big blow.
Germany on Friday called the whole of Spain a “risk zone”, potentially discouraging travel there.
Portugal have also been hit by rule changes.
Portuguese businesses last month applauded when the country was placed on the UK’s ‘green list’, allowing UK tourists to skip quarantine when they return home. Three weeks later, amid a surge in COVID-19 infections, Portugal was removed from the list and the UK market dried up.
It is hoped that could change again after July 19, when the UK government removes the requirement for people traveling abroad to self-quarantine, provided they are fully vaccinated.
Germany this week relaxed its recent strict restrictions on travel to Portugal, which had discouraged the Portuguese tourism sector. Now, a negative test is enough for Germans returning from vacation to avoid quarantine.
Portugal, like Spain, expected this summer to be less bad than last year. The French minister’s comments changed that perspective, according to Viegas.
“There is no doubt that demand will drop now,” he told The Associated Press. (PA)
South Korea tightens social distancing
South Korea is taking social distancing in Seoul to its highest level, banning gatherings of three or more after 6 p.m. and ordering nightlife entertainment businesses to close, as coronavirus cases rise in the capital.
Next week, the country will move social distancing rules to the next level of 4 for Seoul, where the majority of new cases have emerged in recent days with widespread outbreaks in restaurants, bars and malls, officials said on Friday. responsible.
The latest wave is a setback for a country that has been hailed as a model for containing the outbreak without lockdown. South Korea has resisted tough action as it tried to avoid serious damage to the economy by managing outbreaks with targeted quarantine restrictions.
South Korea, where around 11% of its population is fully vaccinated, is among a number of countries facing an increase in infections with inoculation rates well below those of advanced economies such as Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, where more than 40% of their populations are fully vaccinated. Japan, with a full vaccination rate of just 15.6%, reimposed a state of emergency in Tokyo due to a wave of vaccination about two weeks before the Olympics were staged.
The measures to be imposed for the greater Seoul area are said to be the toughest since the South Korean government restricted businesses in Daegu city after an outbreak at a mega church early last year resulted in the first major wave of the country.
The restrictions will take effect on July 12 and last for two weeks, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said in a televised address. The country reported another day of record-breaking cases with 1,316 on Friday, down from 1,275 a day earlier and 826 a week ago. (Bloomberg)