Biden Says No Campaign Rallies, EU Bars Visitors From US

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US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Tuesday he will not hold campaign rallies because of the coronavirus pandemic as the European Union reopened its borders to visitors from 15 countries -- but not the virus-stricken US, Brazil or Russia.

Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, warned that the United States could see 100,000 new COVID-19 cases a day and several US states imposed 14-day quarantines on travelers from other states.

Biden, 77, delivered a blistering critique of his November opponent Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic, saying the Republican president had "failed" the country.

Pubs in England are set to open this weekend Pubs in England are set to open this weekend  AFP / Adrian DENNIS

The former vice president said he will not hold rallies during the outbreak, a move that is in stark contrast with Trump, who has already held large campaign gatherings.

"This is the most unusual campaign I think in modern history," Biden said. "I'm going to follow the doc's orders -- not just for me but for the country -- and that means that I am not going to be holding rallies."

COVID-19: World toll COVID-19: World toll  AFP / Valentine GRAVELEAU

In Brussels, the EU finalized the list of countries whose health situation was deemed safe enough to allow residents to enter the bloc starting on July 1.

The United States was notably excluded, along with Russia and Brazil.

Palestinian health workers transport the body of a coronavirus victim for burial Palestinian health workers transport the body of a coronavirus victim for burial  AFP / HAZEM BADER

Those on the list are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Japan, Georgia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Travelers from China, where the virus first emerged late last year, will be allowed on the condition that Beijing reciprocates and opens the door to EU residents.

US President Donald Trump is under growing pressure to set an example by wearing a face mask US President Donald Trump is under growing pressure to set an example by wearing a face mask  AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM

The border relaxation, to be reviewed in two weeks and left to member states to implement, is a bid to help rescue the continent's battered tourism sector, which has been choked by a ban on non-essential travel in place since mid-March.

But with some 10.3 million known infections worldwide, the pandemic is "not even close to being over," the World Health Organization has warned.

The World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is "actually speeding up The World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is "actually speeding up"  AFP / Arun SANKAR

Army of women health workers on India's virus front line Army of women health workers on India's virus front line  AFPTV / Maude BRULARD

In Washington, Fauci, a member of Trump's coronavirus task force, warned Congress that new cases could more than double to 100,000 per day if steps are not taken to suppress the pandemic.

"Clearly we are not in total control right now," he said. "I would not be surprised if it goes up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around."

A woman is tested at a walk-in testing centre opened by German biotech company Centogene, at the airport in Frankfurt am Main A woman is tested at a walk-in testing centre opened by German biotech company Centogene, at the airport in Frankfurt am Main  AFP / Daniel ROLAND

Alarming spikes in cases in Texas and Florida are driving the daily national total of new cases to over 40,000 per day, and they need to be tamped down quickly to avoid dangerous surges elsewhere in the country, Fauci stressed.

Asked about a final death toll, Fauci declined to speculate but said it would be a "very disturbing" number. The pandemic has claimed some 126,000 American lives so far and more than 506,000 around the globe.

IMAGES AND SOUNDBITESUS presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden takes aim at President Donald Trump's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, vowing to prioritize curbing the spread of the virus if he is elected president and predicting the healt IMAGES AND SOUNDBITESUS presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden takes aim at President Donald Trump's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, vowing to prioritize curbing the spread of the virus if he is elected president and predicting the health crisis will be ongoing in January 2021.  DC POOL /

Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican who chairs the Senate panel, urged Trump to end the politicization of mask-wearing by putting on one himself.

"The president has plenty of admirers, they would follow his lead," Alexander said. "It would help end this political debate."

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Tuesday doubled to 16 the number of US states whose residents must go into quarantine for 14 days if they visit any of the northeastern states.

The Pan American Health Organization warned meanwhile that the coronavirus death toll in Latin America and the Caribbean could top 400,000 by October without stricter public health measures.

That would represent a quadrupling of the fatal cases of COVID-19 in the region.

The number of infections has stabilized in many European nations but the lifting of lockdown measures is still touch-and-go as governments try to reboot economies facing historic recessions.

European aircraft maker Airbus said it is planning to cut around 15,000 jobs worldwide, 11 percent of its total workforce.

Britain, home to Europe's deadliest outbreak, has already seen its sharpest quarterly contraction in 40 years, shrinking 2.2 percent from January-March.

The worst is yet to come, with economists predicting a double-digit slump in output during the second quarter, tipping Britain into a technical recession.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Tuesday to deliver a "infrastructure revolution" to help the country out of the economic downturn.

In the meantime, his government is employing a "whack-a-mole" strategy of targeted lockdowns.

While the government plans to reopen pubs, restaurants and hairdressers on July 4, schools and non-essential shops in Leicester, central England, have been ordered to close after a localized outbreak.

Germany, which has been praised for its handling of COVID-19, also saw its North Rhine-Westphalia state extend a lockdown on a district hit hard by a slaughterhouse outbreak.

Around the world, sporting events continued to fall off the calendar, including the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and the remainder of this year's World Rugby Sevens Series.

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