Shares in Japan slipped on Friday following local media reports the country’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is set to step down. Abe later confirmed his surprise resignation during a Friday press conference after the market close in Japan. Amid fears of ‘ghost towns,’ the U.K. will prod workers to go back to the office. Senior Technical Analyst Jim Wyckoff prepares investors with an overview of how the markets opened and closed. What moved metal prices? How do the technicals look? By looking at important developments Forex news from the European trading session – 28 August 2020
– JPY leads, USD lags on the day
– European equities mixed; E-minis up ~0.3%
By Justin Low Kamala Harris, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, attacks President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis in a speech on… To keep tourism afloat during the pandemic, some countries formed travel alliances with their neighbors. At summer’s end, the experiment has had mixed results.
Stocks in Asia Pacific’s major markets were mixed on Friday as investors reacted to recent developments from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Shares in Japan fell. The Nikkei 225 closed 1.41% lower at 22,882.65 after dropping more than 2% earlier during the session. The Topix index shed 0.68% to end its trading day at 1,604.87.
The moves came following local media reports the country’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was set to resign. Abe later confirmed his surprise resignation during a Friday press conference after the market close in Japan.
NHK had reported earlier that Abe plans to step down to “deal with a health problem,” citing sources close to the prime minister. A similar report emerged from Kyodo News, citing a source in Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, that the Japanese prime minister “will step down from his post due to health concerns.”
The Japanese yen changed hands at 105.57 per dollar following the report, after seeing an earlier low of 106.94 against the greenback.
Mainland Chinese stocks led gains among the region’s major markets, with the Shanghai composite up 1.6% to approximately 3,403.81 while the Shenzhen component gained 2.336% to around 13,851.32. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.56% to finish its trading day at 25,422.06.
South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.4% to close at 2,353.80.
The S&P/NZX 50 in New Zealand edged 0.333% higher to close at 12,093.52. Earlier on Friday, the stock exchange was down for the fourth day in a row following cyber attacks earlier this week. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.86% on the day to 6,073.80.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.18%.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced Thursday a major policy shift by the U.S. central bank to “average inflation targeting.” That means the Fed will allow inflation to run “moderately” above the central bank’s 2% goal “for some time” after periods when it has run below that objective.
The Fed also adjusted its view of full employment to allow gains in the labor market to run more broadly. That indicated that the central bank will be less inclined to raise interest rates when the unemployment rate falls, as long as inflation does not creep up as well.
“All this adds up to a view that the Fed Funds rate is going nowhere at least until the Fed can look 2%+ inflation in the whites of its eyes,” Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note. “Rates have barely budged at the shorter end of the yield curve, the money market not priced for a first Fed Funds rate rise until about four years from now.”
JPMorgan Asset Managment’s Tai Hui agreed with Attrill’s view, telling CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday that the Fed is “likely to keep its policy rates at a a very low level for an extended period of time even beyond … the recovery … from the pandemic.”
“The fact that it’s average rather than … single-sided, it means that the Fed is gonna keep rates very low. So that will be great for risk assets,” said Hui, who is Asia chief market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.334 after touching an earlier high of 93.096.
The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.731 following its rise this week from levels below $0.72.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with the international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.4% to $44.91 per dollar. U.S. crude futures shed 0.39% to $42.87 per barrel.
— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.
Author: Eustance Huang
U.K. Urges Workers to Return to Offices: Live Business Updates
The British government has a new message to deliver: It’s safe to return to work.
Starting next week, when schools reopen, the government will begin an ad campaign designed to reassure people that their workplaces have been made safe over the summer and they can return to them with the right health and safety precautions.
“Next week we will showcase the benefits of returning safely to work and raise awareness of companies getting this right,” a government spokesperson said.
The advertisements, to be placed mainly in local and regional media, come amid mounting concern from some business groups that prolonged working from home is seriously harming the economies of town and city centers that rely on commuters.
But many companies don’t want to be seen to be pressuring their employees to return. Recently the British asset management firm Schroders (with about 3,000 employees in Britain) said it would permanently allow flexible working, and the trading company IG (about 750 employees) said none of its staff would be required to return this year, though its office would reopen on Sept. 7.
Across all industries, 40 percent of people said they were working remotely, according to a survey earlier this month by the Office for National Statistics. But in certain sectors — including education, communications and legal services — the share of people working from home jumped to more than three-quarters.
Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the Confederation of British Industry, said that getting people back into offices and workplaces was as essential to the economy as schools reopening. “The costs of office closure are becoming clearer by the day,” she wrote in op-ed published in The Daily Mail on Thursday. “Some of our busiest city centers resemble ghost towns, missing the usual bustle of passing trade.”
The White House wants the Treasury Department to ensure that companies, not workers, will be held liable for paying the employee portion of the payroll tax when President Trump’s tax holiday ends.
The Treasury Department has not been willing to issue such guidance, though it is unclear why. Businesses, which have been fielding questions from their employees about when the tax cuts will begin, would prefer that Congress legislate any changes to tax policy. It is also not clear that the White House would have the legal authority to shift the tax burden in such a manner.
The president’s executive order suspends payments, but employees will be on the hook to pay the deferred taxes back when the tax holiday ends. Many companies are expected to opt out of participating to avoid sticking their employees with a giant bill next year.
The dispute between the White House and the Treasury Department over the guidance was reported earlier by Bloomberg News. A department spokeswoman declined to comment. Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, did not dispute that the Trump administration wanted companies to be liable for the tax but said he would not comment on internal policy deliberations.
The payroll tax suspension plan has been fraught from the beginning. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was skeptical of the idea and has said participation would be optional. Mr. Trump has said that he will push Congress to make the tax deferral permanent if he is re-elected, but if Democrats retain control of the House of Representatives, more tax cuts are unlikely.
European stock indexes wavered on Friday as investors digested the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to take a more accommodating approach to inflation, while Japanese shares were roiled by news that Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, would step down because of ill health.
In Europe, the benchmark Euro Stoxx 600 was 0.1 percent lower. Tokyo’s Nikkei, which had been in positive territory before the announcement about Mr. Abe, finished 1.4 percent lower. Other Asian indexes were mixed.
On Wall Street, futures pointed to a modest gain when trading starts.
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury notes, which slumped Thursday after the Fed announced a new policy that suggested longer periods of low interest rates, rose slightly on Friday. Oil futures were unchanged, while gold was having a good day, up 1.4 percent.
The Fed chair, Jerome H. Powell, said Thursday that the central bank would continue to stimulate the economy even if inflation briefly rises above the target level of 2 percent. The change in tactics suggested interest rates would remain low. The news caused turbulence in the markets, but the S&P 500 ended the session up 0.17 percent for another record high.
Mr. Abe’s decision to step down as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister could mark the end of “Abenomics,” his combination of monetary easing, fiscal stimulation and corporate reform. The policies restored some economic health to Japan, but its promises of change in the corporate world — including efforts to empower women, reduce the influence of nepotism and change entrenched work culture — remained unfulfilled.
A new kind of corporate consultant has emerged. Their larger goal is to soften cruel capitalism, making space for the soul, and to encourage employees to ask if what they are doing is good in a higher sense, reports Nellie Bowles.
Before the pandemic, these agencies got their footing helping companies with design — refining their products, physical spaces and branding. They also consulted on strategy, workflow and staff management. With digital workers stuck at home since March, a new opportunity has emerged. Employers are finding their workers atomized and agitated, and are looking for guidance to bring them back together. Now the sacred consultants are helping to usher in new rituals for shapeless workdays, and trying to give employees routines that are imbued with meaning.
Ezra Bookman founded Ritualist, which describes itself as “a boutique consultancy transforming companies and communities through the art of ritual,” last year in Brooklyn. He has come up with rituals for small firms for events like the successful completion of a project — or, if one fails, a funeral.
“How do we help people process the grief when a project fails and help them to move on from it?” Mr. Bookman said.
Messages on the start-up’s Instagram feed read like a kind of menu for companies who want to buy operational rites a la carte: “A ritual for purchasing your domain name (aka your little plot of virtual land up in the clouds).” “A ritual for when you get the email from LegalZoom that you’ve been officially registered as an LLC.”
The only Gap Inc. brand to post a sales increase in the second quarter was Athleta, its athleisure chain, while its worst drop was at the office garb-focused Banana Republic, which saw its business halved. Gap, which also owns Old Navy and its namesake chain, reported an 18 percent sales decline to $3.3 billion for the three months ended Aug. 1 and a net loss of $62 million. Gap said on its earnings call that it sold $130 million in face masks during the quarter and secured the No. 1 Google search result for “face mask style guide.”
The Federal Reserve, in a significant shift that could keep interest rates low for longer periods, said it would focus on keeping unemployment low and allow inflation to run slightly higher in good times. The Fed chair, Jerome H. Powell, announced the change in a speech on Thursday at the Kansas City Fed’s annual Jackson Hole symposium that was accompanied by an updated long-run statement describing the Fed’s policy strategy. He said the shifts would allow the gains of a strong economy to benefit a wide range of workers.
Lord & Taylor said on Thursday that it was starting liquidation sales at its 38 stores and website after filing for bankruptcy earlier this month and failing to find a buyer. The retailer is owned by the clothing rental start-up Le Tote, which purchased Lord & Taylor in an unusual $100 million deal last year. The companies sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Aug. 2, saying that they were already under pressure before the pandemic “greatly compounded” their challenges.
United Airlines said it plans to cut 2,850 pilots this fall unless Congress extends funding it provided to airlines under the stimulus law passed in March. The airline previously said it could furlough as many as 36,000 employees in all, including pilots, starting Oct. 1, when a ban on broad job cuts, a condition of the aid, expires.
Author: Eshe Nelson
Gold, silver down in volatile, 2-sided trading day
(Kitco News) – Gold and silver prices are trading solidly lower at midday Thursday, in a wild trading day that saw gold prices trade over $30 higher at one point, and down over $25 at another. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s highly anticipated speech today was deemed bullish, but metals traders quickly discounted it, instead focusing on the metals-bearish aspects of rising U.S. Treasury bond yields as a competing asset. October gold futures were last down $25.90 an ounce at $1,918.20. September Comex silver prices were last down $0.499 at $26.94 an ounce.
Focus of the marketplace today was on Powell’s speech on the U.S. economy, as part of the annual Jackson Hole meeting that is this year virtual. His speech focused on the Fed changing its monetary policy course and becoming much less concerned about inflation even if it briefly rises above the Fed’s annual 2% target. The upshot is that it will likely be a very long time before the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. Not overlooked by the Fed is the fact that massive U.S. deficit spending the past few months can be better rectified by higher inflation and a depreciating U.S. dollar.
For gold and silver traders, it could also be a classic case of “buy the rumor and sell the fact” for Powell’s speech on inflation today. Rallying prices in metals and many raw commodity markets recently appeared to already be sensing inflation, and maybe even problematic inflation, could be in store in the coming months, following the massive infusion of central bank liquidity into the global financial system in recent months, to stimulate economies crippled by Covid-19 lockdowns.
Global stock markets were mixed overnight. The U.S. stock indexes are mixed in midday trading. After the S&P 500 and Nasdaq stock indexes hit record highs this week, U.S. traders and investors are now a bit more risk averse late this week, as racial tensions in America are on the rise again. Several professional sports teams opted not to play their games Wednesday, following police shooting an African American man in Wisconsin. Also, Hurricane Laura is inflicting serious damage on the Louisiana and eastern Texas coast Thursday.
The important outside markets today see Nymex crude oil prices down and trading around $42.80 a barrel. Hurricane Laura is lashing Texas and Louisiana and has shut in much of the U.S. Gulf coast oil and gas installations. That pushed gasoline futures prices to a five-month high this week. The U.S. dollar index is near steady in choppy trading.
Technically, October gold futures bulls still have the firm overall near-term technical advantage amid choppy trading at higher levels. Prices are still in a five-month-old uptrend on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price objective is to produce a close in October futures above solid resistance at $2,000.00. Bears’ next near-term downside price objective is pushing futures prices below solid technical support at the August low of $1,865.00. First resistance is seen at Wednesday’s high of $1,955.50 and then at today’s high of $1,978.50. First support is seen at this week’s low of $1,901.40 and then at $1,900.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 7.0
September silver futures bulls still have the firm overall near-term technical advantage amid a five-month-old price uptrend in place on the daily bar chart. Silver bulls’ next upside price objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at the August high of $29.915 an ounce. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at $25.00. First resistance is seen at $27.50 and then at today’s high of $28.035. Next support is seen at last week’s low of $26.095 and then at $26.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 7.0.
September N.Y. copper closed up 95 points at 297.10 cents today. Prices closed nearer the session high today. The copper bulls have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. Copper bulls’ next upside price objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at 310.00 cents. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at the August low of 276.90 cents. First resistance is seen at 300.00 cents and then at the August high of 302.95 cents. First support is seen at this week’s low of 291.15 cents and then at 288.00 cents. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 7.5.
ForexLive European FX news wrap: Yen surges as Abe resigns, dollar languishes
- JPY leads, USD lags on the day
- European equities mixed; E-minis up ~0.3%
- US 10-year yields down 0.6 bps to 0.745%
- Gold up 1.7% to $1,962.00
- WTI flat at $43.05
- Bitcoin up 1.6% to $11,450
The big story of the session was the surprise resignation of Shinzo Abe as Japanese prime minister. Up until earlier, it was expected that he would address the public on his health concerns and carry on with the post.
But today marks the end of an era in Japanese politics as Abe steps down since taking over as prime minister – the longest-serving one in Japan – back in 2006.
The news triggered a risk-off spin in Japanese markets and that lid a fire under the yen as the currency turned early losses into more sustained gains on the session.
USD/JPY dipped from 106.70 to 106.10 initially but a follow through wave of selling – helped by dollar weakness – sees the pair tumble to 105.30 levels currently.
Stocks traded more mixed in general but Treasury yields saw a reversal with 10-year yields having been up by 3 bps to 0.786% earlier, before falling to 0.745% now.
The dollar’s woes are also not helped by likely month-end rebalancing flows as the greenback gets battered across the board.
EUR/USD moved up from 1.1860 to 1.1920 while GBP/USD made fresh eight-month highs in a push above 1.3300. USD/CAD continues to sink to fresh seven-month lows near 1.3050 while AUD/USD is at its highest since December 2018 in a push above 0.7300.
The market is still largely digesting the Fed event from yesterday and for now, the verdict appears to be a clear run lower for the dollar as it continues to languish with little technical support to help out the currency at the moment.
Kamala Harris blasts Trump’s coronavirus response: ‘He was fixated on the stock market over fixing the problem’
The line above came Thursday from Kamala Harris, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, as she delivered a speech in which she attacked President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Harris went on to say that Trump tweeted about the market “consistently during this period. He was convinced that if his administration focused on this virus, it would hurt the market and hurt his chances of being re-elected.”
“Second, right at the moment we needed Donald Trump to be tough on the Chinese government, he caved,” she added, noting that Trump praised Beijing’s response to COVID-19 in January.
Related:Trump says his executive actions on coronavirus aid led to stock market’s gain
In her roughly 20-minute speech from Washington, D.C., the Democratic vice presidential nominee also said a pandemic is “relentless — you can’t stop it with a tweet.”
In addition, she criticized this week’s Republican National Convention, a four-day event that ends tonight with a speech from Trump.
“The Republican convention is designed for one purpose — to soothe Donald Trump’s ego, to make him feel good,” Harris said.
“But here’s the thing. He’s the president of the United States, and it’s not supposed to be about him. It’s supposed to be about the health and the safety and the well-being of the American people. And on that measure, Donald Trump has failed.”
See: Trump to attack Biden tonight as a ‘weak candidate with a poor record’
Harris also addressed the recent shooting by police in Kenosha, Wis., of a Black man, Jacob Blake, saying it was “sickening” and she supported those protesting peacefully. She said the country must have criminal-justice reform and address systemic racism.
Author: Victor Reklaitis
Remember the ‘Travel Bubble’? Here’s How It Burst
To keep tourism afloat during the pandemic, some countries formed travel alliances with their neighbors. At summer’s end, the experiment has had mixed results.
- Aug. 28, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET
One of the strategies for keeping international travel afloat during the pandemic was the creation of “travel bubbles”: alliances between neighboring nations with low infection rates that would allow travelers from those countries to freely visit.
But as the summer draws to a close and infections continue to pop up, it appears that, in many places, the travel bubble has burst.
There was a lot riding on the alliances. The pause on international tourism doesn’t just spoil family vacations; it affects the global economy in profound ways, too. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that about one in 10 jobs are related to tourism and travel. For popular destinations like Greece, where the tourism sector is responsible for about 40 percent of jobs, the effect is even more significant.
In May, New Zealand and Australia garnered attention when they announced a plan to create one of the first travel partnerships during the pandemic. The “Trans-Tasman bubble” would allow citizens of each country to travel to the other without a quarantine or a test. The hope was to enact it by early September, but in early August, a coronavirus outbreak in the Australian state of Victoria put those plans on hold.
For a while, Europe seemed to represent the best hope for getting tourism going, and it began with the bubble concept. On May 15, the Baltic States of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania created the first travel bubble in Europe; later that month, Hungary and Slovenia agreed that their citizens could continue to travel between the two countries.
Soon, much of Europe became a giant bubble. The European Commission created “Re-open EU,” a site listing travel rules within European countries. Each member country began easing restrictions at its own pace. Italy and Germany for example, opened quickly to travelers arriving from inside the European Union or the border-free Schengen zone. Britain also began opening up to its neighbors.
The welcome mat wasn’t rolled out long, though. Flare-ups of the virus caused borders to shut on short notice, disrupting travelers’ plans. In late July, Britain abruptly announced that travelers returning from Spain would have to self-quarantine for 14 days, just a few weeks after it had opened restriction-free travel to the country. In mid-August, British vacationers in France had to either rush home to beat newly announced restrictions, or face two weeks of quarantine when they returned.
Asia, too, has had its burst travel bubbles. Thailand had hoped to invite travelers from nearby countries with low virus rates, such as Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea, to visit without requiring self-quarantines on arrival. New waves of the virus canceled those plans.
While some countries jointly announced agreed-upon travel bubbles with neighbors, others created de facto ones by publishing lists of which nearby countries’ residents were allowed in and under what circumstances.
In the United States, which accounts for about 25 percent of the world’s cases, some states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have created their own de facto bubbles, stipulating that travelers coming from a long list of states with a seven-day rolling average of positive tests greater than 10 percent, or number of positive cases over 10 per 100,000 residents, self-isolate on arrival for 14 days.
The idea of bubbles created between neighboring countries has given way in recent months to “travel corridors” and safe lists, sets of countries and territories around the world whose residents, depending on their destinations, don’t have to self-isolate, unless they are showing symptoms of the virus or have recently been exposed. These travel regulations are posted on government websites, such as Re-Open EU and the Centers for Disease Control website, and change as new information is received.
For example, as of Aug. 21 at midnight, travelers arriving in Norway from newly named “red” status places, including Austria, Greece, Ireland and Britain, were required to go into quarantine. Britain’s website, which lists more than 60 countries and territories from which travelers can visit without self-isolating, removed Croatia and Austria from that list last week and added Portugal. Belgium’s foreign affairs website updates the list of restrictions for travelers from various countries each day at 4 p.m.
The sites also list countries’ virus-testing requirements for travelers. Some nations recommend arriving with evidence of a negative result and offer tests at the airport or 14-day self-quarantines as an alternative. Others, like the United States, which recently dropped its advice that newly arrived travelers quarantine for two weeks, don’t require testing to enter the country.
Rather than prohibit all travelers from higher risk countries, Greece recently began requiring that people entering from a specified list of locations arrive with a negative test result for Covid-19, performed within three days of their entry.
The risk is high both for travelers and the countries they are visiting, said Dr. Brad Connor, the New York City site director for the GeoSentinel emerging infectious disease surveillance network of the C.D.C. and a longtime travel medicine and infectious disease specialist.
Updated August 27, 2020
- In the beginning, the coronavirus seemed like it was primarily a respiratory illness — many patients had fever and chills, were weak and tired, and coughed a lot, though some people don’t show many symptoms at all. Those who seemed sickest had pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome and received supplemental oxygen. By now, doctors have identified many more symptoms and syndromes. In April, the C.D.C. added to the list of early signs sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches. Gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea and nausea, has also been observed. Another telltale sign of infection may be a sudden, profound diminution of one’s sense of smell and taste. Teenagers and young adults in some cases have developed painful red and purple lesions on their fingers and toes — nicknamed “Covid toe” — but few other serious symptoms.
- Why does standing six feet away from others help?
- The coronavirus spreads primarily through droplets from your mouth and nose, especially when you cough or sneeze. The C.D.C., one of the organizations using that measure, bases its recommendation of six feet on the idea that most large droplets that people expel when they cough or sneeze will fall to the ground within six feet. But six feet has never been a magic number that guarantees complete protection. Sneezes, for instance, can launch droplets a lot farther than six feet, according to a recent study. It’s a rule of thumb: You should be safest standing six feet apart outside, especially when it’s windy. But keep a mask on at all times, even when you think you’re far enough apart.
- I have antibodies. Am I now immune?
- As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that’s perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.
- I’m a small-business owner. Can I get relief?
- The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don’t know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.
- What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?
- Employers have to provide a safe workplace with policies that protect everyone equally. And if one of your co-workers tests positive for the coronavirus, the C.D.C. has said that employers should tell their employees — without giving you the sick employee’s name — that they may have been exposed to the virus.
Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic travelers carrying the virus can inadvertently bring it into an area undetected and cause an outbreak for which there is no vaccine and no reliable treatment, Dr. Connor said. “We all want to travel again in a safe way,” he said. “Unfortunately, the approaches so far have not worked.”
Infection waves can be local and some countries’ restrictions get down to regional specifications. Belgium’s list recommends testing and quarantine for travelers arriving from certain areas within other European Union countries, like the southwest regions of Bulgaria. Norway declared that the region of Norrbotten in Sweden, which has fewer Covid cases than most other areas in the country, will be changed on its list from “red” to “yellow,” and anyone entering Norway from there will not be required to go into quarantine.
Cordoning off an area of the country for international tourists is the latest idea aimed at preserving a portion of this year’s tourism revenues. Thailand is considering a new program where international travelers who are willing to stay for 30 days are allowed into Phuket, where they will quarantine in specified resorts and undergo two Covid-19 tests.
The island of Anguilla in the Caribbean, which said it had no current virus cases, recently announced it would begin welcoming travelers who must apply to visit, giving preference to those from countries with lower infection rates and those who plan an extended stay. Travelers must arrive with evidence of a recent test showing they do not carry the virus. They will also need to quarantine for 10 to 14 days when they arrive, undergo two more virus tests and pay a fee for these services. The web portal states that “Anguilla is open for approved visitors from certain countries.”
Most countries now realize that they can’t plan too far in advance. The government website of Norway advises citizens that it “is not possible for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to say when the travel advice for countries outside Europe will be changed.”
Travelers can continue to minimize risk to themselves and others with masks, hand-washing and social distancing — “but at this point we can’t completely eliminate the risk,” Dr. Connor said. “And therein lies the problem.”
Author: Julie Weed