Italy reopened its borders to European travellers on Wednesday as the continent slowly emerged from quarantines to restart battered economies even as the coronavirus pandemic carved its deadly path through Latin America.
European nations among the hardest hit by the outbreak have mostly flattened out infection curves and turned to the task of balancing economic recovery against the risk of a second wave of cases.
The United States, with the highest death toll, and Latin America have emerged as new centres for infections of COVID-19 that has killed more than 380,000 people worldwide since it first emerged in China late last year.
Across the globe, nations are cautiously reopening schools, businesses and returning to life after months of quarantine.
Italy — the first country badly hammered in Europe — is leading the way to restart, hoping tourism will revive its recession-hit economy three months after the nation shut down.
“We are cautiously optimistic. Let’s hope the Italians begin travelling and take advantage of seeing an uncrowded Rome,” said hotel receptionist Alessandra Conti.
Tourism accounts for 13 percent of Italy’s GDP and officials are keen to reassure visitors they will be safe.