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European nations look to salvage summer tourism by reopening borders

Hope that social distancing and testing will keep virus under control

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'Couchant or Sunset beach' in roped off distancing zones marked out by the municipality along the beach in La Grande Motte, southern France.(Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

'Couchant or Sunset beach' in roped off distancing zones marked out by the municipality along the beach in La Grande Motte, southern France.(Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

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Two women take a selfie at the top of the Mondarrain Mount near Itxassou, southwestern France as France eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19. (Photo by GAIZKA IROZ / AFP) (Photo by GAIZKA IROZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Two women take a selfie at the top of the Mondarrain Mount near Itxassou, southwestern France as France eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19. (Photo by GAIZKA IROZ / AFP) (Photo by GAIZKA IROZ/AFP via Getty Images)

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'Couchant or Sunset beach' in roped off distancing zones marked out by the municipality along the beach in La Grande Motte, southern France.(Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Coronavirus has infected about five million people across the world and killed more than 328,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The news comes as Europe attempts to get back to some kind of routine way of life.

Austria is currently preparing for the summer tourist season while taking extra precautions to ensure coronavirus does not pick up again.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said people from countries where Covid-19 has stabilised could count on summer holidays with "maximum safety and maximum enjoyment".

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People sunbath at 'Couchant or Sunset beach' in roped off distancing zones marked out by the municipality along the beach in La Grande Motte, southern France. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

People sunbath at 'Couchant or Sunset beach' in roped off distancing zones marked out by the municipality along the beach in La Grande Motte, southern France. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

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People sunbath at 'Couchant or Sunset beach' in roped off distancing zones marked out by the municipality along the beach in La Grande Motte, southern France. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

And there is an agreement with Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland to fully open borders next month.

Mr Kurz was optimistic similar arrangements could be reached with Austria's eastern neighbours in the coming week.

Distancing measures in Austria will remain in place and hotel staff will be tested regularly for Covid-19.

"We need to ensure that the infection rate remains low," Mr Kurz said. "The lower the infection numbers, the more people will go out."

Cyprus is also lifting most restrictions of a two-month stay-at-home order.

The decision allows for the reopening of primary schools, hair salons and outdoor cafés.

People will no longer need permission forms or electronic approval to move outside their home or heed a night curfew.

Public parks and squares are open, but groups of more than 10 are prohibited.

Beginning on Saturday, sunbathers may go to beaches on the east Mediterranean island, and the faithful can attend services at churches, mosques and other places of worship.

Meanwhile, Italian authorities have warned that young people gathering without respecting social distancing rules and not wearing masks are risking the country's hard-won efforts to control the coronavirus outbreak.

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A woman wearing a sunhat and protective face mask walks along the 'Couchant or Sunset beach' in La Grande Motte. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman wearing a sunhat and protective face mask walks along the 'Couchant or Sunset beach' in La Grande Motte. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

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A woman wearing a sunhat and protective face mask walks along the 'Couchant or Sunset beach' in La Grande Motte. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Milan mayor Giuseppe Sala said he has asked local police to increase patrols of night spots, be more severe in handing out fines, and close any bars or restaurants in flagrant violation of the rules.

Spaniards are going about their restricted lives wearing masks in compliance with a government order that came into force yesterday.

Masks are now mandatory for people over six years old in all public spaces, including outdoors when they cannot keep a distance of two metres between them.

The new ruling affects approximately 45 million people. It departs from earlier recommendations to make the masks compulsory only for health workers and those with Covid-19 symptoms.

Last month, the government extended their obligatory use to public transport. But the country's official in charge of easing its lockdown has said Spain will only reopen to foreign tourists in July, once safety for locals and visitors can be guaranteed.

Wary of the competition from other Mediterranean countries already reopening borders, hoteliers and officials in tourist-magnet islands and coastal regions have been pressing Spanish central authorities to relax curbs in place to fight the outbreak.

But environment and energy minister Teresa Ribera said an early opening to visitors would be "irresponsible".

In Sri Lanka, police said three women died in a stampede when residents of a Colombo neighbourhood scrambled to receive aid being distributed to people who have lost their livelihood because of new coronavirus restrictions.

Lebanon's prime minister has warned of a major food shortage in the Mediterranean country which is facing an unprecedented economic and financial crisis made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab also warned of eventual "starvation" in the Middle East that he said may spark a new migration flow to Europe.

Japan's economy minister said experts have approved a government plan to remove a coronavirus state of emergency in Osaka and two neighbouring prefectures where the infection is deemed to be slowing, while keeping the measure in place in the Tokyo region and Hokkaido.

And the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the global coronavirus pandemic is believed to have originated, has issued a total ban on the hunting, breeding and human consumption of wild animals.

The move is in an apparent response to research showing the virus most likely originated among bats and was transmitted to people via an intermediary wild species sold for food at a market in the city.

The regulation seeks to carry out measures passed at the national level covering protected land animals as well as sea life, promising financial relief to help dealers move into other lines of business. It will be enforced immediately and will be in effect for five years.

Irish Independent