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The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 19 May 2020

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A woman walks past graffiti depicting Pablo Picasso's Guernica, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Malaga, Spain, May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Europe Is Slowly Waking Up From Its COVID-19 Nightmare.

Countries across Europe, including Italy, Greece, Spain and the Czech Republic are slowly starting to reopen, as countries work hard to strike a balance between restarting tourism industries and avoiding a 'second wave' of COVID-19 outbreaks.

As Spain plans to reopen borders by June, the Czech Republic tries to negotiate a 'travel bubble' with Austria and Slovakia; and Greece and Italy reopen their hospitality industries with some minor local tourism.

Travel bubble will be a term thrown around a lot over the next two months.

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The Daily Quick-Look for 19 May 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours and why they matter. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

*BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

1. UNITED STATES – Political: US Backs Australian Call Into COVID-19 Inquiry

BLUF: US President Donald Trump has backed Australian-led calls for a probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic after a key World Health Assembly summit on Monday. (news.com.au. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: Australia's call for an independent inquiry into the origins and spread of COVID-19 drew the country into a war of words with Beijing that included veiled threats of economic boycott by China’s Ambassador to Australia; particularly of Australian wine, beef and universities. China subsequently suspended Australian beef exports, however, claimed this was unrelated to the call for an inquiry. Australia has gathered support for its call from numerous countries, including European Union nations, India, Japan, Britain, Canada, Russia and New Zealand.

2. SPAIN – Security (Health): Spain Plans To Reopen Borders In June

BLUF: Tourism-dependent Spain aims to reopen borders around the end of June as its coronavirus lockdown fully unwinds, a minister said on Monday, as deaths fell below 100 for the second day in a row. (Reuters. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: Spain recently imposed a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals. Tourism accounts for 12% of the country’s economic output. Spain has a current COVID-19 case count of 231,606, with 27,709 deaths attributed. Spain, like many countries across Europe, is slowly beginning to come out of its lockdown status; but remains wary of a ‘second wave’ of outbreaks.

3. ITALY/GREECE – Economic: Churches, Shops, Restaurants Reopen In Italy, Acropolis Reopens

BLUF: Italian shops, restaurants and churches reopened their doors to spring sunshine on Monday, Greece welcomed visitors back to the Acropolis - and Spain hoped for tourists to return in summer in cautious steps to ease coronavirus lockdowns. (Reuters. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: Like Spain, the summer tourist season is critical to European countries such as Italy and Greece. Italy has particularly struggled with COVID-19 among its European neighbours, leading the world in the number of deaths in the initial stages of the pandemic, particularly in the north of the country. Such a large scale response by Italy has undoubtedly taken a toll on its ability and resources to deal with a ‘second wave’ outbreak.

4. CZECH REPUBLIC – Security (Health): Czech Borders May Open To Travel To, From COVID-19-Safe Countries

BLUF: The Czech Republic is planning to ease travel between the central European country and other countries deemed safe from risks of coronavirus from June 8, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said on Monday. (Reuters. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: The Czech Republic has been in discussions to open borders with Austria and Slovakia, where the three countries share a border together. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia recently created Europe’s first ‘travel bubble’, with a 14-day quarantine period for arrivals. Travel bubbles will likely be critical to European countries restarting their tourism industries.

5. UGANDA – Political: Prominent Academic Arrested Amidst Lockdown Protests

BLUF: Ugandan scholar and activist, Stella Nyanzi and other protesters were arrested in Kampala on Monday for carrying out demonstrations against the "slow distribution of food" during the current shutdown. (Okay Africa. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: Lockdown protests are becoming increasingly prevalent around the world. Protests have broken out in nations such as the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Poland, Brazil and Australia, where limitation of civil liberties caused by strict lockdown procedures and abuse of government power have been the primary themes. More African nations are likely to begin protests, however, heavy handed responses by security forces are a realistic possibility.

6. CHINA – Political: WHO To Establish Inquiry Into Origins, Spread Of COVID-19

BLUF: The World Health Organization will establish an independent and impartial inquiry into the source and handling of the coronavirus outbreak, once the pandemic is brought under control, a virtual meeting of its annual governing body was set to agree on Monday. (The Guardian. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: The World Health Organization (WHO) had come under increasing pressure, particularly as numerous countries backed Australia’s call into an independent inquiry. The US has criticized the WHO in recent months for down-playing China’s overall role in COVID-19’s spread out of the city of Wuhan.

7. TAIWAN – Political: World Health Assembly Delays Vote On Taiwan Status Till Later This Year

BLUF: At the start of their first-ever virtual World Health Assembly (WHA), WHO member states agreed to delay a controversial discussion on granting Taiwan observer status until later in the year. (Taipei Times, AP, AFP. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: Beijing had vetoed Taiwan’s observer status with the WHO and other UN bodies, following the election of Taiwan’s pro-independence president Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. The US is a strong supporter of Taiwan regaining its observer status. Taiwan has been lauded for its response to COVID-19, which emphasized the question of why the WHO continued to deny Taiwan any part in their global response; coming to a head in a recent interview with a WHO representative ignoring questions on Taiwan in an interview.

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The reporting period for this Daily Quick-Look is the previous 24 hours (unless stated otherwise). This Daily Quick-Look is comprised of reports from agencies around the world, and are referenced where possible. Deciport LLC is in no way associated with any agency listed. This Daily Quick-Look is for information purposes only. This Daily Quick-Look is not intended for planning purposes. The comments that comprise the 'Why It Matters' do not represent the opinions, viewpoints or assessment of the agency from which the linked source report originated, and is intended to add context for the reader as part of a summary.

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