Beijing, US states face fresh cases; Europe borders open, vacations in balance


The Atlantic Council’s Coronavirus Alert is a regular summary of policy, economic, and business events around the emergency. To stay updated, sign up to the Coronavirus Alert here.

In top stories today:

  • Beijing is contending with a fresh outbreak of coronavirus in the Chinese capital, while states from Texas to Florida saw a record number of cases and hospital admissions. Borders reopened in Europe although quarantine restrictions remain in place, leaving a question mark hanging over vacation plans.
  • Authorities in Bejiing acted quickly to control a new coronavirus outbreak after thirty-six further cases were confirmed in the Chinese capital, taking the total to seventy-nine over four days, The Associated Press reported. Hospitals and other facilities tested more than 76,000 workers at Xinfadi market—Beijing’s largest wholesale food market—visitors to the market in the past two weeks, and those who had come into contact with either group, the news service added. Nearby neighborhoods have been put on lockdown, The Associated Press added.
  • Record numbers of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations hit more US states including Texas and Florida as most states press ahead with reopening, while US President Donald J. Trump plans an indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Reuters reported. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned on June 15 that he would re-impose restrictions in parts of the state that flout coronavirus safety measures following 25,000 reports of violations, mainly in Manhattan and the Hamptons, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • “To understand who’s dying of Covid-19, look to social factors like race more than preexisting diseases” reads a headline on news service Stat, which cites a new study by researchers at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Even after accounting for income, health insurance, diabetes and obesity, and use of public transit, the higher the percentage of black residents in a US county, the higher the death rate from coronavirus, the research found, Stat reported.
  • “The pandemic hit black workers hardest. Relief must help them most.” That’s the headline to an editorial by The Washington Post’s editorial board.
  • QUOTE: “African Americans were enjoying a relatively positive economic situation as of the time the coronavirus devastated the U.S. economy in March,” wrote The Washington Post’s editorial board. “Now, all that has been swept away by the crisis. New economic gains are inherently precarious. And black employment is disproportionately concentrated in consumer-facing service industries and the retail sector, as well as local government—all hit hard by pandemic-related lockdowns.”
  • READ MORE: “When it comes to the essence of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests—the call for an end to systematic and systemic racial discrimination—there is less willingness on the part of many people in the Arab world to acknowledge that such issues also afflict the Gulf, the Levant, and North Africa,” writes the Atlantic Council’s Tuqa Nusairat.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin took a swipe at how America has handled the coronavirus crisis, describing the United States as being gripped by a “deep internal crisis” including racial tensions, The New York Times reported, citing Putin’s first interview since the pandemic hit Russia three months ago. Reuters and CNBC are among other media outlets to cover the interview on Russian state television.
  • QUOTE: “The second wave has begun,” said William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, CNBC reported. “We’re opening up across the country, but many, many people are not social distancing, many are not wearing their masks.”


  • Oil and gas giant BP expects to write down up to $17.5 billion in the second quarter and said it expects the coronavirus pandemic to speed up the transition to a lower-carbon economy, CNBC reported. The UK-headquartered company lowered its oil-price expectations on Brent crude futures to an average of about fifty five dollars a barrel from 2021 until 2050, CNBC added.
  • A new expansion cycle for the world economy, with output returning to pre-pandemic levels by the fourth quarter: that so-called V-shaped recovery is the forecast of economists at Morgan Stanley, Bloomberg reported, citing a June 14 mid-year outlook research note.  
  • Long queues gathered outside discount clothing retailer Primark in London and Birmingham before the 8:00 am opening time as rules are eased in England following a three-month lockdown, the BBC said. Non-essential retailers can reopen from June 15 provided they introduce safety measures, the BBC added.  
  • Germany will raise an additional sixty-two billion euros in debt, taking the total to 218 billion so far this year, as Europe’s largest economy pays for a gargantuan stimulus plan to help it emerge from the worst recession since World War II, Bloomberg reported. The newswire cited unidentified people with knowledge of the plan, while Germany’s finance department declined to comment.
  • Berlin plans to invest 300 million euros for a 23 percent stake in private biotech company CureVac, the developer of a potential coronavirus vaccine, the Financial Times reported. CureVac, which attracted the interest of the White House in March, is scheduled to begin clinical trials of a shot this month, the newspaper said. It’s one of just a handful of companies using mRNA technology, which can produce a vaccine more quickly than traditional methods, the Financial Times added.


  • “The First Covid Vaccines May Not Prevent Covid Infection,” Bloomberg reported. The motivation to keep economies from buckling under pressure from the coronavirus outbreak may mean settling for a shot that prevents people from falling really ill or dying, but that doesn’t prevent them catching coronavirus, the newswire said, citing Robin Shattock, a professor at Imperial College London who is leading the development of an experimental vaccine.
  • Passenger demand at Gatwick airport, London’s second-largest, may not return to pre-pandemic levels for three or four years, CNBC reported, citing CEO Stewart Wingate. Meanwhile, easyJet resumed flights on June 15 after the budget airline grounded its fleet for eleven weeks, CNBC said. Airlines including easyJet called on the UK government to scrap or replace its quarantine system that requires travelers to self-isolate for fourteen days on arrival, as that’s holding back the industry’s recovery, CNBC added.
  • Travelers arriving in France from the United Kingdom and Spain need to enter two weeks of quarantine on arrival, the BBC said. France has won its “first victory” but the virus could return, French President Emmanuel Macron said in a June 15 televised address, adding that restaurants, cafes, and hotels could reopen in Paris—joining many regions in France—and schools, except high schools, will reopen on June 22, the BBC reported.
  • Macron said he would work to build a Europe more independent of China and the United States after the coronavirus crisis showed the reliance of France and Europe on supply chains with China and elsewhere, Reuters reported. “Break the China Habit? Lobsters, Lights and Toilets Show How Hard It Is” runs a New York Times headline.
  • Borders reopened across Europe on June 15 but the continent is still closed to Americans, Asians, and other international travelers, and it’s not clear how motivated Europeans will be to travel this summer, The Associated Press reported. The twenty-seven nations of the European Union, as well as those in the Schengen passport-free travel area including Switzerland, probably won’t open to international visitors from beyond the region until at least the start of July, the news service added.
  • READ MORE: “It’s time to take urgent measures to head off the danger of ‘transatlantic decoupling,’ a strategic shift that would put at risk more than seven decades of gains in democracy, open markets and individual rights,” writes the Atlantic Council’s Frederick Kempe.


  • Lifting a ban on travel to the United States from the United Kingdom may still be months away and may not happen until a coronavirus vaccine is ready, US infectious diseases specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with The Telegraph newspaper on June 14, Bloomberg reported.
  • Qatar Airways plans to cut the salary of pilots by as much as 25 percent and make others redundant as the state-owned carrier seeks to cut costs and soften the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, Bloomberg reported. The measures will not apply to Qatari nationals, the newswire added.
  • More than ten thousand tourists from Germany will be welcomed in Spain’s Balaeric Islands under a pilot project before the country slowly opens up to tourism in the weeks ahead, Reuters reported. Tourism accounts for 12 percent of Spain’s economy, the newswire added. Meanwhile, Egypt will reopen all its airports on July 1 after suspending flights in March because of coronavirus, the newswire said. Further afield, Japan said it hadn’t decided to ease restrictions on incoming travelers, denying a local media report last week, Reuters also said.
  • “Which countries are open for summer travel? Here’s the list” reads a CNBC headline. The article excludes any destination that requires arrivals to self-quarantine for fourteen days.
  • QUOTE: “Forty years of public policy about transport has gone into reverse,” said Tony Travers of London School of Economics, Reuters reported. “This is a big existential issue for cities.”
  • “Brazil faces the coronavirus disaster almost everyone saw coming” reads the headline to an analysis piece in The Washington Post. Reuters publishes reports on more than fifty thousand cases in Colombia and in excess of 17,000 deaths in Mexico. The daily number of infections exceeded one hundred in Iran for the first time in two months, while the daily tally of cases in Turkey was almost double the level it fell to in early June, the newswire reported in other articles.
  • New daily cases of coronavirus have approached over ten thousand in India and sometimes exceeded that figure over the past several days, raising concerns that Asia’s most populous nation may lose a grip on the situation even as it starts to reopen the economy following weeks of a strict lockdown, CNBC reported. India posted 11,929 new cases on June 14, CNBC added.
  • Coronavirus infections approached 145,000 in Pakistan on June 15, with political leaders warning that could double by the end of this month and surge to 1.2 million by the end of July if the country’s 220 million inhabitants continue to ignore precautions such as wearing a mask, The Associated Press said. Medical workers are falling ill at alarming rates and are being physically attacked by desperate and angry families, The New York Times reported.