The Latest: UN says tourism impact of pandemic devastating

The United Nations chief says the tourist industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with $320 billion lost in exports in the first five months of the year and over 120 million jobs at risk

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations chief says the tourist industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with $320 billion lost in exports in the first five months of the year and over 120 million jobs at risk.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a policy briefing and video address released Tuesday that tourism is the third-largest export sector, behind fuels and chemicals, and accounted for 7% of trade last year.

“It employs one in every 10 people on Earth and provides livelihoods to hundreds of millions more,” he said. “It boosts economies. … It allows people to experience some of the world’s cultural and natural riches and brings people closer to each other, highlighting our common humanity.”

But the U.N. chief said that in the first five months of 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic, international tourist arrivals decreased by more than half.

Guterres said the tourism impact of COVID-19 has been a “major shock” for richer developed nations “but for developing countries, it is an emergency, particularly for many small island developing states and African countries.”

Tourism for some of those countries represents over 20% of their GDP, he said.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

— Revved by Sturgis Rally, COVID-19 infections move fast, far

— Oil and gas operations, government facilities and others allowed to bypass environmental rules in pandemic

— GOP convention showcases rising stars, dark warnings

— Biden, Harris to get routine virus testing as in-person campaigning expected to increase

— South Korea closing schools and switching back to remote learning in the capital area

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea is closing schools and switching back to remote learning in the greater capital area as the country counted its 12th straight day of triple-digit daily increases in coronavirus cases.

Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said Tuesday that at least 193 students and teachers were found infected over the past two weeks in the Seoul metropolitan region, where a viral surge has threatened to erase the country’s hard-won epidemiological gains.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 280 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the 12-day total to 3,175. The country’s caseload is now at 17,945, including 310 deaths.

Yoo said most children at kindergartens, elementary, middle and high schools will receive online classes at least until Sept. 11. High-school seniors will continue to go to school so their studies are not disrupted ahead of the crucial national college exams.

The country delayed the start of the school year for weeks because of an outbreak in the southeast in spring before proceeding with phased reopenings beginning in May.

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BEIJING — Beijing universities are preparing to administer virus tests to students returning to the city’s campuses.

The cost of testing all 600,000 students will be born by the universities themselves, according to the Beijing Municipal Education Commission.

University classes are scheduled to begin Sept. 9. Roughly 75 percent of Chinese students in lower grades returned to class as of last month, many on staggered schedules. The rest are expected to return by this week or on Sept. 1.

China’s National Health Commission on Tuesday reported no new local infections for a ninth straight day and said 14 new cases were found in travelers arriving from abroad. The northwestern city of Urumqi, the center of China’s most recent major outbreak, was relaxing restrictions on some residential compounds after several days of no new local infections.

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian hot spot Victoria state has recorded an increase in new coronavirus cases, although health authorities are confident infections are continuing to trend down.

Victoria’s Health Department on Tuesday reported 148 new COVID-19 infections in the latest 24-hour period and eight deaths. Victoria reported 116 new cases and 15 deaths on Tuesday. That was the lowest daily tally of new cases since 87 were reported on July 5. The daily count has been as high as 725 news cases in early August.

State capital Melbourne is around half way through a six-week lockdown.