Desperate travelers choked European border crossings on March 18 after nations implemented strict controls in an attempt to slow the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, creating traffic jams miles long and slowing the passage of trucks carrying critical supplies.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Partys coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
In an attempt to alleviate some of the pressure from eastern Europeans stuck in Austria trying to return home, Hungary overnight opened its borders in phases. Bulgarian citizens were first allowed to cross in carefully controlled convoys, then Romanians had a turn.
But by early Wednesday on the Austrian side of the border, trucks were backed up for 28 kilometers (17 miles) and cars for 14 kilometers (nearly 9 miles) as rules allowing only Hungarians or transport trucks through the countrys borders kicked back in.
European Union leaders have been working on how to make sure that food, medical supplies, and other essential goods keep flowing but so far borders have been clogged. Looking ahead, theyre also trying to figure out ways to allow seasonal agricultural workers, needed to keep the production of food going, to travel back and forth across essentially closed borders.
Nations around the world were facing the same issues, with the United States and Canada working on a mutual ban on nonessential travel between the two countries.
In Southeast Asia, the causeway between Malaysia and the financial hub of Singapore was eerily quiet after Malaysia shut its borders, while the Philippines backed down on an order giving foreigners 72 hours to leave from a large part of its main island.
President Donald Trumps administration was considering a plan to immediately return to Mexico all people who cross Americas southern border illegally, according to two officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the plan hasnt been finalized.
The CCP virus is now present in every U.S. state after West Virginia reported an infection. In far-flung Hawaii, the governor encouraged travelers to postpone their island vacations for at least the next 30 days, while the governor of Nevada—home to Las Vegas—ordered a monthlong closure of the states casinos.
Increasingly worried about the economic fallout of the global shutdown, the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands announced rescue packages totaling hundreds of billions of dollars, while longtime International Monetary Fund critic Venezuela asked the institution for a $5 billion loan.
Major Asian stock markets fell back Wednesday after early gains after Wall Street jumped on Trumps promise of aid.
In Brussels, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, said there had been “a unanimous and united approach” to the decision to prohibit most foreigners from entering the EU for 30 days.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said European leaders agreed in a conference call to the commissions proposal for an entry ban to the bloc—along with Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Britain—with “very, very limited exceptions.” Germany will implement the decision immediately.
But so far, EU efforts to smooth the transition have failed.
On Wednesday, thousands of trucks remained backed up in Lithuania on roads into Poland, after Warsaw ordered strict measures that include testing every driver for COVID-19 symptoms. The line of trucks was 60 kilometers (37 miles) long on Tuesday night.
“The Polish and Lithuanian governments have opened a second crossing, but that did not help much,” said border police spokesman Rokas Pukinsas.
Elsewhere, droves of Malaysians endured hourslong traffic jams as they sought to get into Singapore before the border closure. More than 300,000 people commute daily to Singapore to work and many have chosen to stay there during the lockdown.
Malaysias restricted movement order came after a sharp spike in CCP virus cases to 673, making it the worst-affected country in Southeast Asia.
Taiwan said Wednesday that it too would ban foreigners from entry and Taiwanese would have to self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
In Thailand, Bangkoks notorious red-light districts were due to go dark Wednesday after a government order closing bars, schools, movie theaters, and many other venues.
Even tourists on Ecuadors iconic Galapagos islands—1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off the South American mainland—have been affected. Canadian Jessy Lamontaine and her family were stuck on the island when flights were suspended and they missed the last trip out.
“I was in tears this morning,” Lamontaine said. “I couldnt get any answers from the airline. I had no money and didnt know whether I was going to keep my job.”