Coronavirus: Sunbathing in perspex boxes? EU urges ‘smart solutions’ for holidaymakers | World News

An EU chief has suggested that people may be able to travel around the continent in the near future, but on the condition that countries find ways to enforce social distancing – even if that means sunbathing in perspex boxes.

President of the EU Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen has offered hope to those wanting to get a trip away this year, by saying countries must consider “smart solutions”, once the coronavirus pandemic begins to slow down.

She said: “Maybe a little different, with other hygiene measures, with a little more social distance, but it is impressive to see that we have found solutions.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - FEBRUARY 19, 2020 : European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen gives a press conference on a new strategy on Europes Digital Future at the European Commission on February 19, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
Ursula Von der Leyen wants countries to enforce social distancing should they open for tourism

“It is difficult to predict what the next months will be like but what I see is that we are beginning to learn to live with the virus.”

Countries like Austria are considering opening their borders for the summer – but only for those nations which have COVID-19 under control, while Greece has been encouraging the EU to work out a plan over the next few weeks.

It comes as a firm in Italy has come up with a novel idea to encourage people to hit the beaches once more, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Italian manufacturing firm Nuova Neon Group 2 revealed its design for plexiglass boxes that can be used on the beach for those worried about COVID-19 – but still wanting to catch some rays.

The 4.5 metre square clear boxes, which stand at 2 metres high have been touted as the answer to safe sunbathing at seaside resorts.

Inside, they have enough space for two sunbeds and a beach umbrella, as well as enough space for any youngsters to play – all in the safety of their own booth.

The boxes could fit families inside. Pic: Nuova Neon Group 2
The boxes could fit families inside. Pic: Nuova Neon Group 2
The boxes are designed to enforce social distancing. Pic: Nuova Neon Group 2
The boxes are designed to enforce social distancing. Pic: Nuova Neon Group 2

Explaining the design, company owner Claudio Ferrari told la Repubblica: “We tried to imagine the return to the beach.

“The idea was born with the dual purpose of protecting, but also of restarting the activities.

BERGAMO, ITALY - APRIL 3: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) A member of the Italian Red Cross walks through an alley in the old town during his home visit to COVID-19 positive patients on April 3, 2020 in Bergamo, Italy. The number of new COVID-19 cases appears to be decreasing in Italy, including in the province of Bergamo, one of its hardest-hit areas. But as the infection rate slows, life is still far from normal. A local newspaper, the Eco di Bergamo, estimates that the province has lost roughly 4,800 people to coronavirus - almost twice an official tally that only counts hospital deaths - and everyone here knows someone who's fallen ill:  a neighbor, a family member, a relative, a friend or an acquaintance. The Italian Red Cross, which runs an ambulance service here, continues to field constant calls for help. With only a small portion of its 600-person volunteer crew and 38 paid staff able to report for duty, those who remain work shifts of up to 20 hours long.  (Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

Coronavirus: Lockdown lessons from Italy

“In short, guaranteeing safety but starting to circulate people again. We are already working to create screens for banks, pharmacies and so we have thought of extending the work to commercial activities”.

Italy has been one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19, with the number of people dying with the disease standing at more than 24,000.

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On Tuesday, Italian leader Giuseppe Conte announced that from 4 May, some of the country’s restrictions can start being lifted, in an effort to restart the nation’s economy.

However, the country’s health minister said that people should get used to the idea that they will probably be spending their summer in hot cities, rather than laying on the beaches.

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