On August 4, 2022, tourists arrive at Mataveri International Airport in Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Chile. MIGUEL SANCHEZ AFP SANTIAGO WASHINGTON - Chile received its first group of tourists on Thursday after closing its borders for more than two years due to the coronaviruses epidemic.
Easter Island, located over 3,219 km from the coast of Chile, has more than a thousand stone statues -- giant heads that were carved centuries ago by the island's inhabitants -- which have brought it fame and UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Easter Island is the biggest open air museum in the world, said Pedro Edmunds, the mayor of Easter Island, who said it was time to open the island after it shut its borders 868 days ago.
Edmunds said we've learned what the epidemic is about, and how to take care of ourselves, and that the focus was on keeping guests safe.
Visitors must be fully vaccinated and present a negative PCR test taken no more than 24 hours before boarding a domestic flight to the island. Tourists aboard international flights must take an antigen test once they arrive.
LATAM airlines said it would reopen the route from Santiago to Easter Island with flights on Thursdays and Saturdays and hopes to add more.
Constanza Pizarro, Communications Manager at LATAM, said that LATAM will increase frequency as health measures allow. We are coordinating with authorities. In this Jan 24 file picture, medical staff carry out a patient at the COVID 19 infected patients section of the Pokrovskaya hospital in Saint Petersburg. Russia has had a total of 820,307 COVID-related deaths since the start of the pandemic in the country in April 2020, according to the state statistics service Rosstat on Friday.
In June, 4,991 people died of COVID 19 or related causes, down from 7,098 in May.
Russia recorded more than 965,000 excess deaths between April 2020 and June 2022 compared to the average mortality in 2015 -- 2019, according to Reuters calculations.
In this file photo taken on July 27, 2022, US President Joe Biden coughs in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Joe Biden has tested positive for COVID 19 for the second time and is returning to isolation, his White House doctor said on July 30, 2022, referring to the rebound in positivity from treatment the US president received. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI AFP US President Joe Biden's cough has almost completely resolved but his COVID 19 testing still came back positive, his doctor said on Friday.
Biden continues to feel very well and will continue strict isolation measures after the test results, White House physician Dr. Kevin O'Connor wrote in an update.
In the afternoon, Biden is expected to sign two bills that will help hold those who commit fraud accountable for COVID 19 small business relief programs. Biden tested positive for COVID 19 on July 21, and tested negative on July 26 after days of isolation and treatment. He tested positive again on July 30 in a rebound case, according to the White House.