France’s Louvre reopens to applause after 16-week virus shutdown Jul 07, 2020 0 635 12345 AFPParisThe world’s most visited museum, the Louvre in Paris, reopened Monday after nearly four months of coronavirus closure, with a restricted number of masked visitors enjoying a rare chance to view the “Mona Lisa” and other treasures without the usual throngs.Several dozen visitors queued outside the vast former palace of France’s kings, eagerly awaiting the opening at 9:00 am (0700 GMT) as the museum hopes to start recuperating losses estimated at more than 40 million euros ($45 million) due to the lockdown.When the doors opened, spontaneous applause rang out.“I am very, very happy to welcome visitors to a museum that exists first and foremost to welcome visitors,” said museum director Jean-Luc Martinez.“We have dedicated our lives to art, we like to share this passion, and here we are!” The museum’s most popular draws will be accessible, including Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa,” the Venus de Milo and the Louvre’s vast antiquities collection.But galleries in which social distancing is more difficult, about a third of the total, will remain off-limits, and visitor numbers were capped at 500 per half hour in a bid to lower coronavirus transmission risks.Face masks are compulsory and no snacks or cloakrooms are available.Tickets must be bought beforehand online, and were sold out for the long-awaited reopening after the Louvre’s longest closure since World War II.“Some 7,000 people have reserved tickets, normally we host about 30,000 people” per day, said Martinez, who expects tough months and years ahead.The museum will not get any anywhere near the 9.6 million visitors it hosted last year -- down from a record 10 million in 2018. Nearly three-quarters of its visitors in a normal year are from abroad. RELATED ARTICLES Trump calls on black NASCAR driver to apologise over noose protest Jul 07, 2020 0 961 Britain unveils sanctions against Russians, Saudis Jul 07, 2020 0 1407 Spain court clears extradition of former Mexico oil chief Jul 07, 2020 0 644 Mexican president rejects comparison of virus death toll with France, Spain MEXICO CITY: Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador refused on Sunday to compare coronavirus death tolls with European states after the Latin American nation became the fifth hardest-hit country by the .. Abinader claims victory in Dominican Republic presidential race SANTO DOMINGO: Opposition candidate Luis Abinader has claimed victory in the Dominican Republic’s presidential race after voters on Sunday braved a worsening coronavirus outbreak to cast their ballots for a new .. French ex-spies on trial for ‘sharing secrets’ with China AFP Paris The trial of two former French spies suspected of sharing secrets with China opened in a Paris criminal court on Monday, behind closed doors for reasons of national security. Identified only as Pierre-Marie H, .. Regeneron COVID-19 treatment enters final stage trials WASHINGTON: The pharmaceutical firm Regeneron on Monday announced it was entering the late stages of its human clinical trials investigating a drug to both treat and prevent COVID-19. The drug, called REGN-COV2, is a .. COVID-19 imperils AIDS progress, UN warns AFP Paris COVID-19 could cause an additional half a million AIDS deaths if treatment is disrupted long term, the United Nations said on Monday in a warning that the pandemic was jeopardising years of progress against HIV. .. Global experts warn of COVID-19 airborne threat AFP Washington An international group of 239 scientists on Monday urged authorities including the World Health Organization to recognise that the coronavirus can spread in the air at distances well beyond two meters .. Trump’s niece to release memoir on July 14 NEW YORK: Donald Trump’s niece will release her unflattering book on the US president on July 14, her publisher announced on Monday, after a judge lifted a temporary ban on publication. Simon & Schuster has brought .. Supreme Court rules US states can punish ‘faithless electors’ AFP Washington The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that US states have the right to remove and punish members of the Electoral College for not backing the presidential candidate whom they pledged to support. The unanimous ..