On Thursday, analysts spotlighted the news that the White House and congressional Democrats were moving toward dropping corporate tax increases they had wanted to include in the bill, as they hoped to forge a deal that could clear the Senate. A spending deal without corporate tax increases would be a potential boon to profits and share prices.

“A stay of execution on higher corporate tax rates would seem a potentially noteworthy development,” Daragh Maher, a currency analyst with HSBC Securities, wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.

An agreement among Democrats on what’s expected to be a roughly $2 trillion spending plan would also open the door to a separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan moving through Congress. Progressives in the House are blocking the infrastructure bill until agreement is reached on the larger bill.

But the prospects for an agreement have helped to lift shares of major engineering and construction materials companies. Terex, which makes equipment used for handling construction materials like stone and asphalt, has jumped more than 5 percent this week. The asphalt maker Vulcan Materials has risen more than 4 percent. Dycom, which specializes in construction and engineering of telecommunication networking systems, was up more than 9 percent.

The renewed confidence remains fragile, with good reason. The coronavirus continues to affect business operations around the world, and the Delta variant demonstrated just how disruptive a new iteration of the virus can be.

Another lingering concern involves the higher costs companies face for everything from raw materials to shipping to labor. If they are unable to pass those higher costs on to consumers, it will cut into their profits.

“That would be big,” Mr. McKnight said. “That would be a material impact to the markets.”

But going into the final months of the year — traditionally a good time for stocks — the market also has plenty of reasons to push higher.

The recent weeks of bumpy trading may have chased shareholders with low confidence — sometimes known as “weak hands” on Wall Street — out of the market, offering potential bargains to long-term buyers.

“Interest rates are relatively stable. Earnings are booming. Covid cases, thankfully, are dropping precipitously in the U.S.,” Mr. Zemsky said. “The weak hands have left the markets and there’s plenty of jobs. So why shouldn’t we have new highs?”

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The Caribbean Conundrum: United by Tourists, Divided by Covid

Then, in March, Aruba teamed up with JetBlue, which offers about 40 weekly flights from the United States to the island, to debut CommonPass, the world’s first digital vaccine passport. Those with the digital pass may take a virtually supervised at-home PCR test within three days of departure, upload results and cut through immigration lines. United’s Aruba flights from Newark and Houston also use the pass, with plans for additional routes in the near future.

“We wanted to create a way to make it easier on travelers and more efficient for our air travel partners,” said Shensly Tromp, director of development and technology at Aruba Airport Authority N.V., “without compromising the safeguards we have in place around health and safety.”

Vaccination information will be added to CommonPass as early as June.

Before the pandemic, almost three-quarters of the island’s gross domestic product and nearly 85 percent of jobs had been rooted in tourism, according to W.T.T.C. analysis. Now, with tourism up 53 percent from February to March, Dangui Oduber, the minister of tourism, public health and sport, noted a “continual uptick” since Aruba’s dual CommonPass and vaccine rollouts.

Aruba too is a world leader in vaccinations. As of mid-May, almost 57,500 Arubans were at least partially inoculated, with the island optimistically reaching herd immunity this summer, Mr. Oduber said.

Vaccines

Even when Americans were shut out of most of the world, the borders to the U.S. Virgin Islands never closed. Lured there with slogans like “Reconnect with Paradise” and the chance for anyone to get vaccinated, even before many could get a shot back home, visitors have recently crowded the American territory’s beaches and restaurants.

Hotel occupancy rates in the U.S.V.I. are almost triple that of the region and seven times that of the Bahamas, according to recent analysis by STR, a global hospitality data and analytics company.

Visitors are required to get tested but not to quarantine. With tourists swarming, the U.S.V.I. prioritized hospitality workers early in its vaccine rollout. So, in February Sandy Colasacco, a nurse practitioner who runs the Island Health and Wellness Center, a nonprofit clinic serving many of St. John’s uninsured population, reached out to most restaurants and hotels there to schedule appointments.

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The Myth of Labor Shortages

The chief executive of Domino’s Pizza has complained that the company can’t hire enough drivers. Lyft and Uber claim to have a similar problem. A McDonald’s franchise in Florida offered $50 to anybody willing to show up for an interview. And some fast-food outlets have hung signs in their windows saying, “No one wants to work anymore.”

The idea that the United States suffers from a labor shortage is fast becoming conventional wisdom. But before you accept the idea, it’s worth taking a few minutes to think it through.

Once you do, you may realize that the labor shortage is more myth than reality.

Let’s start with some basic economics. The U.S. is a capitalist country, and one of the beauties of capitalism is its mechanism for dealing with shortages. In a communist system, people must wait in long lines when there is more demand than supply for an item. That’s an actual shortage. In a capitalist economy, however, there is a ready solution.

The company or person providing the item raises its price. Doing so causes other providers to see an opportunity for profit and enter the market, increasing supply. To take a hypothetical example, a shortage of baguettes in a town will lead to higher prices, which will in turn cause more local bakeries to begin making their own baguettes (and also cause some families to choose other forms of starch). Suddenly, the baguette shortage is no more.

solve the problem by offering to pay a higher price for that labor — also known as higher wages. More workers will then enter the labor market. Suddenly, the labor shortage will be no more.

a lot of evidence to suggest that the U.S. economy does not suffer from that problem.

If anything, wages today are historically low. They have been growing slowly for decades for every income group other than the affluent. As a share of gross domestic product, worker compensation is lower than at any point in the second half of the 20th century. Two main causes are corporate consolidation and shrinking labor unions, which together have given employers more workplace power and employees less of it.

has declined in recent decades. The country now has the equivalent of a large group of bakeries that are not making baguettes but would do so if it were more lucrative — a pool of would-be workers, sitting on the sidelines of the labor market.

Corporate profits, on the other hand, have been rising rapidly and now make up a larger share of G.D.P. than in previous decades. As a result, most companies can afford to respond to a growing economy by raising wages and continuing to make profits, albeit perhaps not the unusually generous profits they have been enjoying.

announced Tuesday that it would raise its minimum hourly wage to $25 and insist that contractors pay at least $15 an hour. Other companies that have recently announced pay increases include Amazon, Chipotle, Costco, McDonald’s, Walmart, J.P. Morgan Chase and Sheetz convenience stores.

Why the continuing complaints about a labor shortage, then?

They are not totally misguided. For one thing, some Americans appear to have temporarily dropped out of the labor force because of Covid-19. Some high-skill industries may also be suffering from a true lack of qualified workers, and some small businesses may not be able to absorb higher wages. Finally, there is a rollicking partisan debate about whether expanded jobless benefits during the pandemic have caused workers to opt out.

For now, some combination of these forces — together with a rebounding economy — has created the impression of labor shortages. But companies have an easy way to solve the problem: Pay more.

That so many are complaining about the situation is not a sign that something is wrong with the American economy. It is a sign that corporate executives have grown so accustomed to a low-wage economy that many believe anything else is unnatural.

became a top spokesmodel.

Up in the air: A kite-building tutorial that doubles as a meditative experience.

Too big: Why this Nobel laureate economist has soured on Big Tech.

A Times classic: See what kids around the world eat for breakfast.

Lives Lived: Lee Evans was one of several Black athletes who threatened to boycott the 1968 Summer Olympics. Instead, he smashed two world records and raised his fist at the medal ceremony. Evans died at 74.

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to executives. The spicy puffs were a huge success, and Montañez worked his way up the company’s ranks to become an executive himself.

It’s the kind of inspiring story made for a biopic — one that the actress Eva Longoria is set to direct. And yet, the details may not be entirely true, according to an investigation by The Los Angeles Times.

While Montañez did make valuable contributions to Frito-Lay, the company stated that he did not create Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Lynne Greenfeld, an employee at Frito-Lay’s corporate office, did. “That doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate Richard, but the facts do not support the urban legend,” Frito-Lay said.

Montañez has disputed Frito-Lay’s claims, with some support from another executive, and said his low job status explained the lack of documentation of his role. “I wasn’t a supervisor, I was the least of the least,” Montañez told Variety. He retired from the company in 2019.

As for the movie, Frito-Lay told its producers about the story discrepancies in 2019. “I think enough of the story is true,” Lewis Colick, a screenwriter for the project, recently said. “The heart and soul and spirit of the story is true. He is a guy who should remain the face of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.” — Sanam Yar, a Morning writer

this recipe features greens, beans and a Parmesan crust.

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Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. The Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin will host an event at 1:30 p.m. E.T. today with Dame Ellen MacArthur about how to reduce our carbon footprint. R.S.V.P. here.

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Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu. On the Modern Love podcast, a man returns to the orphanage he tried to forget.

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India’s Doctors and Medical Workers Face Danger and Trauma

NEW DELHI — The shifts are long, the wards full, the demand so urgent that medical students and interns have been coaxed into filling in. Hundreds of workers have died. Family members at home have fallen ill.

India’s doctors and other medical responders find themselves short-handed and underfunded as they battle the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak. Beyond the physical danger they also face, they have been forced by the devastating size of the outbreak and the government’s mismanagement of the crisis into cruel routines of helplessness, making decisions day after day that could determine whether a patient lives or dies.

As beds fill up, they have to choose who among the throngs outside the hospital gates to allow inside for treatment. As the oxygen runs out, they have to choose who gets precious supplies. The emotional toll is mounting.

to the World Bank, India’s health care spending, public and out of pocket, totals about 3.5 percent of its gross domestic product, less than half of the global average.

They also face intimidation and violence, with videos circulating of angry family members thrashing medical staff in hospital halls covered in blood, or local strongmen bullying and scolding them.

when the hospital ran out of oxygen for 80 minutes early in May. Dr. Himthani had treated Covid patients for 14 months before he and his wife were infected.

As the oxygen ran out, Dr. Shiv Charan Lal Gupta, the director of the hospital and a friend of Dr. Himthani for three decades, ran up and down the hallways sending messages to government officials, media outlets and anybody who might help.

In their masks and gowns, the hospital staff gathered with teary eyes and folded arms at the main gate to pay their final respects as Dr. Himthani’s body was wheeled out. Then they went back to work.

44.5 trained health workers per 10,000.

The distribution is unequally concentrated in urban centers. About 40 percent of health care providers work in rural areas, where more than 70 percent of India’s population lives. Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, has only 0.24 beds per 1,000 people, less than one-tenth of the world average.

“When I close my eyes, I feel someone needs my help,” said Lachhami Kumari, a nurse at a government hospital in the Rohtas district of Bihar, one of India’s poorest states. Her 80-bed facility has been overwhelmed by critical Covid patients. “When I manage to fall asleep, I see people all around, begging for help. That has kept me going.”

At another government hospital in Patna, Bihar’s capital city, Dr. Lokesh Tiwari said almost half of the doctors and paramedic staff have lost family members.

on Twitter. “He asked her vitals, thanked me and hung up.”

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Japan’s Yo-Yoing Economy Shrinks Again as Virus Spreads and Vaccinations Lag

Japan’s economy shrank in the first three months of 2021, continuing a swing between growth and contraction as its plodding vaccination campaign threatened to stall its recovery from the pandemic even as other major economies appeared primed for rapid growth.

In the year or so since the coronavirus emerged, Japan’s domestic demand has experienced cycles of shrinkage and expansion, as coronavirus cases have risen and consumers have retreated indoors, and as infections have then dropped and businesses have welcomed customers back.

Currently, Japan is suffering a resurgence in virus cases, with much of the country under a state of emergency and deaths climbing, especially in Osaka. The yo-yoing economic pattern, analysts said, is unlikely to stop until the country has vaccinated a significant portion of its population, an effort that has just begun and seems unlikely to speed up significantly in the coming months.

That dynamic could potentially push the country back into recession — defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction — later this year, as it struggles to check the spread of deadlier and more contagious coronavirus variants.

largest blow to the economy since 1955, when the country first began to use gross domestic product to measure its growth.

Even so, the pandemic’s effects on Japan have been relatively mild compared with the havoc wreaked on the United States and many European countries. Japan has never gone on full lockdown, and total deaths remain under 12,000.

Those factors, combined with — by some standards — the world’s largest stimulus measures, have kept the country’s unemployment rate low and have propped up many small businesses such as restaurants and hotels.

While Japan’s pandemic response has managed to blunt the worst of the economic damage, recovery will continue to be an uphill battle, said Tomohiro Ota, a senior economist at Goldman Sachs in Japan.

Trade has rebounded in recent months as some countries have reopened, but “without a consumption recovery, we cannot go back to the pre-Covid days,” he said.

Progress toward that goal has been a matter of taking two steps forward and one back. Consumption at home has come in waves, cresting and receding as case numbers wax and wane.

Japan’s state of emergency last spring devastated domestic demand as people bunkered down at home. Consumption bounced back briefly over the summer and fall. A second state of emergency, in January, was followed by a similar rebound.

Last month, the authorities moved the country onto an emergency footing for the third time, seeking to check the spread of the coronavirus ahead of the Olympics, which are set to begin in Tokyo at the end of July.

The latest round of restrictions encompasses only parts of the country, but includes its major metropolitan areas, such as Tokyo and Osaka, and is stricter than the one before. Previous iterations focused on shortening the hours of bars and restaurants. But in this version, officials have for the first time requested that department stores cut back on most services and that eateries stop serving alcohol.

The economic impact of the measures will depend on the reaction of a public that has already grown weary of staying home, said Taro Saito, an executive research fellow at the NLI Research Institute in Tokyo.

“We can’t say with certainty that there will be a contraction in the April-to-June period” as a result of the restrictions, he said. But “if the targeted areas expand, that could put downward pressure on growth. The situation is very fluid.”

The stop-and-go pattern looks set to repeat itself for sometime yet, said Izumi Devalier, the chief Japan economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“The domestic economy continues to be whiplashed by developments around the virus,” Ms. Devalier said, adding that vaccinations remained the key to improving domestic demand.

Japan’s vaccine rollout has been among the slowest among major developed nations. The authorities have approved the use of only one vaccine, the shot made by Pfizer and BioNTech, and strict rules requiring that inoculations be carried out by doctors and nurses have slowed distribution. Just over 3 percent of the country has received a first shot, and vaccines are unlikely to be made available to the general population until the end of this summer at the earliest.

“Japan, compared to where other countries stood at this point in their vaccination programs, is way behind,” Ms. Devalier said, adding that the slow progress “simply delays recovery.”

Mr. Kanda, of the Daiwa Institute of Research, said that “if vaccination makes good progress, economic activity can basically restart from the fall of this year.”

But, he added, “if the current slack pace continues, we could see another explosion in infections.”

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A new law in India makes it harder for foreign aid to reach Covid patients, critics say.

India’s devastating Covid-19 surge has galvanized corporations, nonprofit organizations and individuals in the United States to raise millions of dollars and send medical supplies to assist the nation of 1.4 billion.

But a sweeping change to India’s law governing foreign donations is choking off aid just when the country needs it desperately. It is struggling through a second wave of coronavirus that, since beginning in mid-March, has more than doubled the country’s total confirmed infections to over 24 million and raised the known overall death toll to more than 266,000 — numbers that experts say are vast undercounts.

The amendment, abruptly passed by the government in September, limits international charities that donate to local nonprofits. Almost overnight, it gutted a reliable source of funding for tens of thousands of nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, which help provide basic health services in India, picking up the slack in a country where government spending in that area totals just 1.2 percent of gross domestic product.

The amendment also prompted international charities to cut back giving that supported local efforts in fields such as health, education and gender.

Newly formed charities are rushing to find NGOs that can accept their donations without tripping legal wires. And nonprofits are being smothered in red tape: To receive foreign funds, charities must get affidavits and notary stamps and open accounts with the government-owned State Bank of India.

“Everyone was caught off-guard,” said Nishant Pandey, chief executive of the American India Foundation, which has raised $23 million for Covid-19 efforts. On May 5, his group wired $3 million to an Indian affiliate to build 2,500 hospital beds. A week later, Mr. Pandey said, the money still hadn’t cleared.

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Greece, preparing to welcome more foreign visitors, steps up vaccination efforts on islands.

As the vaccination campaign in Greece rapidly expands to reach hundreds of thousands of residents across dozens of islands dotting the Aegean Sea, the country planned to throw open its doors on Friday to more foreign visitors, including those have been vaccinated, have proof of previous infection or can provide a negative coronavirus test result.

With tourism accounting for a fifth of the country’s work force and around 20 percent of gross domestic product, the loosening of restrictions is an economic priority.

The move comes as the country gradually eases domestic restrictions.

Cafes and bars opened last week after a six-month shuttering, and primary and junior high schools reopened this week.

On Friday, residents will no longer have to complete a form or notify the authorities via text message to leave the house for work, shopping, visits to doctors or physical exercise, among other reasons.

warning against travel to Greece, and similar advice is in place in many other countries.

Greece’s vaccination drive has been slow compared with other European Union countries, but it has stepped up in recent weeks.

About 1.3 million people in the nation of 10 million have been fully vaccinated, and 2.6 million have received one of their two shots, according to the authorities.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday heralded a plan to vaccinate the permanent residents of the country’s islands by the end of June.

In a teleconference call with the mayors of several Greek islands, Mr. Mitsotakis called the campaign Operation Blue Freedom — a variation of the name of the national inoculation drive, Operation Freedom.

The residents of 32 small islands have been fully vaccinated, and a drive to inoculate those on another 36 islands with up to 10,000 residents is on course to be complete by the end of May.

The next stage aims to vaccinate more than 700,000 residents of 19 larger islands, including the popular vacation destinations of Corfu, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini and Zakynthos, by the end of June.

That drive is to begin later this month, using the first large delivery of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Mr. Mitsotakis appealed to the mayors to encourage islanders to get the shots as part of broader efforts to build Greece’s first “mass wall of immunity.”

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Europe upgrades its economic outlook as the British economy rebounds.

The economic outlook has brightened considerably across Europe after lockdowns restricted growth at the start of the year. Now, economists foresee the complete recovery by the end of next year from the early effects of the pandemic.

The British economy grew 2.1 percent in March from the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. The reopening of schools was one of the biggest reasons for the larger-than-expected jump in economic growth, as well as a rise in retail spending even though many stores remained closed because of lockdowns.

The statistics agency estimated that gross domestic product fell 1.5 percent in the first quarter, slightly less than economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted, while the country was under lockdown with nonessential stores, restaurants and other services such as hairdressers shut.

Though the British economy is still nearly 9 percent smaller than it was at the end of 2019, before the pandemic, the Bank of England forecasts it to return to that size by the end of this year.

European Commission also upgraded its forecasts for the region on Wednesday. It predicted the European Union economies would grow 4.2 percent this year, up from a forecast of 3.7 percent three months ago. Germany’s economy is forecast to grow 3.4 percent this year and Spain, which suffered Europe’s deepest recession last year, is expected to grow nearly 6 percent.

“The E.U. and euro area economies are expected to rebound strongly as vaccination rates increase and restrictions are eased,” the commission, the executive arm for the European Union, said on Wednesday. The recovery will be driven by household spending, investment and a rising demand for European exports, it said.

Still, despite the optimistic outlook, the commission warned that the risks were “high and will remain so as long as the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic hangs over the economy.”

Even as millions of people were vaccinated, the number of new coronavirus cases globally reached a peak in late April as the pandemic has struck especially hard in India. The uneven distribution of vaccines around the world and the emergence of new variants has the potential to set back the recovery.

The National Institute Of Economic and Social Research in London said on Monday that it did not expect the British economy to return to its prepandemic size until the end of 2022, predicting a slower recovery than the central bank.

Economists at the institute expect lower global growth because of uncertainty about the global vaccine rollout and lingering doubts about the end of the pandemic inducing more people to hold onto their savings, rather than spend it.

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Donations to India Get Blocked by Modi’s Tough New Rules

Bake sales on Instagram. Online fund-raisers involving Hollywood celebrities. Pledges of aid from companies like Mastercard and Google. A middle-of-the-night flight by a FedEx cargo plane transporting thousands of oxygen concentrators and masks.

India’s devastating surge in Covid-19 cases has galvanized corporations, nonprofit organizations and individuals in the United States into raising millions of dollars and sending medical supplies to the nation of 1.4 billion.

But a sweeping change to India’s decades-old law governing foreign donations is choking off foreign aid just when the country needs it desperately. The amendment, passed by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September with little warning, limits international charities that donate to local nonprofits.

The effect is far-reaching. Almost overnight, the amendment gutted a reliable source of funding for tens of thousands of nongovernmental organizations, or N.G.O.s, that were already stretched thin by the pandemic. It prompted international charities to cut back giving that supported local efforts — and supplemented the government’s work — in fields such as health, education and gender.

more than 22 million infections and over 236,000 deaths, but experts say the toll is severely undercounted. Medical oxygen is in short supply. Hospitals are turning away patients. Only a tiny fraction of the population has been vaccinated. Mr. Modi’s government has come under increasing criticism inside and outside the country over its handling of the second wave.

Nongovernmental organizations help provide basic health services in India, picking up the slack in a country where government spending in that area totals 1.2 percent of gross domestic product. The United States spends close to 18 percent on health care. When the pandemic first surged in India, in March 2020, Mr. Modi asked NGOs to help provide supplies and protective gear and to spread the message on social distancing.

At the same time, India’s relationship with NGOs — a catchall term for the roughly three million nonprofits working across the country, including religious, educational and advocacy groups — has occasionally been fraught.

about a quarter of India’s NGO funding — roughly $2.2 billion — came from foreign donors, according to Bain & Co., the consulting firm. The September amendment, which was met with a backlash from India’s vocal community of activists, changed the landscape drastically.

“It came into existence so quickly that there was not the kind of public input or eyes on it that could tell you why it came into existence,” said Ted Hart, the chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation of America, an Alexandria, Va., nonprofit. “It was a shock.”

transport supplies to India free of cost.

The Indian diaspora of about four million people in the United States has swung into action. Some have given money to online platforms such as GiveIndia that route money to Indian nonprofits set up to receive foreign contributions.

It took just a few days for Indiaspora, a nonprofit community of mainly Indian-American donors, to raised around $5 million, including $1.6 million through an online fund-raiser in Hollywood.

“The approach we’ve taken is that the house is burning,” said Indiaspora’s founder, M.R. Rangaswami, a Silicon Valley investor and entrepreneur who lost his sister to Covid-19 in India. But his group is stepping carefully in giving that money away. It decided to stick with a small group of well-established nonprofits to which to direct its funding.

“The way we’re handling our giving is that we’re making sure that the organizations are F.C.R.A. compliant,” Mr. Rangaswami said.

Nicholas Kulish and Karan Deep Singh contributed reporting.

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‘We Cannot Wait Until June’: Greece Bets on Reopening to Tourists

Greece has reopened to many overseas visitors, including from the United States, jumping ahead of most of its European neighbors in restarting tourism,even as the country’s hospitals remain full and more than three-quarters of Greeks are still unvaccinated.

It’s a big bet, but given the importance of tourism to the Greek economy — the sector accounts for one quarter of the country’s work force and more than 20 percent of gross domestic product — the country’s leaders are eager to roll out the welcome mat.

In doing so, Greece has jumped ahead of a other European countries. On Monday, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said it would recommend its member states to allow visitors who have been vaccinated. But it remains up to individual countries to set up their own rules.

“We welcome a common position” on restarting tourism in the European Union, Greece’s tourism minister, Harry Theoharis, said in an interview. “All we’re saying is that this has to be forthcoming now. We cannot wait until June.”

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