PARIS | The european Union meets Friday to begin discussions around a recovery plan post-coronavirus history, while the outbreak of coronavirus, which has passed the milestone of 450 000 dead, is continuing its world tour.
“This is one of the most important joint projects for decades,” said one eu diplomat. “We can talk about something historic”.
Main topic on the menu of discussions, expected to last until the end of July, a recovery plan of € 750 billion (1140 billion $), of which 500 billion will be redistributed in the form of grants to the countries most affected by the coronavirus, such as Spain and Italy.
If no agreement is expected during this virtual summit, scheduled for 9 a.m. local, it should help take the temperature, and, in particular, that of the four so-called “frugal” or “stingy”). In effect, the netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark do not want to hear about grants, advocating for reimbursable loans.
“Never before has the cohesion and solidarity have been as important as today,” insisted Thursday the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
A virus european?
While the pandemic has passed the milestone of 450 000 deaths in the world, a balance sheet that has doubled in a month and a half, 25 new cases were reported Friday in Beijing, bringing to 183 the number of new patients since the last week in the chinese capital’s 21 million inhabitants.
But the United States have questioned the “credibility” of these figures, calling for the sending of “neutral” observers.
“I’d like to believe that their numbers” are “much closer to reality than what we found in Wuhan and in other areas of China, but it remains to be seen”, said to journalists the secretary of State american deputy for East Asia, David Stilwell.
The chinese authorities have published scientific data suggesting that the virus responsible for the rebound of the epidemic in Beijing would be a version that have circulated on the european continent there are several weeks or months.
“It is possible that the virus that causes today an epidemic in Beijing, has traveled from Wuhan to Europe and is now back in China,” says Ben Cowling, a professor at the School of public health, the University of Hong Kong.
Borders still closed
In the United States, where a rebound from the sars coronavirus has been observed in a score of States, especially in the south and west of the country, the infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci stated in an interview with AFP, that new containment measures will not be necessary.
According to him, priority must be given to a very local and flexible approach to the epidemic, in particular on the issue of the reopening of schools.
The United States, where nearly 120,000 deaths have been beset, are by far the most affected country in the world by the pandemic.
In this context, the reopening of the borders is not on the agenda, either with Europe or with Mexico and Canada. The closure with the north american neighbors has, for example, be extended by one month, until the 21 of July.
“Cut the bridges”
On the diplomatic front, the pandemic continues to strain the relations. President Donald Trump, who imputes to China, the uncontrolled expansion of the epidemic, a threat to “cut all bridges” with Beijing.
In the running for a second term, the us president relied on the strong economic growth and good employment for his re-election. Las, nearly 46 million people were unemployed since mid-march while the unemployment rate was at its lowest level in 50 years in February.
To have called for an independent international investigation on the origins of the pandemic, and denounced a chinese diplomatic and aggressive and dishonest, Australia had been the subject of trade retaliation on the part of China.
On Friday, the prime minister of australia Scott Morrison has revealed that his country is the target of a cyber attack of great magnitude, from a “state actor” and is aimed at government systems, government and corporate.
Citing “sources placed high,” the ABC television said that China would be behind these attacks.
The WHO’s “very optimistic”
Strongly a vaccine: the world Health Organization said it was “very optimistic” about the provision of hundreds of millions of doses at the end of the year. But the vaccine, of which over 200 are in the study through the world, is yet to be developed.
Time is of the essence: in Mexico, the second country in Latin America most affected by the COVID-19, the number of poor increased by 10 million people since the beginning of the epidemic.
In march, the workshop where Alejandro Fernández was working as a radio technician has closed. “Never in my life have I asked for food. But there, the situation is terrible, and this assistance is providential”, he explains during a soup kitchen organized by the catholic organization Sant’egidio.