The European Union delayed again on Thursday on its recovery plan when the United States adopted new measures to cope with a historic recession due to the coronavirus.
The pandemic, which has killed 186,000 people since the virus appeared in December in China, will force hundreds of millions of Muslims to live a cloistered Ramadan.
After more than four hours of summit by videoconference, EU leaders asked the European Commission to formulate stimulus proposals from mid-May.
“There is no consensus today” on the solutions to be brought to the most serious economic crisis since 1945, recognized French President Emmanuel Macron. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, however, spoke of an “important step”.
“Too little, too late”
From airlines to the automobile industry via the tourism and wine and spirits sectors, major groups around the world have started to publish the first quarterly figures which augur well for the violence of the shock.
Among the rare big winners: the American online broadcasting platform Netflix, which saw its subscriber numbers jump thanks to the confinement of more than half of humanity.
Continent the most mourning, with more than 115,000 dead, Europe could experience a recession of 7.1% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
At the opening of the meeting, the president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, had warned of the risk “of acting too little, too late”.
But EU leaders remain divided on both the amount and the mode of financing a common recovery plan, which is expected to reach several hundred billion euros.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to contribute more to the European budget, while excluding the pooling of national debts requested by the countries of the South.
In the United States, which with more than 47,000 deaths is the most affected country in the world, the number of unemployed has once again jumped to reach more than 26 million new unemployed in five weeks.
Often masked, the elected representatives of the House of Representatives adopted a new assistance plan for small and medium-sized enterprises and hospitals of 480 billion dollars, after the historic stimulus plan of 2.200 billion approved at the end of March.
If Democrats and Republicans have managed to agree on an economic response, the American states are torn to pieces by deconfinement: some, like Texas or Georgia, have decided to reopen part of the businesses despite fears of a premature restart which could revive the contagion.
According to a study by the American government, the new coronavirus would weaken in a hot and humid atmosphere as well as in the sun’s rays.
“Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that sunlight seems to be killing the virus, both on surfaces and in the air,” said senior Homeland Security official Bill Bryan.
“If the heat is good, if the sunlight is good, I think it’s a very good thing,” said Donald Trump.
Scientists have wondered since its appearance on the possibility that the new coronavirus might weaken with increasing temperatures, that is to say with the arrival of summer in the northern hemisphere.
Resumption of German football?
Several European countries, encouraged by signs of improvement on the health front, have also started to alleviate containment.
The first of the major European countries, the German Football League has indicated that it is ready to resume the championship on May 9, if it receives the green light. In camera.
Vietnam, which officially records zero deaths and less than 300 cases, began to emerge on Thursday from the drastic confinement it had imposed in the first days of February. Certain businesses are authorized to reopen.
And in South Africa, the restrictions will be gradually “eased” from May 1.
But the specter of a second deadly wave looms despite a systematization of “barrier gestures”. Especially since the mystery remains as to the share of the population potentially immune: only 6% of French people will have been infected when deconfinement begins on May 11 in their country, but already more than one New Yorker in five, according to initial studies.
In Prague, hundreds of people lined up for a free test. Like Jaroslava, who came to find out whether his February flu episode “was or was not linked to Covid-19”, the disease caused by this coronavirus.
However, “there is no guarantee that the antibodies will protect from a new infection. For the moment, we can only hope,” said AFido Guido Marinoni, president of the association of doctors in Bergamo, in Lombardy.
It is on a planet largely at a standstill that the Muslim world enters the fasting month of Ramadan on Friday.
Malaria in ambush
“I am distressed that the sacred month arrives in circumstances depriving us of performing prayers (…) in the mosques”, regretted King Salman of Arabia, whose country shelters the first two holy places of the Islam.
Almost all Muslim countries have closed mosques and asked worshipers to pray in their homes, sometimes imposing curfews to prevent the spread of the virus. As in Niger, where riots are feared.
But the side effects of the pandemic are likely to be as devastating, if not more, than the disease itself.
Famine threatens “more than 250 million” people this year, according to the UN.
At the same time, almost 400,000 more people could die from malaria due to problems with the distribution of mosquito nets and medicines, the World Health Organization warned.
burx-fff-jca / leo
04/24/2020 01:51:27 –
Brussels (AFP) –
© 2020 AFP