International

Virus: Trump wants to take back the initiative, Europe agrees on his revival

(Washington) US President Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time on Tuesday that the United States was suffering a “worrying” increase in contagions in part of the country, a few hours after a historic agreement by Europeans on a joint recovery to avoid a recession due to the COVID pandemic – 18.

Ivan COURONNE, with Thibauld MALTERRE in Paris and AFP offices around the world

France Media Agency

“We implore young Americans to avoid crowded bars and gatherings in crowded confined spaces,” Donald Trump said at the White House, asking Americans to wash their hands, to practice physical distancing and hide.

“It will surely, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better”, he conceded, breaking with the optimism that so far characterized his comments on the health crisis, while the Americans disavow his management of the pandemic, according to multiple surveys.

In Europe, at dawn, after more than four days and as many nights of sometimes tense discussions, the heads of state and government of the 27 countries of the European Union finally agreed on the terms of a plan of 750 billion euros intended to help their economy, based for the first time on a common debt.

“Deal! », Tweeted the President of the European Council Charles Michel at 3 am 31 GMT. For her part, German Chancellor Angela Merkel underlined the “response to the biggest crisis of the EU since its creation”. In the evening, French President Emmanuel Macron hailed a “historic day for Europe”, “the most important moment since the creation of the euro”.

The result of intense negotiations, the final agreement downgrades the share of subsidies in the recovery plan, a gesture in the direction of so-called “frugal” countries (the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, joined by Finland).

The amount of these subsidies was set at 390 billions, against 500 billions initially planned and defended by Berlin and Paris in the name of European solidarity towards countries like Italy and Spain, the hardest hit by the virus.

New example of the devastating effects of the plans to fight the pandemic on the economies, in Spain near 14% of bars, hotels and restaurants – either 31 000 establishments – have already closed permanently, weighed down by the lack of tourists or office workers, the employers' organization representing the sector said on Tuesday.

The epidemic, which according to the latest AFP count at least 604 604 dead and contaminated more than 13 610 80 people in the world, continues to progress.

Florida outbreak

In the United States, more than 60 000 new cases of contamination in the space of 24 hours were recorded for the seventh consecutive day.

As the experts have been repeating for weeks and in particular the now famous American immunologist Anthony Fauci, the situation is particularly worrying in southern states such as California, Florida and Texas. In Florida, on Monday, only 15% of beds available in intensive care units.

Distanced in the polls by Democrat Joe Biden almost 100 days before the presidential election and criticized for his management of the epidemic, Donald Trump seems to want to try to regain the initiative. He resumed his regular press conferences on the health crisis on Tuesday.

The picture is also still gloomy in South America, especially in Brazil, the second most affected country in the world, where the 80 00 dead was crossed on Monday. President Jair Bolsonaro has contracted the virus, as have several members of his government, and is in quarantine.

It is in this country that several large clinical trials are being conducted to verify the effectiveness of vaccines, the most recent being that of the Chinese laboratory Sinovac.

The health authorities in Bolivia report a “very rapid escalation” of the virus, especially in La Paz. In the capital, patients are dying at their homes or at the doors of hospitals which are saturated, according to testimonies published on social networks.

Record in Iran

The health situation in Africa – so far the second least bereaved continent, with more than 14 000 dead – is also a cause for concern.

In the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, the main hospitals are overwhelmed by the influx of patients with COVID – 15. The beds are running out.

At Andohotapenaka Hospital, “we only receive serious cases,” its director, Nasolotsiry Raveloson, told AFP on Tuesday. “There are only four places left” out of a total of 50, he specified. .

For the World Health Organization (WHO), South Africa, which passed the 2020 deaths on Sunday, “risk of to be a forerunner of what will happen in the rest of Africa ”.

In the Middle East, Iran announced on Tuesday that it had recorded 130 deaths linked to the new coronavirus in 24 hours, a record figure since the epidemic began in mid-February in this country, the most affected in the region.

In this context of a resumption of the epidemic or the appearance of new outbreaks, the issue of the vaccine therefore promises to be just as crucial.

By then, several countries are stepping up their sanitary measures, such as Austria, where wearing a mask will be compulsory again on Friday in supermarkets, at bank counters and at the post office.

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