The European Union leaders meet in Brussels on Friday to discuss an economic recovery plan for the old continent severely affected by the Covid-19 epidemic as the virus continues to spread around the world, especially in the United States, which has set a new record number of infections, and in India where it has passed one million case in Brazil with two million.
There is no consensus on the recovery and negotiation plan among the 27 leaders that will be long and difficult.
Therefore, this extraordinary two- or three-day summit may not be their last meeting.
The Coronavirus has had a severe impact on the global economy, and the economy has not been spared in the European Union, where tens of thousands of jobs are threatened.
The European summit talks will address a 750-billion-euro recovery plan consisting of 250 billion loans and 500 billion grants from which the beneficiaries will not have to pay.
This is the first time that the 27 heads of state and government of the European Union have met in Brussels since the emergence of the emerging Coronavirus in Europe, and the imperative of stone measures and the divergence that compelled them to communicate via video.
The Covid-19 epidemic continues to spread, and on Thursday evening, the United States recorded more than 68,000 new cases of the virus within 24 hours, in a record daily toll in that country, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University.
On Thursday, Florida, which was one of the first US states to remove isolation, recorded a record daily death toll from the Coronavirus, amounting to 156 deaths.
Since the end of June, the world’s most powerful country has faced a rapid increase in the number of people living with Covid-19, especially in the states in the west and south of the country.
Major American cities decided to return lessons at the beginning of the school year largely over the Internet, but in some states, as is the case in Florida, the debate turns into a political confrontation.
More than 13,660,780 new cases of Coronavirus were recorded in 196 countries and regions, while the epidemic has killed at least 585,750 people since it appeared in China in December, according to a census prepared by AFP on Thursday 19:00 GMT, according to official sources.
The epidemic continues to advance in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially in Brazil, where 76,668 deaths were recorded, and the number of people infected with the virus on Thursday crossed the two million mark, after the largest country in Latin America recorded 45,403 infections during the last 24 hours.
Brazil is the country most affected by the virus after the United States.
“Two million is a symbolic number because we do not have group tests,” Jean-Gorchenstein, an infectious disease specialist from Emilio Ribas Institute and Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, told AFP.
“But the actual number may be four or five times higher”.
Colombia exceeded the threshold of six thousand deaths Thursday and recorded a daily record of 8037 new cases.
In Asia, a regional official in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations sounded the alarm, saying that “Covid-19 is spreading at an alarming rate in South Asia, home to a quarter of humanity”.
The death toll from confirmed cases of the new Coronavirus in India exceeded 1 million on Friday, while local authorities doubled health restrictions and quarantine measures to try to contain the epidemic.
On Friday, India recorded 1,003,832 confirmed infections, the third highest in the world after the United States and Brazil, and 25,602 deaths since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, according to official figures announced by the Ministry of Health before noon.
The United Kingdom, the United States and Canada Thursday accused Russian intelligence services of being behind attacks by electronic pirates to seize research into a vaccine against the emerging Coronavirus, and the Kremlin has vehemently denied the charge.
The accusation comes at a time when relations between London and Moscow are strained against possible Russian interference in last December’s British legislative election campaigns that the Conservatives won, and in the 2016 referendum that led to Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit).
According to the British government agency charged with cyber security, a Russian hacker group attacked British, Canadian and American organizations to steal research related to the development of a vaccine against SARS-Cov-2.
In the face of the re-spread of the virus, many European countries continue to tighten health measures.
In Germany, the government and states agreed to adopt a “exit ban” in geographical areas where the home quarantine would be re-imposed if a focus of Covid-19 appears, according to the government.
Thursday also strengthened its preparations to combat the Covid-19 outbreak, in light of the dangers of a second wave that holidaymakers may return from their holidays, after it was one of the most successful European countries to avoid the crisis.
Anxiety escalated when video footage of German tourists in Majorca received no masks and did not adhere to the social distance of 1.5 meters.
The local authorities of that favorite Spanish island of German tourists, along with the Greek Crete and Rhodes, rushed the procedures and approved the closure of a chain of bars on a popular boulevard of the Germans.
And in France, where active hotspots have reappeared in recent days, French Prime Minister Jean Castles announced Thursday that France will impose the muzzle position “from next week” in all closed places that receive an audience “especially the shops”.
On Thursday, the European Union removed Montenegro and Serbia from the list of countries whose residents are permitted to enter its territories and which is updated every two weeks.
In Spain, the authorities monitor more than 120 active hotspots, especially in Catalonia, in the vicinity of the city of Lerida, where about 160,000 people have been living since Wednesday to combat the epidemic.