– Hungary vetoed the European Union’s post-coronavirus recovery fund because he “Tries to blackmail the countries which oppose migration”, says Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
– The total number of cases in France now exceeds 2 million but according to its senior health official, the lockdown measures are starting to “bear fruit”.
– State auditors criticized the British government for a lack of transparency on the distribution of 24 billion dollars of contracts against the coronaviruses as the ministers refute the claims, they run a “chumocracy”.
– Ukraine’s death toll from coronavirus topped 10,000 after the health ministry on Wednesday recorded a record 256 new deaths in 24 hours.
– Pharmacist Pfizer said he “did not conspire with anyone” to delay the publication of the results of effectiveness of its much vaunted vaccine until after the American presidential election.
– A third health chief in Italy’s southern region of Calabria resigned in barely a week, leaving the coronavirus ‘red zone’ with no one to lead its coronavirus emergency plan.
– Danish government finally won Parliament’s support to legalize its slaughter of all farmed mink to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
– British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested negative for COVID-19, but will continue to self-isolate according to government guidelines.
– There is no significant evidence of the spread of the coronavirus through the food trade, according to the chief economist of the United Nations food and agriculture agency, who said such reports “must be minimized”.
– British Airways and American Airlines set to launch virus test this month in the hope of convince the US and UK governments to introduce tests so that transatlantic travel can restart.
The total number of cases in France now exceeds 2 million. / Jeff Pachoud / AFP
Ross Cullen in Paris
France has crossed the 2 million case mark, just three weeks after becoming the second European country to cross the one million threshold.
However, the director of public health said the R rate, the reproduction rate of the number of people infected with COVID-19, is less than one. There have also been seven consecutive days of declining transmission rates.
President Emmanuel Macron will speak next week on how and when France emerges from the lockdown. He is likely to herald a gradual easing of measures rather than a full-scale lifting of the lockdown.
In other news, the government’s anti-fraud watchdog has warned that 13% of antiseptic hand gels sold in France are ineffective.
CLICK ON: THE FUTURE OF A FRENCH CITY IS IN BALANCE AS EU / UK TRADE ROUND
Lucy Hough in Brussels
Belgian bars and restaurants are unlikely to reopen this year, according to biostatistician Neil Hens, amid discussions on ending the new lockdown.
With pubs and restaurants known to be a “high-risk environment,” Hens said they would likely remain closed until spring 2021.
It comes as the number of coronavirus infections in Belgium continues to decline, with an average of 4,804.9 new people testing positive for the virus last week. This marks a decrease of 39% from the previous week.
There was an average of 478 daily hospitalizations, a decrease of 22%. The death toll has also started to decline, to 184 per day.
Linda Kennedy in Budapest
Hungarian police have taken action against 358 people in the past 24 hours for violating the curfew imposed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, samples of the Russian Sputnik vaccine are expected to arrive in Hungary soon.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who rarely gives interviews but speaks on public radio every Friday, was asked whether the Russian vaccine would be viewed by the Hungarian population as safe to take.
He insisted that vaccinations would not be mandatory and that individuals could choose from various vaccines, from the United States, Russia and China. “People will decide. Everyone will decide which one they trust, ”he said.
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Source (s): Reuters, AFP