Europe calls on better viral plan

Source:AFP Published: 2020/6/10 17:58:40 Last Updated: 2020/6/10 15:58:40

Virus continues march as EU adopts common framework

A man walks past a coronavirus-related mural at the San Miguel Chapultepec neighborhood in Mexico City, Mexico on Tuesday during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: AFP

Europe's most powerful countries urged the European Union to better prepare for the next pandemic after chaotic responses to the coronavirus.

There should be a "common European approach" to challenges like COVID-19 in the future, leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote in a letter and policy paper to the European Union's top official.

Europe has been the hardest-hit continent with nearly 185,000 people killed, and the leaders said a lack of coordination had left nations short of crucial medical equipment when the coronavirus arrived.

Worldwide, novel coronavirus deaths have passed 407,000, with more than 7 million infections. 

The US recorded 819 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing its own grisly toll to more than 111,000 out of 1.9 million cases - leaving it the country hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of both the number of fatalities and the number of cases.

And the crisis continued to escalate in Latin America, which by late Tuesday had almost 1.4 million cases and nearly 70,000 deaths. 

Brazil's health ministry cited figures late Tuesday indicating the death toll had risen by 1,272 to over 38,400 killed by the virus - the third highest toll in the world after the US and Britain.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's government had stopped publishing the total number of virus deaths on Friday, saying that the South American country was adopting new methodology.

However, the government was forced into a U-turn by a Supreme Court ruling on Monday that it must return to the old format, which government critics said is more transparent.

On Tuesday Peru, second only to Brazil as the region's worst-hit country, announced it had passed 200,000 cases of the virus, adding more than 4,000 cases in a single day.

In Nicaragua, at least eight public health doctors were sacked for criticizing the lack of a serious response to the crisis from the government of President Daniel Ortega, an independent medical body said.

Nicaragua has been criticized for an almost complete absence of measures to contain the virus.

Despite Europe's dire record, most countries on the continent continued to exit their punishing lockdowns on Tuesday, with Cyprus welcoming its first tourist flights in almost three months and French officials announcing the Eiffel Tower will reopen on June 25.

Residents of Moscow flocked to parks after officials lifted restrictions in place since March 30, even though 8,595 new cases were registered in Russia on Tuesday and the death toll passed 6,000.

"It's nice out and there are a lot of people on the streets," said marketing manager Olga Ivanova, walking in the Russian capital. 

"It's a beautiful day, in every sense of the word." 



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