EU set to reach coronavirus recovery plan deal
EU leaders shifted their positions on Monday evening towards reaching a historic agreement on the bloc’s long-term spending plans and a €750bn pandemic recovery fund following days of acrimonious debate at the longest leaders’ summit in two decades, write the Guardian’s Daniel Boffey and Jennifer Rankin.
A new “spirit of compromise” had been found, Emmanuel Macron said, despite the French president thumping the negotiating table at the Brussels event in frustration the previous evening and likening those thwarting his spending plans to the ill-fated British in previous budget negotiations.
Shortly after 1am local time the commission president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that it was “time to move”, in a sign that agreement was imminent.
As Macron had arrived ahead of a fourth evening of negotiations with his fellow leaders on Monday he spoke of cautious optimism. Within hours senior EU diplomats spoke of an impending breakthrough.
The renewed confidence followed a new proposal from the European council president, Charles Michel, for the EU to pay out €390bn in non-repayable grants for the worst-hit countries and €360bn in loans. The money would be raised through jointly issued debt.
The “frugal” states of the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Austria have been pushing for the original proposal by the European commission for €500bn in grants for stricken countries to be reduced to €350bn, to the evident frustration of Macron and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, had warned his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte, who has led the way on reducing the level of grants, that he faced being blamed for a lack of EU response to the deep economic recession facing the continent.
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Trump backs face masks where social distancing is not possible
Donald Trump’s tweet about it being “patriotic” to wear face masks, comes the week after he appointed a new head to his election campaign team.
The president has been well-known for not wearing face mask. He wore one for the first time in front of TV cameras when he visited the Walter Reed military hospital outside Washington about 10 days ago.
His tweet came more than three months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first urged Americans to wear face coverings to help limit their risk of contracting the virus.
Another change out of Washington is that the president’s daily coronavirus briefings look set to resume. They are expected to start on Tuesday. The president abruptly stopped the briefings after he was widely ridiculed for suggesting injecting bleach may be an option to treat the virus.
“Well, we had very successful briefings,” Trump told reporters at the Oval office on Monday.
“I was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching in the history of cable television – television, there’s never been anything like it. And we were doing very well, and I thought it would be sort of, automatic and a lot of positive things were happening and frankly, a lot of the country is doing well,” he said.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Alison Rourke.
Donald Trump has said he will resume his daily coronavirus briefings which stopped abruptly after the president (wrongly) suggested injecting disinfectant may be a way of treating Covid-19. The announcement comes as the president’s approval and polling numbers continue to decline.
- President Trump also tweeted a photo of himself wearing a face mask. “Many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask,” he tweeted. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention first first urged Americans to wear face coverings in April, but Trump was only seen publicly wearing a mask for the first time earlier this month.
- EU set to agree on €750bn Covid-19 recovery plans. Leaders shifted their positions on Monday evening towards reaching a historic agreement on the bloc’s long-term spending plans and a €750bn pandemic recovery fund following days of acrimonious debate at the longest leaders’ summit in two decades.
- Brazil death toll passes 80,000. Health ministry figures showed cases in the country had grown to more than 2.1m, with deaths now standing at 80,120. Two more Brazilian ministers also tested positive for Covid-19, with one, the citizenship minister, Onyx Lorenzoni, who is a close ally of President Bolsonaro crediting relatively mild symptoms to an anti-malarial drug touted.
- The World Health Organziation voiced alarm Monday at the spread in Africa. It warned that South Africa’s surging numbers could be a “precursor” for outbreaks across the continent.
- The hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia will begin on 29 July. The drastically scaled back event will include only around 1,000 Muslim pilgrims due to the pandemic.
- A coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University appears to be safe and prompts an immune response, raising hopes about the distribution of a vaccine in the coming months. The Oxford team published the results of its vaccine trials in the medical journal the Lancet today.
- France reports up to 500 virus clusters. Despite the clusters, authorities say there are no signs of an imminent “second wave”, according to the health minister Olivier Veran. Many of the clusters involve abattoirs or other contained professional settings such as old age homes, he said. Nationwide the R number indicating the viral transmission rate is 1.2.