European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has called for “limited” precautionary measures against the deadly coronavirus outbreak as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was granted the right to rule by decree for an indefinite period of time. Meanwhile, just days ago the European Union adopted certain measures to stem the drastic spread of COVID-19 which included votes by the member nations through e-mails. The European Parliament has agreed to momentarily ease the union’s rules on airport slots, and are allowing air carriers to stop the operation of empty flights during the pandemic.
While the EU has adopted the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative and is channelling at least $40 billion to EU citizens, the bill allowing indefinite power to Hungarian leader was approved in the parliament on March 30. This implies that Orban is not required to consult other leaders before taking a decision for the country while the world combats the coronavirus outbreak which has already killed over 39,000 people globally. This bill has, therefore, sparked criticism across Europe.
According to reports, the German minister for the EU has said that the response to the pandemic must not result in endangering of the law. Michael Roth further added that the precautionary measures should not “ disempower democratic institutions or put fundamental rights at risk”. As of March 31, all European Union countries have reportedly confirmed at least, 7,77,798 cases of COVID-19 with 37,272 fatalities.
The coronavirus, which originated in China in December 2019, has now claimed over 39,074 lives worldwide as of March 31. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 200 countries and has infected at least 804,073 people. Out of the total infections, 172,435 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries including Spain, and the economy is struggling.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared the coronavirus as a global pandemic on March 11 while the virus has now spread to all continents except Antarctica, resulting in the thousands of deaths worldwide. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom further even urged all nations to get very serious over the issue and take all necessary measures to contain the virus from spreading at this rate. Tedros said, that the word 'Pandemic' cannot be used lightly or carelessly due to its strong connotation.
Image source: AP