German Chancellor Angela Merkel while addressing the parliament on April 23 ahead of an EU video summit on the coronavirus crisis, warned that it is just the beginning and will go for a long time. Merkel, who has been widely praised for her handling of the pandemic, stressed a much greater unity for European Union to fight the virus. Merkel also said that Germany, which is already the largest contributor in the bloc, will increase its funding to the European Union's budget for a limited time keeping in mind the deadly disease outbreak.
According to reports, European Union countries on April 23 are expected to sign off on a new $575 billion emergency fund to protect workers, businesses, and countries worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak across the region. Italy has reportedly urged EU partners to jointly guarantee debt, as part of the rescue package, to which Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands have expressed opposition. According to EU laws, countries cannot be made liable for each other's debt.
Countries like Italy, Spain, and France have said that the emergency fund should go as high as €1.5 trillion, with some suggestions to increase the EU's budget so it can provide much bigger loan guarantees. Europe is the worst affected region in the world with major countries like Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom reporting deaths as high as 25,000. Germany has handled the virus outbreak much effectively compared to his friends in the region, as it has recorded just over 5,000 deaths so far, while infected patients tally stands at 1,50,729, which is the fifth-highest in the world.
The coronavirus outbreak has infected over 2.65 million people globally and has killed nearly 1,85,000 patients since it first broke out in December 2019. The virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the initial epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally.
(Image Credit: AP)